Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ford, Kellogg & San Francisco Foundation Leaders Headline Intergenerational Discussions at Council Conference

It was a breath of fresh air. Amongst the vast sea of classroom set-up conference rooms, stuffy panels of Baby Boomer talking heads, and heavily abbreviated Q&A sessions, here was a room of emerging leaders seated in a circle, talking informally -- with plenty of time for real questions and conversation. And the speakers listened first, and offered no written speeches or canned opening comments.

Susan Berresford, President of the Ford Foundation; Sterling Spiern, President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Sandra Hernandez, MD, President of the San Francisco Foundation, and Barbara Eirenreich, the esteemed author and journalist. These four leaders met with emerging philanthropy leaders for inter-generational dialogue at a series of "Emerging Leaders Salons," a new feature that premiered at the Council on Foundations 2007 Annual Conference in Seattle this April.

Conceptualized by Conference Chair Ralph Smith (Annie E. Casey Foundation), the Salons were co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations (COF) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). These intimate sessions created new unique and valuable networking and inter-generational learning spaces for next generation foundation leaders.

Discussion topics included foundations and race in America; moving agendas through foundations; engaging young professionals in foundations and grantmaking; building meaningful and effective careers in philanthropy; staying grounded while sitting at the top of funding institutions; and striking the balance between work and life.

Speakers were selected from the Conference's confirmed speakers by polling leaders of EPIP to learn with whom they would most like to talk.

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