2016 Place-Based Philanthropy Convening

Aspen, Colorado
Monday, September 19, 2016
Towards a More Resilient Place
September 19-21, 2016
Aspen Meadows Resort
Aspen, Colorado

We seek to engage grantmakers that invest in place at any level - national, regional, state, and/or local. Participants will represent a broad range of perspectives in order to foster a learning exchange regarding behaviors, content, and practices that make community change efforts more productive and collaborative for funders, community organizations, and community residents in locations in which place-based grantmakers are investing. 

  • To explore community resiliency as a way in which communities can reclaim and rebuild political and economic power. 
  • To improve collaboration across place-oriented funders and community organizations that work on the ground, with learnings from past successes and failures of funder peers.
  • To uncover best practices for moving place-oriented grantmaking programs from community-engaged to community-led. 

Questions to explore: 
  • What is the funder role in community resiliency? How does philanthropy fund in a collaborative way in order to help these communities grow their power and agency? How does philanthropy support community resilience and cohesion as a part of the continuum of power building? How do we build in sustainability for these efforts?  
  • What will it take to transform the power paradigm between grantees and funders for efforts supporting resident engagement? What do funders need to demonstrate (foundation practices and protocol) to “be”/ “live” the new way of being?
  • How should we analyze and evaluate success in place-based initiatives?  
  • How does how we define place inform how we define our work? Or how does how we define the outcome we want to see inform what we see as “place”? 
  • What does a “successful community” look like, using the resiliency frame? What does it look like when a community makes that transition? What are the qualities? 

11:00am - 8:00pm: Registration
Barksdale Lobby, Doerr Hosier Center

4:00pm - 4:45pm: Welcome and Opening
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center
Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions & Neighborhood Funders Group 

4:45pm - 6:00pm: Opening Plenary: Community Power Building as Community Resiliency
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center
Communities all across the country are reaching a tipping point in response to long-term historical injustices. It can be in reaction to a number of activities including natural disaster, police violence, or failing infrastructure.  Communities are building capacity and power to help residents address the impact of these activities to achieve their vision of resiliency and sustainability.  Engaging residents in leadership development, advocacy, and organizing can lead to authentic solutions that foster sustainable change.  In this plenary, community and philanthropic leaders will share their experience with community led efforts to build resilience and power that resides in place, reflecting on how the outcomes of community power building are reflected in reactions to times of intense difficulty and dramatic events.

Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO, Native Americans in Philanthropy
Isaiah Oliver, Vice President of Community Impact, Community Foundation of Greater Flint
Leticia Peguero, Executive Director, Andrus Family Fund
Takema Robinson, Principal,  Converge – New Orleans
Danielle Torain, J.D., Senior Associate, Baltimore Civic Site, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
6:30pm - 8:00pm: Dinner
Meadows Restaurant, Aspen Meadows Reception Center
Meet your “Home Team”: the small group that you connect and reflect with throughout the convening.

7:30am - 8:45am: Breakfast
Barksdale Lobby/McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center

9:00am - 10:30am: Plenary: Our Political Reality and Building an Inclusive and Equitable Economy
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center
Despite the divisive “fear mongering” that populates the news, low-income residents in rural, urban and suburban communities are pushing a boulder up a steep hill, but for African-American and Latino families it's a much steeper climb.  With increasing rents and unsteady wage increases throughout the country, everyday Americans are feeling the burn, while the wealth gap increases. Across all the challenging issues that face America, police brutality, racial tensions, gun control, gentrification and others, everyone still needs a good paying job to make ends meet. 

This plenary will begin a critical dialogue about the challenges, strategic opportunities, and the cutting-edge approaches to ensure low-income and working-class communities are economically resilient.  We will highlight the strategic role philanthropy has played and need to continue to play to support the development of a robust and sustainable economy in three ways: encouraging business development and acceleration, fostering equitable economic development, and working to improve job quality and career pathways.

