This post is authored by Paul Bachleitner, the Joint Affinity Group Project Director, as a part of the EPIP-JAG blogging partnership “Wit and Wisdom.”
It’s dreadfully easy to get lost beneath the big tent of the Council’s annual conference. This is one reason why the JAG partners and other affinity groups like EPIP hold their conferences before, during, and afterwards. We help you recharge your racial and social justice mojo.
But if you don’t have a stout boat to navigate the flood of activities, they can soak you like a philanthropalooza tsunami. How do you ride the wave?
It’s exciting to be sure. But staying on top of the constant stream of activities and multiple locations can be challenging.
Our ride began on an early-morning flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, April 3, the day Native Americans in Philanthropy kicked off its conference at the Tulsa Hard Rock Café. NAP honored JAG with an award for partner of the year and would later showcase its brand-spanking-new website and its new report Native Voices Rising, a research and re-granting project that focuses on the need for deeper, sustained funding for Indian country.
A quick Friday evening flight to Chicago brought us to the Palmer House Hilton, ground zero for philanthropalooza activities. The Association of Black Foundation Executives’ annual conference had been underway since Thursday with deep dives into topics ranging from Black men and boys issues to strengthening Black trustees. The distinguished James A. Joseph Lecture was delivered by Dr. Robert Ross, the executive director of The California Endowment.
An early wakeup call Sunday morning rewarded us with a savory dim sum buffet at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ annual breakfast meeting, where bright-eyed and bushy tailed we gave a standing ovation for AAPIP’s Banyan Tree honorees for democratic philanthropy, Thomas C. Layton, President, and Stacie Ma’a, Vice President, of The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.
Afterwards, we ran down Michigan Avenue to make it to the opening round of the Council’s annual conference—and then sprinted back again later that evening for Hispanics in Philanthropy’s annual members reception, where Board Chair Luz Vega-Marquise and Executive Director Diana Campoamor spoke to rousing applause about HIP’s new push to build more funds for Latino communities to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary this year.
Once Council activities ended on Monday, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy hosted its 2013 Impact Awards followed by an intimate cocktail reception hosted by Funders for LGBTQ Issues to honor its new president, Ben Maulbeck. Even later that night, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy threw its Philanthropy Without Borders party at Buddy Guy’s.
Hours after the Council concluded its conference the next day, the D5 Coalition launched a leadership team retreat to gauge the impact of its work to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy. The retreat spanned Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, which overlapped with the Women’s Funding Network’s conference in Detroit.
Just writing about all of this is breathless. What if we decided to link philanthropalooza activities into one big summit?
JAG is considering the idea for 2014. There could be joint plenary and breakout sessions, on- and off-site activities, speakers, receptions. You name it. You wouldn’t have as much trouble reaching activities and could participate in so many more. If we do it, we want it to have outsized impact and reach far outside the box. An un-conference.
- What should it include or not include?
- Would you want come?
- Would you volunteer?
Post a comment or e-mail me with your thoughts.
Wit and Wisdom is a blogging collaboration between EPIP and JAG. Featuring a monthly entry from individuals within our networks, it highlights thought leadership about philanthropy, racial/social equity, and multigenerational change. Its lightening-hot interviews, essays, and case studies aim to provoke insightful discussion. We hope you will engage!