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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 1988 to 1990


Registration for SECF's 50th Annual Meeting will open May 15 – between now and then, we're going to take a look back at the history of SECF's signature event and how it's evolved over the years.


1988 Annual Meeting

When: November 16-18, 1988
Where: Omni Hotel at Charleston Place, Charleston, South Carolina
Theme: Building Good Communities
Notable Speakers: Padgett Powell (Author), Joseph P. Riley (Mayor, City of Charleston)

The 1988 Annual Meeting made the most of its host city. The meeting's second day concluded with a round of site visits to historic sites in the city, followed by receptions that divided attendees among four homes in the city's Historic District.

Charleston's mayor, Joseph P. Riley, was about to complete his 12th year in office. Little did anyone know that Riley, who was part of the opening keynote and a follow-up session, would go on to serve another 28 years in office. Riley would step down in 2016 having helped put into motion plans for the International African American Museum, which is expected to open between 2020 and 2021.


1989 Annual Meeting

When: November 15-17, 1989
Where: The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia
Notable Speakers: William May (Professor of Ethics, Southern Methodist University)

The agendas for this year shows that the Annual Meeting had started to resemble what's offered today, at least with regard to its structure.

The first day featured preconference sessions, including offerings for corporate grantmakers and community foundations, and concluded with the Chair's Reception and Dinner. The second day kicked off with a keynote that led into a day full of concurrent sessions. The last day didn't feature a closing keynote as it does today, but did include a session on investments and another specifically for trustees.


1990 Annual Meeting

When: November 7-9, 1990
Where: Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
Notable Speakers: William Winter (Chair, Foundation for the Mid-South; former governor of Mississippi)

William Winter's public career reflects ways in which the South had evolved since SECF's founding.

As lieutenant governor, Winter had served on the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which was established to promote and help maintain segregation in the state following the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The commission quickly became a vehicle for investigating people active in the Civil Rights Movement, working with local officials and businesses to harrass, intimidate and pressure people into submission.

By time he became governor in 1980, however, Winter's views on race had evolved - a shift reflected in his agenda. Winter's primary legacy in Mississippi is the requirement for kindergarten in all of the state's public schools, along with strong support for public education overall. He would go on to serve on President Clinton's Advisory Board on Race and chair the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi.

In 2008, he received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award. In presenting the award to him, Caroline Kennedy said Winter "has brought opportunity and hope to generations of the impoverished and the disenfranchised. As a young politician, he stood up for racial tolerance at a time when doing so often meant losing your next election. As governor, with remarkable tenacity and spirit, he envisioned and worked for sweeping changes in a public education system that had long turned its back on the children of Mississippi."

David Miller is SECF's director of marketing and communications.

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