Nwamaka AgboNew Economy Innovation Fellow, Movement Strategy Center
Denise Fairchild, Ph.D. President & CEO, Emerald Cities
Jose Garcia, Program Officer, Surdna Foundation
Dennis Quirin, President, Neighborhood Funders Group
Ed Whitfield, Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities

10:30am - 10:45am: Break/Transition

10:45am - 12:15pm: Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Funder Partnering and Collaboration- A Tale of Two Cities
Collaboration between funders working in the same place is critical to advancing long term effective change however, it is not easy. Funders must navigate competing interests, goals and definitions of success. How do funders deal with the dynamics that can come with funders of different sizes and scopes working together? What are the keys to success? How do you overcome the challenges that arise? 

This session will examine funder partnerships in two places, Columbus, OH and Detroit, MI. Learn how these collaborations developed and how the partners have made the relationships work in a way that has been beneficial not  just for the funders but for the communities  at the center of the efforts. Come join us to learn about making partnerships work.

Edward S. Egnatios, Program Officer, Detroit, W. K. Kellogg Foundation
Amorretta Morris, Senior Associate, Family-Centered Community Change, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Neesha Modi, Program Officer, Detroit, Kresge Foundation
Michael Wilkos, Director of Community Research, The Columbus Foundation
Dr. Geneva J. Williams, CEO, New Season Collaborators

Community Chang(ing) the Rules: The Role of Residents to Influence Policy
When funders come together to talk about community change efforts, we often discuss the importance of “resident engagement”, “community empowerment” or their role as “stakeholders for sustainable change”. Sometimes, the reality – for whatever reason – is that community voice is not supported sufficiently, there is institutional hesitation about supporting advocacy efforts or simply “we don’t support policy work”. The result of the gaps between what we say our goal is and our investment strategy is misguided program development, uninformed policy advancement by impacted communities and efforts without community support that ultimately fail. What would happen if residents could truly inform community strategy? What information do residents need to be effective? How can we go to the limits of supporting policy change without concern of reputational risk beyond institutional comfort levels? What examples can we point to that can inform one another of what works and what can work? Join this discussion to learn from small and large scale community efforts and share your best thinking for others to take home with them.

David Leckey, Executive Director, Orton Family Foundation
Scot Spencer,  Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Center for Community and Economic Opportunity, The Annie E Casey Foundation
Angela Titus,  Executive Vice President, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Community-Centered and Resilient: Democratizing Development 
Across the country, we are witnessing community residents creating a more equitable vision for urban development, one not driven by profit, speculation and the influx of new corporate capital, but centered on community needs.  This type of “democratized” community-driven development is led by current residents holding public representatives, public agencies, and private investors accountable.  How are community organizing groups building resilience during the storm of gentrification, displacement, and scarcity of economic opportunity?  How are communities working to have a direct role in creating and controlling truly sustainable development models?  What favorable policies and communications strategies are being used to address development without displacement and other economic opportunities?  How are communities discussing the connections to police violence, gentrification, and development? How can community groups and funders work better together to address the need and funding gap to achieve community goals?  This session will explore the challenges, solutions, and opportunities in stabilizing communities and advancing projects and policies that create just and more equitable cities. 

Jonathon Bix, Executive Director, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Brandon King, Organizing Coordinator, Cooperative Jackson
Nile K. Malloy, Senior Program Manager, Democratizing Development Program, Neighborhood Funders Group
Dawn Phillips, Program Director, Right to the City Coalition, Causa Justa:: Just Cause

12:15pm - 12:30pm: Transition

12:30pm - 2:00pm: Lunch Conversation: Resident Led Organizing for Local Transformation
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center

Building resident power is the greatest long-term resource for community resiliency. Increasingly, place-based grantmakers are using and supporting strategies that inspire community members to become active participants, working together with other local stakeholders to construct stronger, more equitable communities. The plenary speakers will engage each other in dialogue across pairs of grantmakers and community leaders, to examine how solutions best fit community needs when they are identified and led by local residents, the meaningful role philanthropy can play, and the power dynamics that both funders and community residents must openly address.

