Philanthropy - 700 miles away!
May 5th, 2008The Council on Foundations is hosting a "one of its kind" summit near Washington D.C. at this very moment. There are a reported 3,000 participants congregating at the newly constructed Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center for this gathering. The Council has been promoting this conference for two years and meetings specific to family foundations, community foundations and others are not being held this year so that the entire field of philanthropy including our international colleagues can share their collective knowledge.
Do I feel the pang of not being there? Not necessarily as part of the reason I'm not there is due to the press of business going on here on the home front. For those who don't know me or our great staff, we are usually front and center at many of our field gatherings - leading sessions, teaching classes, providing leadership on key issues so it isn't that we don't understand the strong dynamic of sharing information and networking.
In fact, what surprised me after being in this field for more than two decades was the look of disdain from one of our larger Community Foundation CEOs when it was learned I was not going. Oh please! And added to that was a mini-lecture from another prominent CEO who actually told me that he was disappointed that I chose not to go because "it is so necessary for our private foundation colleagues to see that community foundations do regard themselves as part of the larger field of philanthropy". As if I didn't know that! He did hear my perspective after that comment!
In spite of the "peer pressure" and the daily emails from the Council designed to promote attendance, we all decided to take a pass on this important Summit. The good news is that there are a number of bloggers who will be reporting on the conference which while not the same as being there, will provide a variety of perspectives. Sean Stannard-Stockton in his Tactical Philanthropy site, Lucy Bernholz's Philanthropy 2173, as well as the Chronicle of Philanthropy's blog.
I am off to enjoy my day of philanthropy from my perch in GR! I look forward to learning from our colleagues from around the world as to what new discoveries, insights and networks will rise to the top.