Day 1 - Wednesday, October 18, 2023

All times Central Time (CT) 

Schedule is subject to change 


Registration Opens

12:30 - 2:15pm

LUNCH & Opening Plenary | Frederick J. Riley, Weave: The Social Fabric Project, The Aspen Institute

Thriving Communities Start with Trust

When we look at our community’s strengths, sometimes we miss the most important asset we have – the people who weave our communities together through relationships. They often don’t have titles, but we know them. They reach out, look for the good in others, and make us all feel we belong. They are the weavers of our community’s social fabric. At a time when division, isolation, and self-striving seems to be tearing apart our communities and our nation, the social weavers offer a path to healing and health. They lay a foundation of trust that supports every other project.

2:15 - 2:45pm

Networking Break and Visit Exhibitors

2:45 - 5:00pm

Deeper Dives

Embracing Trust-Based Philanthropy: Insights from an Indiana Community Foundation and the National Movement

Danielle LaJoie, Trust-Based Philanthropy Project; Kallie Sulanke & Marcy Minton, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County

Trust-based philanthropy has gained national, sector-wide attention as a framework to address power and build equity in philanthropy. In this session, we will explore the unique opportunities and challenges for community foundations seeking to embrace and implement trust-based philanthropy. Together, we will dive deep into what it looks like for community foundations to lean into this approach fully, not just in our grantmaking practices, but in our values, culture, and leadership. We will hear from community foundation peers who are on their own trust-based journeys and explore strategies to implement this framework while engaging donors along the way. Attendees of this session will walk away with insights and tactical advice for how to take steps toward embracing all dimensions of trust-based philanthropy in their own work.


Deepening Donor Relationships & Building Long-Term Trust

Diane Higginbotham, 21/64, Inc.

We all aspire to be patient, listen well, and be in productive dialogue with our donors to create a more meaningful relationship. We can do this by refreshing our skills to become an engaged and active listener, but also by understanding ourselves as agents of change. Many of us in donor-facing roles have been trained to prioritize our donors and leave our identities at the door. However, as agents of change, we need to understand what motivates us to come to this work in order to help our donors understand the same. If we can’t walk our talk, how will they follow our advice? In this interactive session, come ready to roll up your sleeves and discover tools we each have as philanthropic professionals to deepen donor relationships.


Building Community Connections

Jason Neises, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Brian Treece, Findlay-Hancock Community Foundation, Mark Sherman, Al Getler & Sara Lightner, Community Heart & Soul

Communities across the country are navigating challenging landscapes as their residents face increasing polarization and negativity in their everyday lives. Imagine the potential impact on philanthropy if the narrative is flipped and communities start their conversations by appreciating their assets and how to strengthen them, not mired in negative narratives about fixing something perceived as being broken. When residents come together to focus on what they love about their communities and how they can work together, the trajectory of the conversation changes course. Community foundations have an opportunity to use their roles as trusted conveners and facilitators to bring people together…but how? In this session, foundation leaders will discuss the tangible benefits and outcomes of Community Heart & Soul, a resident-driven engagement process. We will learn about the tools and work plans used to build community connections that strengthen the fabric of the small cities and towns our foundations serve.


Rural-Urban Connection

Jeff Yost, Nebraska Community Foundation; Nancy Van Milligen, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; Tony Pipa, Center for Sustainable Development, Brookings Institution; Alice Wingo, Community Foundation of the Ozarks & Frederick Riley, The Aspen Institute

The urban-rural divide is often framed from a political perspective, but that is only a surface level look at the situation. With the idea that most community foundations have rural and urban populations in their service areas, we’ll dig into some of these tensions with a goal of understanding them and offer ways to move toward mutual understanding. We will highlight the work of community foundations that have been successful in finding common ground for renewal and growth of community in their service areas. Good work is happening, and progress is achievable.


SDGs in Practice in Community Foundations: What We’ve Learned so far from a Kansas Experiment

Sarah Jolley & Vanessa Lohf, Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework can help community foundations further advance their work of building local philanthropy and equitable communities. In this story-filled session, we will explore these concepts and witness the journeys of community foundations that are putting these ideas into practice.

Supported by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation


The Business of Community Foundations

Sheryl Aikman, Ekstrom Alley Clontz and Associates & Terri Johnson, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (retired)

Community foundations of every size play so many roles – raising funds, providing grants and taking on important leadership roles in their service areas. This session will help you take a clear-eyed look at the business angle of community foundations. What factors can enhance or impede the operational sustainability of your community foundation? How can you drive efficiency in ways that create capacity for other priorities? Join us for a session that blends strategic framing with practical thinking about the business of community foundations.

6:00 - 8:00pm

 Welcome Reception at Riverfront Stadium

Join us for an exciting evening where you can mingle, network, and connect with fellow attendees at the Riverfront Stadium, the proud home of the Wichita Wind Surge! Nestled along the scenic Arkansas River, this cutting-edge stadium embodies the heart of baseball excitement.

Looping buses will be ready at the conference entrance of the hotel starting at 5:40 pm, shuttling you to and from the stadium.

Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres in the Fidelity Bank Bravely Onward Club. And that’s not all—immerse yourself in the baseball spirit by exploring the stadium or visiting the Wichita Baseball Museum. Discover trivia and historical treasures showcasing Wichita’s rich baseball history, including the Monrovians, Wichita’s all-black baseball team, the National Baseball Congress (NBC), and relics from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Don’t strike out on this incredible opportunity to form new connections and craft unforgettable memories. We can’t wait to welcome you and create an incredible experience together!

Registration is required.


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