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Annual Conference Teaser: Q&A with NCG’s Phuong Quach

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

NCG’s 2014 Annual Conference is a month away. If you haven’t registered, you should. Registration is quickly filling up, early bird rates are only available until March 14th and we’re almost at half capacity.

If you’re still wondering what to expect at this year’s Annual Conference, NCG cornered Member Services Senior Manager Phuong Quach for a quick Q&A on how the conference is shaping up.

Q: Phuong, why did NCG decide to do a full day conference this year?

We’ve been listening to our members and realizing that we needed to do something different than our usual Annual Meeting format. Members wanted more-to delve deeper into an issue-and as a member-driven organization we often develop programming based on member needs. Also, we were up for the challenge and felt the topic Income Inequality is not only timely, it touches on all our work and the communities we serve. The topic definitely warrants the full day. And, ideally, we will gather great ideas and inspiration from the day that we continue the conversation all throughout the year.

Q: What are you most excited about?

Obviously, Van Jones and Robert Reich will be big draws. But, I am most excited about the Great Debate. It’s definitely worth staying through the end of the conference for this. Rather than the usual panel and moderator approach, we decided to invite four of our community leaders on stage to debate a grantmaking concept that will raise interesting perspectives. We want the debate to be thought-provoking, challenging and fun. The Great Debate will be followed by a happy hour where conference participants can continue the conversation. And what better way to wrap up the day than with a glass a wine and time to network with each other?

Q: Tell us a bit about the different partner organizations that are helping with the conference.

Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) actually approached us first. They felt funders needed space to come together and talk about income inequality. We’ve all been reading, talking about and hearing new stories every day about income inequality and seeing how our communities are changing, so this was an obvious and exiting partnership. We’re not the experts on this issue and we’re not on the ground doing the work, but we know we can bring together the right people who can put the issue in context for grantmakers. We are grateful to have partners who have a pulse on this issues and can help us build an engaging program throughout the day.

Q: Finally, why should funders attend?

You’ve probably heard that saying, “no man is an island.” It’s from a John Donne poem by the same name.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main…

Well, the issues we care about in our communities are each a piece of the greater whole. No matter what your funding priorities are immigration, heathcare, neighborhood investments, poverty, education, or whatever-the individuals touched by these issues are often touched by more than one. As a society we cannot ignore how we are interconnected, so it goes with grantmaking.

We hope you’ll join us at this year’s Annual conference. We know we can learn from each other. We just need to be in spaces to make the connections, develop the relationships and build partnerships.

Please join us!