With historic government and private sector budget cuts and extraordinary natural disasters worldwide, there is increasing demand for support from vulnerable communities and families.
These issues will be front and center at the Council on Foundations 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference January 23-25 in New York City. Hundreds of foundation CEOs, trustees, and leaders—along with innovators in the field— will gather for a three-day marathon of information and idea sharing designed to strengthen family foundations’ contributions to providing support and innovation
in trying times.
Called Bridges, the three-day meeting is connecting generations of leaders, offering new models of doing business, and highlighting innovative partnerships that are enriching people’s lives.
A powerful set of speakers and presenters includes Katie Couric of “CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes,” Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor and correspondent, and Tim Shriver, board chair and CEO of Special Olympics.
Attendees will also have an opportunity to spend time with Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org; Donna Karan, founder of the Urban Zen Foundation, and
Geoffrey Canada; president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, foundation
executives, and more.
The conference’s off-site, hands-on volunteer opportunities and learning
experiences will provide attendees a firsthand look at the power of community,
corporate, and philanthropic partnerships. For example, attendees can volunteer
at a mobile soup kitchen that delivers lifesaving meals, witness the magic of
Brooklyn Academy of Music, learn from the profound successes of the Harlem
Children’s Zone, talk with Rachel Robinson, founder of the Jackie Robinson
Foundation, and much more.
This year’s family conference will take full advantage of social networking tools to
spread the word about family philanthropy far beyond the conference walls. Be
sure to follow the action right here on the Council’s RE: Philanthropy blog, where our impressive team of bloggers will provide on-the-ground perspective. We’ll also be tracking the proceedings on Twitter (www.twitter.com/COF_ and hashtag #2011FAM) and Facebook (www.cof.org/facebook). We also encourage you to
share your perspective or questions. We’ll be working to incorporate what we see online into the proceedings.
In many ways, there has never been a more exciting and challenging time for
philanthropy. This is particularly true for family foundations—unique, deeply
committed organizations that comprise nearly half of all private foundations in the
The more than 38,000 family foundations in America collectively donated
more than $21 billion in 2008—contributing more than half of all philanthropic
contributions over the last few years. Efforts like the Giving Pledge are redefining
our potential impact and opening the door to a new, younger generation of
There’s nothing quite like a family foundation. And there will be nothing quite like the 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference.