The conference started with inspiration as Dr. Robert Franklin, President of Morehouse College, encouraged us to support “the creative and redemptive maladjustment of a transformed minority.” He challenged philanthropy to do something large and noble: support the next generation of ‘transformed nonconformists.’
What I appreciated most is that he provided concrete examples instead of the usual platitudes. I thought he artfully illustrated specific ways generative philanthropy could produce a generation of ethical leaders by supporting affordable education, global opportunity, morality, racial reconciliation, healthy relationships, religious pluralism and being green. Drawing upon the history of this city, Franklin reminded us that a few transformed nonconformists can turn the world right-side up.
A standing ovation greeted him as he challenged us with the quote, “the world at this point is equally balanced between good and evil – your next action will tip the scales.”
Key questions/thoughts from Franklin in seven opportunity areas:
–Address issues of persistence: how can we allow hundreds to drop out because of a few thousand dollars?
–Global opportunities: 9/11 should have been enough to globalize our studies, but it has not.
–Morality: we can teach what is good but must incentivize what is worthy.
–Racial reconciliation: we should seize the opportunity to re-energize the race conversation in America. What is the policy and action agenda that should follow this conversation?
–Healthy relationship: build healthy communication and peaceful conflict resolution within an intimate relationship
–Religious pluralism: how can we have healthy development of religious pluralism?
–Being green: follow the Great Law of the Iroquois nation: in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our actions on the next seven generations.