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Foundation executives play a crucial role in leading institutional efforts to advance diversity, equity, and social justice through grantmaking, internal practices, and public advocacy. CEOs working to advance diversity and justice also face unique challenges, ranging from managing risk-averse boards and living donors to shifting institutional cultures that are often resistant to change. This special track of sessions is designed exclusively for foundation CEOs seeking to develop advanced tools and strategies for the challenging long-term work of integrating the values of diversity and social justice in all aspects of their institutions. 

The CEO Track will be interactive and provide an opportunity for executives to learn from the challenges, experiences, and experiments of their peers. These sessions are only open to CEOs, presidents, or executive directors of grantmaking institutions.


Managing Internal & External Resistance To Advancing Intersectional Racial Equity and Justice
Wednesday, November 20, 9:45 AM-11:15 AM

This opening session of the CEO track will identify some key points of internal and external resistance that foundation CEOs must manage from the inception and throughout the process of advancing racial and social justice grantmaking focus. From trustees, donors, staff, long-standing grantees or broader community, we will explore effective ways different leaders have tackled and overcome expected and unexpected, overt or more implicit obstacles along the path. Discussion leaders will range from local to national foundations, private, public, with very different institutional starting points and history with racial justice approaches. 


CEO’s will leave this session with shared strategies to build momentum, embed racial equity and explore alignment of racial justice internally and externally.

Facilitators: Lori Villarosa, Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity and Cynthia Nimmo, Women's Funding Network 


Discussion Leaders: Don Chen, Surdna Foundation, Teresa Younger, Ms Foundation, Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation, James Head, East Bay Community Foundation

Covering & Authenticity: Fostering Organizational Cultures Where Everyone Can Bring Their Full Selves To Work
Wednesday, November 20, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM

Kenji Yoshino’s book Covering suggests that nearly all people feel pressure to cover aspects of their identity in the workplace. Too often people of color are encouraged to conform to white cultural norms; parents feel pressure to downplay parental obligations; LGBTQ people often feel they have to hide same-sex relationships or conform their gender expression; and people of faith may downplay religious practices ranging from fasting to prayer.

Following a brief presentation on covering, three CEOs will share their own experiences of both challenges and potential strategies for fostering a workplace where all staff are able to bring their full selves to work. 

CEO’s will take a deep dive into how your leadership impacts organizational culture. 

Facilitators: Patricia Eng, Asian Americans Pacific Islander in Philanthropy & Ben Francisco Maulbeck, Funders for LGBTQ Issues


Discussion Leaders: Daniel Lee, Levi-Strauss Foundation; Nicky McIntyre, Foundation for a Just Society; Ryan Easterly, WITH Foundation

How Diverse Leaders Survive, Thrive, and Be Accountable While Advancing Social Justice
Wednesday, November 20, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Recent years have brought us more foundation presidents from diverse racial, ethnic and LGBTQ communities than we have ever had in the field  of philanthropy. But with that increase in privileged positions, but beyond their boards, are there ways these leaders seek to be accountable to the communities they reflect and allies? Are they held to different standards - and by whom? And is this also true for White CEOs who seek to be visible leaders on racial and social justice?   This session will begin with dialogue among a racially and gender-diverse set of CEOs to explore these questions, then allow space for deeper peer exploration of how to build a culture of accountability at the top. 

CEOs will leave this session with insights and suggested practices for stepping into courageous leadership and how to ask for and give support to your colleagues and challenge one another.  

Facilitators: Ana Marie  Argilagos, Hispanics in Philanthropy & Susan Taylor-Batten, ABFE, A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities

Discussion Leaders: Bob Ross, California Endowment; Luz Vega Marquis, Marguerite Casey Foundation; Dimple Abichandani, General Service Foundation

Leveraging Power, Yielding Power, and Sharing Power:
The Complexities of Executive Authority and Leadership
Thursday, November 21, 9:45 AM-11:15 AM

The CEO plays a critical role in an organization’s success and is often looked to as the champion of the organization's internal culture and external practices. But are the tenets of executive leadership suited to support a more equitable philanthropic practice? How might present-day CEOs re-imagine their executive leadership? We hear best practices about taking a stand and funding grassroots organizations. Others leverage their voices to support leaders who may not have the same level of access or authority. Some CEOs ensure that they welcome and invite others who do not share privileged identities to lead their boards. But all best practices are more effective when we account for a CEO’s power. 

CEO’s will leave this session with ideas for out to leverage executive authority in new ways. 

Facilitators:  Storme Gray, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy & Aaron Dorfman, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy


Discussion Leaders: Karen McNeil Miller, Colorado Health Foundation; Amanda Cloud, The Simmons Foundation; Michael Roberts, First Nations Development Institute

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