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2019 Family Philanthropy Conference: Unpacking Power Dynamics with Cultural Humility

Thursday, June 20, 2019 -
8:30am to 2:00pm PDT
The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities
Healthy Communities | 1000 N. Alameda Street | Los Angeles, CA 90012
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As family philanthropists, we have the unique ability to respond nimbly to community needs and be trusted partners with our nonprofit grantees. Despite these relationships, do we always show up truly listening to what the community wants and needs? And while we rely on many best practices to help us leverage and maximize our grantmaking, is there something we are omitting, maybe even neglecting, that could be diminishing our impact?

We know that our long-term relationships with nonprofit partners are often complicated by the power dynamic that exists between funders and grantees. However, there is also another often-overlooked dynamic: privilege.   

This year’s Family Philanthropy Conference will explore how privilege affects family philanthropy at a personal, family and community level. We will hear inspiring examples from fellow philanthropists of how they are amplifying their impact by confronting their privilege, demonstrating cultural humility, and incorporating a racial equity lens.   

With ample time for dialogue and networking with colleagues, you will leave the conference with clear, actionable steps to level the playing field and advance your foundation’s investments in individuals and in the community.


8:15am Registration and Networking


Chris Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers


Opening Exercise and Conference Framing

Jeff Schaffer, Senior Advisor, The Atlas Family Foundation


Opening Keynote

Dr. Susan E. Borrego, Chancellor, University of Michigan--Flint
Author, Class Matters: Beyond Access to Inclusion


Plenary Panel: Walking the Talk: Equity Grantmaking in Practice

Addressing power dynamics in foundations can be challenging, especially for staff or in families with many viewpoints. However, shifting toward a more equitable grantmaking framework or adding an equity lens can be rewarding, resulting in more authentic relationships with the communities we hope to serve. This plenary panel will feature perspectives and strategies from colleagues whose foundations are moving the needle on equity, empowering grantees, and centering community in their grantmaking.

Moderator:  Claire Peeps, Executive Director, The Durfee Foundation

  • Dr. Susan E. Borrego, Chancellor, University of Michigan--Flint
  • Shawn Escoffery, The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation
  • Erin Kahn, Executive Director, The Raikes Foundation
  • Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation

Pop-Up/Ignite Session

Moderator:  Joe Womac, President, Specialty Family Foundation

  • Elana Wein, Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Wendy Chang, Director, Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation
10:50am Breakout Session Preview
11:00am Networking Break

BREAKOUTS: Unpacking the Power Dynamic in….

  • Your Personal Work... How Cultural Humility Helps Us Lead
  • Your Family and the Work of the Foundation... Bonds and Breaks: Navigating Power Imbalance and Building a New Way Forward
  • The Community... Seed to Bloom: Building Impact through Community Power
12:30pm Lunch
1:00 pm

Closing Keynote: Finding Cultural Humility -- The Voice of Lived Experience

Edgar Villanueva
Author, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

1:00 pm

Fireside Chat with Edgar Villanueva (includes Q&A)

Led by Nike Irvin, Board of Directors, Southern California Grantmakers, Trustee, Riordan Foundation

1:50 pm Closing Remarks 
2:00 pm Reception


Members of Southern California Grantmakers, Northern California Grantmakers and San Diego Grantmakers: no cost to participate
Non-Members: $250

Who May Attend
This conference is designed for trustees and staff of family foundations. Other SCG members and grantmakers eligible for SCG membership are welcome to attend.

Please log in or create an account to register.
Registration Deadline: June 12, 2019

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

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