Day 1# Leading Together

The Council on Foundations Annual conference got started (un-officially) on Sunday, April 23rd with numerous pre-conference activities.

Grant-making into Latin America session
I spent half the day learning about both the opportunities for partnership, as well as the challenges associated with grantmaking into Latin America (and the Caribbean to some extend) -LAC. This session was truly engaging and dynamic in its content and covered a wide range of topics including data about trends in grant-making into the region, legal and regulatory challenges, and strategies for working with groups who are often left behind. Framed in the context of achieving the SDGs, the discussions the discussions about grantmaking into Latin America very interesting. A few of my key take-aways from those discussions were:
1. Building trust at the partnership level is critical.
2. Public-private partnerships are very important and should be fostered where possible for sustainability.
3. There is a need to improve and increase cross sector alliances.
4. Change takes time – the pace at which things progress in LAC is slower than that of the United States.
5. Grantmakers/partners must be willing at times to not take ownership of the results.
6. LAC has significant needs for improved data collection.
7. Political considerations –need to be aware of political setbacks. For example, the process of transitioning changing governments can significantly affect programs.
8. It is important to plan for organizational turnover.
9. There is the need for strategic communication to promote social change.
10. Change and impact are cumulative and compounding and therefore require flexible and multi-year funding.
11. Funding and capacity building for monitoring and evaluation is a key element for program planning.
12. Be intentional about youth leadership in all aspects of programming.

Reasons for Hope

Reasons for Hope1
Following the pre-conference session I was so excited to attend the Reasons for Hope Reception, which indeed did not disappoint and provided true inspiration leading into the days ahead. In fact, I must admit that I got teary-eyed listening to Mary-Mitchell Campbell (renowned Broadway musical director) and her colleagues from Broadway performing the Reasons for Hope song, which was written specifically for the Council and this conference (It’s definitely worth downloading from iTunes). Reflecting specifically on a line in the song which says “when things seem dark we see reasons for hope“ I must say I am that this experience has importantly reminded me of how much charitable giving and support has brought hope and promise to many individuals who have often been left behind.

Undoubted I believe the conference’s theme ‘Leading together’ is not only timely but rings true in every way as there is so much we can achieve if we work together!

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