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2019 San Diego Grantmakers Annual Conference

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 -
8:00am to 5:00pm PDT
University of San Diego, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
5998 Alcalá Park | San Diego, CA 92110
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Our ability to change the world begins with the power we wield every day, in our work, in our relationships, through the resources we command and our organizational partnerships. Understanding that power – whether it is formal or informal, individual or collective, real or perceived - is key to unleashing it for the greatest possible benefit for our region and the world.

Join San Diego Grantmakers on a day-long journey to examine and re-envision the Power IN Philanthropy. Learn about the evolving nature of power, the sources of your individual power, and ultimately how our organizations and sector can, grow it, share it and more effectively harness power for more impactful philanthropy and a better future for San Diego.

This interactive day will challenge us to confront the ways unconscious bias and practices of exclusion result in our leaving power and influence on the table; how a lack of awareness of power dynamics may result in harm to the communities we aim to serve; the unique ways power ‘shows up’ within an organization and depending on the seat you occupy; and the responsibility we bear - as individuals, organizations and collective philanthropy - to use power to tackle our most pressing challenges.


8:00 AM - Registration and Networking Breakfast

Powering UP – Morning Sessions | Opening and welcome. We will start off our day with an introduction of our new CEO Debbie Mckeon and remarks on the future of San Diego Grantmakers

  • The Power IN Philanthropy
    What could we really accomplish and do differently by harnessing our power? How can we seize on - not shrink from -  the evolving nature of power? How do we use our influence and command of resources to grow, wield and share power, in new and profound ways, across people and places.  With a keen focus on National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy’s Power Moves, our opening plenary session will launch our day-long examination of the power in philanthropy.
  • Real-Time Consulting
    Let’s harness the power of knowledge and experience we bring to our work each and everyday. Based on case study methodologies often used in business school, this peer and case-based exercise will have participants dive deeply into a real-world challenge around organizational power. Colleagues and friends will become Rockstar advisors and consultants on real-time, real-world challenges and opportunities facing organizations.

Powering FORWARD – Afternoon Sessions | Lunch and a thought provoking keynote address on what it means to use the full power of philanthropy for building the power of community

  • Breakout sessions: Building, Wielding and Sharing Power
    Led by national and local experts, our breakout sessions will highlight local success stories and strategies for building, wielding and sharing power.
  • Closing Plenary: New Power in Philanthropy
    The local philanthropic sector has seen exciting change in the past few months. This conversation will end our day with reflections on what is next and on the horizon. The newest leaders of San Diego’s philanthropic and nonprofit scene will discuss the future of the sector and social change in the region and beyond.

5:00 PM - Closing Reception | Come out and end the day by celebrating the power of the network


Tonya Allen

Tonya Allen, a serial “idea-preneur,” serves as the president & CEO of The Skillman Foundation. Her two-decade-long career has centered on pursuing, executing and investing in ideas that improve her hometown of Detroit and reduce the plight of people, especially children, who live in under-resourced communities. 

Aaron Dorfman

Aaron Dorfman is president and CEO of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, a research and advocacy organization that works to ensure America’s grantmakers and wealthy donors are responsive to the needs of those with the least wealth, opportunity and power. Dorfman frequently speaks and writes about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy.

Debbie McKeon

Debbie McKeon is the president and CEO of San Diego Grantmakers (SDG). She has extensive experience in designing cross-sector collaborative impact models, especially utilizing network and systems change practices and building public-private partnerships. She previously served as the Executive Vice President and COO of the Council of Michigan Foundations


Early Registration ends Monday, April 22, 2019!
$200 for members | $350 for non-members

*This is a funders only event open to members of Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and Southern California Grantmakers.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact Ryan Ginard at or 858-875-3336.

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