November 18, 2015

Our Cross-Country Conference Round-Up

Our staff is regularly out and about. We go to lots of events, participate on panels and workshops, and frequently meet with people from as many different sectors as we can. It’s part of our organizational culture, which emphasizes both knowledge sharing and what we call ‘civic reach.’ This month, staff members attended so many conferences, (including President and CEO Paul Vandeventer, who  reports this month on his meeting in Heidelberg, Germany) we thought we’d offer this brief round-up:

Policy Link held its biggest conference yet here in Los Angeles, with 3,000 in attendance, including Community Partners program director Judy Harper and director of programs Sheri Dunn Berry. One take-away from the gathering: all public investment must be guided with an equity lens. Both thought it important that the arts were featured front-and-center amid various discussions about equity, including a performance by a young poet from Say Word, one of Community Partners’ fiscally sponsored projects. (Click here to read more.)

At Independent Sector in Miami, program director Lupe Solorio was on hand for the release of the new IS ‘Threads’ report, and for discussions on coming trends in the nonprofit sector, including challenges for measuring impact; the need for collaboration; and building the capacity of nonprofit staff.

At the CalNonprofits’ Policy Conference in Oakland, attended by executive vice president Linda Fowells, economic and political forecasts were on the agenda, in addition to trends in philanthropy. The economy is seen as improving, but very slowly, bringing further improvements in unemployment rates, financial returns and modest economic growth. Linda also attended Southern California Grantmakers’ annual conference in Los Angeles. She was struck by a presentation by consultant Arnold Chandler, who offered some striking and compelling data about why we should be paying attention to boys and men of color as a strategy for the health of our broader civic community. According to his report, fathers’ education and incarceration are more likely to negatively impact their sons (than their daughters).

In attendance at the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors annual meeting to discuss and learn about all things fiscal sponsorship were Sheri Dunn Berry, Mamie Funahashi, Community Partners CFO and director of communications Lauren Kay. Sheri and Mamie took part in the steering committee meeting, Sheri presented at four break-out sessions, and Lauren joined peers in discussion about the challenges to both defining and communicating about fiscal sponsorship as a smart alternative to nonprofit incorporation.

Finally, program assistant Fiorella Coaguila joined Community Partners board member Andrea Capachietti for the World Affairs Council’s 2015 conference in San Francisco. One of her biggest take-aways: “I was impressed by the number of people that attended the conference who weren’t involved in these (nonprofits/NGO’s) but felt that it was their responsibility to be informed about global issues…I left the conference with a sense of optimism about the future.”

photo credit: Mingle at FITC, Dan Zen, CC by 2.0

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