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PowerUP! Baltimore 2023 National Conference
Breakout Sessions

Conference programming will include our Keynote Speaker, 3 Plenary Speakers, and 20 Breakout Sessions in four tracks:

We invite you to review our 20 inspiring Breakout Sessions along with our powerful presenters and exciting session descriptions below. Links to Pre-reads for any track will be added as they become available - stay tuned!

Collective Power + Leadership  

Impactful Advocacy and Measurable Results by a Small Foundation presented by Abigail Seldin, CEO, Seldin /Harris-Smith Foundation, CEO.

Looking to engage in state and federal policy, but not sure where to start? We’ll examine three small grants by the Seldin / Haring-Smith Foundation that inspired policy changes by attorneys general, state governments, and the federal executive branch. Through guided activities, you will workshop your own ideas for policy grantmaking.

Underscoring the Link Between Giving and Civic Engagement presented by John Brothers, T. Rowe Price Charitable Foundation (Moderator), Melissa Walker, Head of Giving Circles, The States Project, and Anais Amaya, Director, Latina Giving Circle Network.

Change begins when people organize their friends and neighbors for impact. This session will share how folks who rally their communities for collective giving are building a key civic engagement muscle.

What Does it Mean to Be an Ally? presented by Whitney Parnell, Service Never Sleeps.

What does it mean to be effective allies in our work for racial equity? Whitney Parnell, executive director and co-founder of Service Never Sleeps (SNS), will lead an intensive, fast-paced presentation designed to explore how to use individual and collective areas of privilege to advance racial justice. Using SNS’ CLAIM framework (Care, Learn, Act, Influence, Maintain), this presentation will explore what it means to adopt an Allyship lifestyle.

Collaborating Through Direct Cash Assistance presented by Lynn O'Connell, DMV Collective Giving Network (Moderator) and Mary Bogle, Urban Institute

Direct cash transfer or guaranteed income has become an important tool within the movement for trust-based philanthropy. This session will cover the definitions, principles, and evidence base for direct cash transfer. In addition, best practices for implementing direct cash transfers programs of all sizes will be presented through an equity and social justice framework.

Stronger Together presented by Tony Bowen, Fidelity Charitable (Moderator), Sara Lomelin, CEO, Philanthropy Together, and Jeannie Sager, Director, Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy IUPUI.

Primarily women-led, the global giving circle movement is growing exponentially as thousands of collective giving groups disrupt traditional philanthropy. Hear insights from Jeannie Sager, Director of Women Philanthropy Institute, and Sara Lomelin, CEO of Philanthropy Together, as they join collective giving advocate and supporter Tony Bowen of Fidelity Charitable in a discussion about two recent research studies and trends in the giving circle movement that reveal the who, what, where, why and how behind the movement, along with the impact that participation in collective giving has on an individual’s civic engagement, philanthropic activities and strategies, and overall wellness. Together, we’ll celebrate the impact of collaboration as we all continue our work to democratize and diversify philanthropy.

Communications + Technology

Software: Taking Your Organization to the Next Level presented by Amy Conard, Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, Philanos Board Member/Technology Committee Chair (Moderator), Sarah F. Wimberley, Impact100 Philadelphia, Mathilde Sanson, Impact 100 NYC, and  Jennifer Daniels, Impact 100 NYC.

Effectively utilizing software for membership, grants, marketing and communications are essential to the functioning of your giving circle. Hear from experienced technology leads on tips to evaluate the best options available, prepare for successful deployments and plan for continued adaptation to maximize your efforts and take your circle to the next level.

Social Media Bootcamp: Create a Strategic Roadmap to Transform Your Social Presence - It’s Not all About the Likes! presented by Faith Wachter, Faith Wachter Consulting, LLC.

We know most giving circles are run by volunteer woman power, whether you have a background in marketing or not. Anyone can find success managing your circle’s social media, you just need the strategic roadmap to get there. This breakout session is for giving circle social media DIYers of every level. Learn how to build your own strategic roadmap that will provide clarity and purpose to transform your circle’s social media presence. Walk away with a headstart in creating your own strategic roadmap with a take-home worksheet that you can complete with your team.

