Council on Foundations 2016 Annual Conference



The Council on Foundations 2016 Annual Conference (The Future of Community) was held in Washington DC on April 8-12. The Conference website identifies contemporary boundaries that make up community (identity, purpose, and place) and three focus areas that have a direct impact on the health and well-being of our global communities:


In today’s workforce, the ideal employee must constantly adapt to new bodies of knowledge. To date, our current education system has not prepared our youth for this future and existing certificates degrees, and other traditional markers of expertise no longer guarantee successful careers. Foundations are looking critically at investments that support essential skill acquisition as well as improve existing educational institutions. To cultivate talent and adaptive skills that can keep workers at pace with a shifting global economy, grantmakers have also begun investing in new strategies for lifelong learning and skill development. These conference sessions will examine thes e pilot efforts that grantmakers have crafted to prepare a modern workforce.



With its ability to catalyze innovation, the philanthropic sector is looking at private/ public partnerships, civic engagement, building tighter ties to myriad efforts, as well as learning from grantmaking to date to combat the challenges of climate change. Conference sessions will focus on how grantmakers are looking to both global and local efforts to address climate change and its impact.



The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and many are routinely denied access to the civil legal processes that might help them overcome the pressing problems of everyday life, like home foreclosures, landlord disputes, custody cases, and unfair employment. Although a divisive topic in the past, today leaders of both parties have forged consensus around the need for bold action to fix this broken system. By examining large aspects of the justice system, including law enforcement, civil legal processes, and incarceration, this conference programming will look at the best ways that grantmakers can invest in meaningful reforms.

The Veterans Philanthropy Exchange 2016 National Annual Convening immediately followed the COF Annual Meeting and was kicked off with an announcement of $7 million in new commitments to the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge, a three year $285 million philanthropic effort to address a range of issues facing veterans.


Here are some my favorites resources coming out of, or relating to topics covered by, the Conference:

A Common Vision for Improving the Future of Community, CEO Vikki Sprull’s opening remarks (YouTube)

2016 Annual Conference – Day 1 Recap (YouTube)

2016 Annual Conference – Day 2 Recap (YouTube)


Council on Foundations President Focuses on the Future of Community (RE: Philanthropy Blog)

Research Reinforces Importance of Community, Upbringing for Revered Historian McCullough (RE: Philanthropy Blog)

HUD Deputy Secretary Shares Department’s Efforts in Building Communities (RE: Philanthropy Blog)


Philanthropy and Inclusivity: A Longstanding Problem That Must Be Treated as Urgent (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Philanthropy and Equity: Pushing from the Inside Is Slow Going (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Final State of the Work (D5’s annual report on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy)

The California Endowment Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report Card [See 15 Diversity Plan Goals]


2016 US Council on Foundations: American philanthropy prepares for climate change in Congress (Alliance Magazine)

2016 US Council on Foundations: De-polarizing climate change (Alliance Magazine)

2016 US Council on Foundations: How US funders can lead the SDGs at home (Alliance Magazine)


4 Takeaways from Council on Foundations 2016 Annual Conference (JD Supra)

1. When you want to fill a room to capacity, talk about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
2. MRIs and PRIs finally have some momentum.
3. Good governance remains a top priority for the sector.
4. We may be witnessing the next great generation.

Popular Tweets

MacArthur Foundation: “Philanthropy has the freedom to experiment and ask questions for which there are not answers.”—MacArthur Pres. Julia Stasch

Kresge Education: Philanthropy should be leading a national conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion- not trailing it.

Council on Foundations: “Unless governments put climate change into law, we’ll never get there.” @richardbranson

Packard Foundation: #Philanthropy at its best is a magical combination of passion, patience, persistence, and true partnership. Carol Larson