Reimagining the Future of Philanthropy at NCG24

Reimagining the Future of Philanthropy at NCG24

Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) hosted its annual conference welcoming hundreds of attendees across the philanthropic, public, and private sectors. Inspired by this year’s theme, Imagine & Act, attendees were invited to expand their imagination to “envision philanthropy not as it is, but what it could be at its best.”

The day began with a powerful opening keynote by Malkia Devich Cyril, founder and former Executive Director of Media Justice on the role grief has played in powering movements. “From our protest chants to our mass uprisings, is grief rearranged to the beat of our freedom dreams. It makes sense then to begin with the sober assessment that as Black and Indigenous loss and sorrow helped give birth to the American project, Black and Indigenous grief, rage, and joy has always given and always will continue to give birth to American freedom movements. It makes sense that our grief is itself an invitation to struggle, a means to survive, and I intend to survive for as long as I can.”

Leading the Conversation on Power Building as a Key Strategy

SFF staff spoke on two panels that delved into the role philanthropy plays in supporting power building. Continuing NCG’s popular rendition of the “Great Debate,” four dynamic philanthropic leaders were divided into two teams. Each team either supported or challenged the role of philanthropy in democracy, progress toward equity, justice, and inclusion in the sector, as well as power building in the fight for racial equity. Panelists included:

  • Fred Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer, San Francisco Foundation 

The topic of power building remained a strong theme throughout the day and was highlighted during the breakout session, ‘Strengthening Democracy by Building, Winning, and Wielding Power’.” The session featured SFF’s Senior Director of the Power Pathway, Jessamyn Sabbag who spoke on power building as a nuanced, long-term strategy. Read more: What’s the role of philanthropy in supporting power-building efforts?

The conference wrapped with a discussion between former Mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs, and founder and president of She the People, Aimee Allison, on how philanthropic leaders can move from imagining the future to taking action to shape a future where everyone can thrive.