Amplify Your Message: Your Members Are Your Best Ambassadors! presented by Ilyasah N Shabazz, Senior Operations and Communications Director, Philanthropy Together. 

Did you know that everyone in your giving circle has a role to play in marketing and communications? They do! Marketing and Communications is an umbrella over everything that your circle does … and every member has a role to play to amplify your circle's message. Learn strategies for engaging your board, leadership, past leadership, donors, grantee partners and others to be your best marketing and communications ambassadors!

3 Ways to Tell Your Story: Elevate, Educate + Engage presented by Ann Marie McGee, Philanos Board/Communications Committee co-Chair, Impact 100 Redwood Circle (Moderator), Laura Bacon, Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, and Elisabeth Hyleck, Program Director, Maryland Philanthropy Network.

Everyone has a story, what’s yours? Storytelling is a powerful way to elevate voices, educate about issues, and inspire members. Hear how your colleagues are boosting engagement with members, attracting new members and partners, and enhancing relationships with nonprofit partners. 

Opportunities to Utilize Data: To Support Our Work + Our Partners presented by Stephanie Dain, PNC Private Bank (Moderator),  Jennifer Bodensiek, PowerUP! Baltimore Steering Committee, Chair Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, Alisa Debnam, Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County, and Sabeen Perwaiz, Women's Giving Alliance of Northeast Florida.

Data storytellers craft a narrative that engages others. Stories add emotion and are more compelling than simple logic, so turning data into stories that everyone can understand helps to make information more accessible and actionable for an organization. Learn from your colleagues how they are using data to support their work and engage their members and the broader community.

Governance + Finance

Succession Planning: Build a Robust Leadership Pipeline presented by Penny Wald, Baltimore Women's Giving Circle (Moderator),  Margaret Prentice, Impact100 Metro Denver, Eliza Rossman, ALLINBKLYN,  and Vicki Sheehan, Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund.

It’s never too early to identify upcoming leadership! Let our panel tell you how to create a robust organizational leadership pipeline from the beginning.  Panelists will discuss how you can create a culture and structure that fosters leadership at all levels; how to identify and recruit potential leaders; and what you can do to support leadership success. 

Strategic Planning: Blueprint for Success presented by Jana Ertrachter, Principal, Ertrachter Group and Women’s Giving Alliance of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville (Moderator), Wendy Gray, Many Hands, DC, and Patricia Massey Hoke, Women’s Impact Fund, Charlotte, NC.

Strategic planning can be fun, invigorating, and useful for every circle.  Don’t believe us?  Come find out why this can be true.  In this session we will discuss why you need a plan, the key components of a good plan, and a process to make it real and actionable.  Hear speakers from three different organizations trace the evolution of their strategic planning.

Legacy Memberships: Three Versions presented by Deborah Majewski, Philanos Board, Women's Impact Fund (Moderator), Mary Pietan, Women's Giving Alliance of NE Florida, Maria Kolby-Wolfe, Executive Director, Washington Women’s Foundation, and Bronwyn Belling, Anne Arundel Women Giving Together.

Circles who have instituted legacy or lifetime memberships find increased engagement and financial growth and sustainability - particularly regarding recurring donations and endowed funds. You will learn from three affiliates with differing models and member contributions to understand their long-term fiduciary implications.

Spark Tank: Ignite Innovative Ideas presented by Ty Wilson, Philanos Board, Philanthropy Together and HERitage Giving Fund, Dallas, TX (Moderator), Mindy Freedman, Founder,  SAM Initiative, Los Angeles, CA, Geneva Johns, Women Helping Women Fund, Spokane, WA,  Becky Austen, Impact Austin, and Sue Priester, Co-Founder, Greenville Women Giving.

Women’s collective giving circles are all about new ways to impact communities.  Enjoy a fast-paced round of exceptionally good ideas from four affiliates that could up your giving game, engage your community, and help your bottom line.  Hear pitches for micro-lending grants, a massive community fundraiser, a very special advisory council, and a community-wide SHEro media campaign with time for individual follow-up.

