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Conference Breakout Sessions
Catalist National Conference Feb 23-25, 2020
Seattle, WA at Motif Hotel

Breakout Sessions

Conference programming will include Plenary Speakers over five meals and Breakout Sessions in four tracks:

Membership + Communications
Innovation + Leadership 

Review our tracks, session titles, presenters and descriptions below.  


Blueprint for Impact: Dismantling Structural Inequities presented by Kris Hermanns, Seattle Foundation and Roxana Norouzi, One America

Discover how to increase impact by engaging donors in a community-inspired, data-driven blueprint that focuses on breaking down structural inequities that contribute to our nation’s racial and economic divides.

Investing On the Edge: Taking Risk in Philanthropic Giving presented by Richard Woo, The Russell Family Foundation

As funders wanting to increase equity and decrease disparities with our grantmaking, we need to consider risk-taking as integral to our work. How do we decide what risks to take? How can we be bolder as partners to the community organizations doing this work?  There will be several case studies offered plus the chance for audience work and  discussion time.

Embracing Change in Collective Giving: Stories from Austin and Philadelphia presented by Susan Palombo, Impact Austin and Mary Broach, Impact100 Philadelphia 

Change is everywhere and ever-present -- in our surrounding communities, within our memberships, in leaders’ growing understanding of philanthropy and grant-making. Many collective giving groups evolve to embrace these changes. Come hear two organizations share how they’ve been rethinking their approaches and trying new strategies related to: understanding diversity and equity, the balance of power in relation to nonprofit applicants and grantees, and incorporating newer and next generation members while keeping current ones energized. Early successes and unanticipated set-backs will be highlighted, with time for audience discussion.

A Conversation: Women Donors of Color presented by Stephanie Ellis-Smith, Phila Engaged Giving and Hali Lee, Donors of Color Network

This session is for women of color (WOC) philanthropists and those who work with them (whether of color or not), to learn from one another and encourage greater engagement in the philanthropic sector. An informal and intimate setting for WOC donors to connect with one another to share what they’re doing professionally, personally and with their communities. The moderators will also give an overview of recent studies on women and donors of color. 

Achieving Community Impact Through Strategic Collaborations presented by Christina Gorcyznski, Impact Austin and Linda Simmons, Women's Giving Alliance of NE Florida

Learn about two successful case studies that illuminate the power of innovative community collaborations among collective giving grant makers and local groups. One in central Texas focused on advancing equity for women and girls of color; a second in Florida launched a six-year mental health initiative involving 17 organizations. 


Striking A Balance: Power Sharing & Building Equitable Partnerships with Grantees presented by Bao-Tram Do, Seattle Foundation, Aviva Stampfer, Washington Women's Foundation and Talley Baratka + Carol Anne Lajoie, Impact 100 Richmond

Effective partnerships depend on developing mutual trust and creating processes that encourage robust and meaningful community participation. The panel will explore various power sharing approaches to engage community partners at multiple points of the grantmaking process to help ensure mutual learning and effective outcomes.

Breaking the Grantmaking Mold presented by Kim Fry, Impact Giving

Listen to the remarkable success stories from member groups about grant making ideas that bubbled up from their communities as start-up ideas or responses to urgent needs. These innovative ways of interacting with community nonprofits are sure to inspire you.

The Dynamics of Assessment: Funder, Partner, Coach presented by Sandy Cook, Impact100 Metro Denver, Peggy Schiffers, Women's Giving Alliance of NE Florida and Jenny Berg, Impact 100 Cincinnati

The evaluation phase of grantmaking can be golden opportunities for strengthening relationships among Collective Giving Groups and non-profits. Learn about multiple strategies that philanthropists use to engage community members in responsive and learning partnerships.

The Varied Facets of Catalist Grantmaking presented by Susan Benford, The Philanthropy Connection, Patti Zebrowski, Wood River Women's Foundation, Lisa Miller, Women's Impact Fund, and JoAnn Sanditz, Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund

Even within the Catalist network, how we give as collective giving organizations varies enormously. Come learn how each community makes decisions based on its unique needs and find out how these strategies impact member engagement, risk-taking, funding, and investment.

Daring to Be Different: Increasing Equity and Reducing Disparities in Philanthropy presented by Christine Atkins, Washington Women's Foundation and Lindsay Hill, Raikes Foundation

Philanthropy is being asked to change its approach to become more responsive to community needs. Hear real-life and real-time lessons shared by two grantmakers actively working on equity and inclusion -- what is working, what can be improved, and other learning opportunities for Collective Giving Groups embracing change and/or considering next steps.

Membership + Communications:

Telling Your Story: Traditional Media Matters! presented by Diane Perlmutter, Greenville Women Giving and Janet Sumner, Greenville Women Giving

Throughout history, storytelling has been a powerful way to educate and inspire. Learn how to make the most of print and broadcast media for getting the word out. It will boost engagement with members, attract new members and supporters, and bolster relationships with nonprofit partners.