Gwyn Barley, Director of Community Partnerships & Grants, Colorado Trust
Angela Brown, Director of Programs, The Hyams Foundation
Raquel Guitierrez, Director, Strategic Learning and Practice, Vitalyst Health Foundation
Lisa Owens, Executive Director, City Life Vida Urbana
Theresa Trujillo, Community Partner, Southeast, CO, Colorado Trust

2:00pm - 2:15pm: Break/Transition

2:15pm - 3:45pm: Breakout Sessions

Local Budgets as Public Value Statements
As the nation takes a closer look at racial injustices in cities across the country, grantmakers are asking what their role is in supporting meaningful social change. As funders, we know very well that how we allocate funds and other resources speak to the values we hold. The workshop will explore how investment of local and regional public resources has become the focal point of grassroots campaigns for racial and economic justice, seeking resident involvement and determination in the government budget process; the goal of these campaigns is greater investment in housing, health, jobs, education, and social services, and a decreased investment in criminalization and policing. Participants will explore multiple case studies, include Minneapolis.

Maria De La Cruz, Associate Executive Director, Headwaters Foundation for Social Justice
Anthony Newby, Executive Director, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
Simran Noor, Vice President, Policy & Programs, Center for Social Inclusion
Marbre Stahly-Butts, Policy Advocate,  The Center for Popular Democracy 

Building Beloved Community for Systems Change
Too often, the systems (including philanthropy) that need to be influenced and leveraged to create lasting change in a place are contributing to the inequities we seek to solve. RYSE, a youth center in Richmond, California, takes an innovative approach to systems change with an integrative program model that works to improve the social and material conditions for young people. The model employs a core set of strategies grounded in racial justice, trauma-informed care, healing, and harm reduction. RYSE’s approach prioritizes people and relationships, elevates the lived expertise of young people, and utilizes tools and technology young people consume and create. Together, these strategies anchor and enliven a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment where youth are encouraged and supported to define, explore, and address their individual and collective priorities, needs, and interests.

This session will explore these and other key aspects of RYSE’s innovative model, including the necessity and opportunities in engaging adult stakeholders and systems that are responsible for young people, so that such systems – including philanthropy - are collectively and mutually informed, responsive, and accountable to the needs and priorities of youth.

Kimberly Aceves, Executive Director, RYSE Center
Diane Aranda, Program Officer, The California Endowment
Kanwarpal Dhaliwal, Director of Community Health and Integrative Practice, RYSE Center

The Advance Work for Investing in  Place
Before a foundation decides to invest time and money in a particular community, they will identify two sets of criteria – a threshold of needs and appropriate resources in place to accept grants and work with the funder. In some cases, a community will meet the need threshold, but is judged to lack the infrastructure of organizations and leadership necessary to work with the foundation. In these cases, what kind of advance work can or should a funder do to build a community’s readiness for a place-based initiative?

This session will share reflections on this question. The panelists will share how they defined readiness in the context of their regions and missions, and how they have worked with communities who sit in different places on the spectrum of readiness.

LaTosha Brown, Project Director, Grant makers for Southern Progress, NFG
Leanne Negron, Senior Program Officer, First5LA
Courtney Ricci, PhD, Head of Evaluation & Learning for Community Change, The Colorado Trust
Diana Morris, Director, Open Society Institute-Baltimore and Open Places Initiative

3:45pm - 4:30pm: Home Team Networking/Planning Time
Various Locations, Doerr Hosier Center

5:00pm - 6:15pm: Wine & Cheese Reception
Barksdale Lobby, Doerr Hosier Center

6:30pm: Dinner on your own 

7:30am - 8:45am: Breakfast & Roundtable Discussions
Barksdale Lobby/McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center

9:00am - 11:00am: Short Talks
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center
Short Talks are designed to share provocative ideas and generate conversation.

F. Javier Torres, Director of National Grantmaking, ArtPlace America
Joseph Larios, Program Director and Co-founder, Center for Neighborhood Leadership
Tara McGuinness, Senior Advisory, Office of Budget and Management

11:00am - Noon: Closing Session
McNulty Room, Doerr Hosier Center
Box Lunches Available



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