Be Sponsorship Savvy: Make the Ask presented by Mary Ann Scully, Dean Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola University of Maryland, and Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County (Moderator), Heather Jauregui, Senior Director of Development, Boise State University College of Health Sciences, Philanos Board Co-Chair of Development, and Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, and Lauren Sterlacci, President, Impact the Palm Beaches. 

Attracting sponsors who align with your membership and your mission is a formidable tool for sustainability and visibility - for both your circle and sponsors. Come learn from two professionals offering real world advice and successful tactics, along with an affiliate who has been very successful at acquiring sponsors.

Membership + Grantmaking

Stepping into Trust-Based Philanthropy presented by Peggy Schapiro, Baltimore Women's Giving Circle (Moderator), Crickett Woloson, Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, Taisha Rojas-Parker, Impact 100 Cincinnati and Amarik Singh, Women’s Fund El Dorado. 

Your giving circle has started some DEI work, you’ve offered some learning sessions about race and racism, and you’ve heard about “trust-based philanthropy.”  You know that some of your philanthropy peers are experimenting with smaller grants and different ways of engaging with grantee partners. But on the whole, your members like the way things are. How might you begin and continue conversations about how a desire for a more equitable, inclusive relationship with your community might shift how you make grants? Learn how three Philanos affiliates are making this shift.

Trust-Based, Place-Based, and Shorter/Smaller Grants - Experiments with New Ways of Giving Money presented by Nina Cohen, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Glenmede and Impact 100 South Jersey (Moderator), Anna Graves, Impact 100 Seattle, Talley Baratka, Impact 100 Richmond, and Yolanda Webb, Impact100 Metro Denver.

Each of our giving circles is rooted in a community – whether that’s a neighborhood, a city, a region, or a state. Inspired by conversations about trust-based philanthropy, community-centered philanthropy, and racial equity – some Philanos members have shifted the relationship between their grantmaking and their community outreach. This might involve changes in grant size, length of grant cycles, what applications and reporting looks like, and who gets involved. What are the opportunities, challenges, and impact of making these changes? 

Engagement Strategies for Member Retention presented by Kirsten Stanley,  Impact 100 Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, FL (Moderator),  and Diane Perlmutter, Greenville Women Giving, MaryJean Levin, Roanoke Women’s Foundation, and Melinda Andolina, Rochester Women’s Giving Circle.

Member renewal and retention is essential to a healthy giving circle – for overall engagement, for leadership succession, and more. How do Philanos members track retention? What is typical from year to year? What are the ways people have kept their members engaged, during and beyond the COVID years? How does this change for giving circles post-COVID and as you age-diversify your membership?

Inviting Economic Diversity and Inclusion: What if All Members Don't Give the Same Contribution? presented by Michelle Hynes, ninety-nine girlfriends (Moderator), Ellan Bernstein, Philanos Board Secretary/Education Committee Co-chair, Impact100 Philadelphia, Sue Pitchford, Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, and Tatiana Joyce, The Philanthropy Connection (Boston). 

The traditional “Impact 100” model relies on one woman, one vote – and each of us giving the same membership contribution. As we explore various aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion – how might we apply those principles to the way we invite members to join or renew? Hear from leaders of three different giving circles about launching a program that gives members a choice of multiple levels of contribution. You might be surprised at the results! 

Beyond the Grant: Engaging Members in Volunteering for Grantee Partners presented by Michelle Hynes, ninety-nine girlfriends (Moderator), Heidi Friedlander, Nevada Women’s Philanthropy, Chris Hairston-White, Sister Fund (Richmond, VA), and Pam Feinstein, Giving Together, Inc. (Washington, DC area). 

Encouraging members to volunteer with grantee partners can both increase the impact of your grantmaking, and offer more opportunities for member engagement throughout the year. It takes time and effort, though, from both you and your grantee partners. What are some models that Philanos members have tried? What are the opportunities and challenges? What’s been the impact on member engagement and retention? How do you measure the impact? How and why might you try this yourself?  

This is a nuts-and-bolts session exploring why you might offer one-time or ongoing volunteering as an option to grantee partners and members, how to organize it, and lessons learned from Philanos members who have this as part of their grantmaking and membership engagement portfolio.

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