PowerUP! & Expand Your Reach: Harness the Power of Social Media presented by Aki Shibuya, Washington Women's Foundation and Ellen Ragone, Impact100 South Jersey

Learn practical, useful tips for using social media effectively - and actually DO IT at this conference! This will be a chance for real-time practice to get out the word to your audience about the inspiring ideas you hear at PowerUP!  #CatalistSEA2020

Growing Younger: Strategies for Making Membership More Age-Inclusive presented by Tammy Wilhoite, ninety-nine girlfriends, Vianette Contreras, Impact100 Sonoma and Tatiana Joyce, The Philanthropy Connection

How does age-inclusion fit into your organization's goals? Learn from three leaders who have created or participated in “Next Gen” or “Fellows” programs for younger women.  How do these efforts fit with the organization's overall values? What have been the lessons learned? This highly interactive format includes an option to sketch out strategies for your own group to become more age inclusive/diverse.

Create a More Diverse Membership and an Inclusive Organization presented by Deepika Andavarapu, AICP, Ph. D., Impact 100 Cincinnati and Michelle Hynes, ninety-nine girlfriends

As the US becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, it is imperative for organizations to be intentional about building a membership that is more diverse and creating a culture that is more inclusive. Please join us to hear about Impact 100 Cincinnati's recent work in addressing diversity and equity within their group. Learn about their successes and pitfalls, and we can brainstorm approaches that might work for your organization!

Employing Strategic Planning As A Power Tool presented by Terri Bullock, Wood River Women's Foundation, Katie Sawyer, San Diego Women's Foundation and Deborah Edward, ninety-nine girlfriends

So often our planning processes generate lots of discussion and lots of paper -- but in the end, what we want is inclusive member engagement and a clear direction. How can the strategic process clarify mission and drive how decisions are made? How do we right-size our planning processes to best serve our organization's stage of development? Two organizations who have been engaged in this process will share their real-world experiences.

Innovation + Leadership:

Diversity Equity and Inclusion: Honest Dialogue and Guided Discussion presented by Beth McCaw, Washington Women's Foundation, Ellan Bernstein, Impact100 Philadelphia, Gwendolyn Wesley, Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund and Clare O'Brien, Impact 100 Cincinnati

To remain relevant and effective in today’s changing cultural, political, and social environment, collective giving organizations are increasingly motivated to shift their emphasis toward addressing society’s systemic issues as well as building more inclusive internal organizational cultures. Come learn from a diverse group of leaders as they engage in a candid dialogue about their personal and organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Following the panel discussion, each attendee will craft her own action plan through guided, small group discussions supplemented with recommended tools and curated resource lists.

The Intersection of Race, Gender and Philanthropy: Findings From the Field and How They Relate to You presented by Elizabeth Dale, Ph. D., Seattle University and Hali Lee, Donors of Color Network

There has been some exciting research conducted lately on women and philanthropy, and on philanthropy among women of color.  Come hear about it directly from the women who have been leading this research, and let's discuss together how this can inform the work at our own organizations 

Let's Keep Talking... and Learning: A Post-Plenary Discussion Centering on the Remarks of Ijeoma Oluo presented by Morgan Dawson, Washington Women's Foundation and Marsha Morgan, Community Investment Network. 

The Lunch plenary will feature the thought-provoking activist and author, Ijeoma Oluo. This session is an opportunity to deepen the conversation around race, identity and how we can each bring our best selves to our philanthropic work. 

From Safe to Brave: Courageous Conversations on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presented by Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee, Seattle Girls' School

Talking about topics like gender, race, sexual orientation, and class can raise anxiety for many people, while these issues are a daily reality for others. Yet we must have the conversation in our work and our lives in order to be more inclusive and change the world for the better. What are the fears and common pitfalls that keep us from broaching courageous conversations? Gain practical skills for responding to hurtful experiences and engaging in courageous conversations.

Real Talk from a Non-Profit Leader: A new Age for Building Trust, Community and Power-Sharing presented by Colby Swettberg, Silver Lining Mentoring

Join us to talk candidly about how our identities, values, power, and privilege impact funding relationships. This interactive discussion will be grounded in productive frankness with real examples and stories from the field that will build on the wisdom, humor, failures, and aha moments from the perspective of the often-silenced nonprofit side of the funding equation. Learn to become a better, more responsive partner to the nonprofit organizations with whom you work.


Thank you to the breakout committee co-chairs, Marion DeForest (Washington Women’s Fdn, Seattle) and Susan Benford (The Philanthropy Connection, Boston), who led this fabulous national team.

Grantmaking: Kris Kaminishi (WaWF) and Vivian Manekin (Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle)

Education: Kit Bakke (WaWF) and Lauren Paver (Impact Austin)

Membership + Communications: Michelle Hynes (ninety-nine girlfriends), Sharon Hammel (WaWF) and Sarah Carroll (Impact100 Sonoma) 

Leadership + Innovation: Clare O’Brien (Impact100 Cincinnati), Susan Barley (WaWF) and Cedra DuFlon-Heide (WaWF)

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