Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations

Host Organization(s): 
Kansas Association of Community Foundations
When: 
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 (All day) to Friday, October 15, 2021 (All day)
Where: 
Hybrid Conference: Wichita, KS or Virtual
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Please join your community foundation colleagues in person or online for the 2021 HYBRID Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations. Travel for some good old-fashioned networking and professional development to embrace peers you have missed or explore what modern technology has to offer to help you stay remote yet meet new and old friends virtually while learning in the comfort of your home/office. Dive into the deep content live or listen to the recording at your convenience later during the year. From “blind-dates” and group discussions for the online attendees to interactive sessions connecting both audiences --- there are plenty of fun ways to bond, learn, and grow! The West and the East, the North and the South come together to network and share experiences with others just as passionate about community foundations!

Over the years, the Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations, hosted by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations, has gained national recognition and developed a genuine grassroots support from a variety of entities across the country turning into a collective effort, establishing a history, philosophy, and traditions that community foundations have come to rely on, respect, and trust.

The Conference is tailored but not limited to small-staffed and volunteer-led community foundations in rural, small urban, and suburban America. It is designed to meet the needs of both new and seasoned board members and staff in practical training to enhance skills in all major areas of community foundation management. We welcome all board members and other volunteers, executive directors and other staff of community foundations from the USA and beyond.

This year’s theme is “Heart of Community.” In over 100 years of community philanthropy, the field has developed some strategies and practical tools that work, combined with open minds, toward envisioning the possibilities of thriving, equitable, sustainable, and healthy communities. Community foundations operate in the context of various challenges, particularly in the past year: a global pandemic, racial strife, a divisive national election, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty. Because of the ability to maintain operations under strain, community foundations remain vital anchor institutions – like a beating heart – to maintain and create a place with a future for all of its citizens.  When presented with difficult times, we need to try to filter out the noise, practice self-care, and drill down to the core of those ideas and values that make us cherish our hometowns and communities. 

This conference will explore the “heart” of effective community philanthropy. How can we better serve our communities by finding the common ground beyond divisions, heal past inequities, apply good leadership to grow and expand a healthy place to live, and take care of ourselves, staff, and community in the process? We’ll explore tried and true methods for this work, using measurable actions and stories from the field. We’ll engage with some of the best leaders who are taking on the challenge of building community in new and bold ways—from rural to urban and all points in between—to create a conference that combines the basic building blocks of operations with programs across the field to inspire and encourage community foundations of all sizes and locations.

From local to national, and back again, this conference provides a menu of retreats, deeper dives and sessions to give every attendee a rich blend of ideas, programs, tools and networks to better position them to do this important work in rural, small urban and suburban communities. This year’s theme will frame 3 days of 24 concurrent sessions, 3 plenaries, 6 deeper dives, and 6 retreats on topics related to: asset development, legal aspects, governance, communications and marketing, finance and operations, programs, public policy and advocacy, and leadership.

The Conference developed rural, fundamental, and intermediate/advanced tracks to fit the diverse learning needs of attendees and provide a powerful platform for the exchange of knowledge and practical solutions. Best practices, and know-how are shared to help increase a foundation’s capacities and impact in the community.

2021 continues offering a session by assets size bringing topics pertinent to each group and providing an opportunity to learn and network with those who are “in the same boat”.

Last year, over 600 participants from 265 community foundations representing 44 states, DC, and Puerto Rico and 7 other countries: Bermuda, Germany, Columbia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and New Zealand, attended the virtual Conference. As a hybrid, the Conference has the capacity to welcome even more attendees! Don’t keep this Conference a secret. Please share it with others who might benefit from this opportunity designed by the National Advisory Group comprised of community foundation practitioners in the United States.

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