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50 Meetings in 50 Days: A Look at the 1970 Annual Meeting

Author: David Miller

Mar06

Registration for SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting will open May 14 – 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.

1970 Annual Meeting

When: October 14, 1970
Where: The Atlanta American Motor Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
Notable Speakers: William Archie (Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation), Dr. John Griffin (Southern Education Foundation), David Freeman (Council on Foundations), Boisfeuillet Jones (Emily and Ernest Woodruff Foundation)


The first SECF Annual Meeting wasn’t billed as such – after all, an event can’t be annual until it’s been held at least two years in a row. Instead, this meeting was billed as an Organizational Meeting. This was also the only Annual Meeting to take place entirely within one day.

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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The 1971 & 1972 Annual Meetings

Author: David Miller

Mar07

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.


Following a successful organizing meeting in 1970, the Annual Meeting truly earned its name by returning to Atlanta in 1971. The meeting would remain there through 1972, with day-long agendas focused primarily on the still-new legal and regulatory landscape facing foundations in the region.


1971 Annual Meeting

When: October 14-15, 1971
Where: The Atlanta American Motor Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
Notable Speakers: William Archie (Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation), Randolph Thrower (attorney and former IRS Commissioner), Dr. John Griffin (Southern Education Foundation)


This was the first Annual Meeting to span more than one day – though the first day consisted solely of a reception and "Dutch treat" dinner in downtown Atlanta.

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

Author: David Miller

Apr25

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.


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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 1995 to 1998

Author: David Miller

May02

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.


1995 Annual Meeting

When: November 8-10, 1995
Where: Marriott at Sawgrass Resort, Ponte Vedra, Florida
Theme: Waves of Change: The Rising Tide of Expectations
Notable Speakers: Andrew Young (former Mayor of Atlanta; Co-Chair, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games)

The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta were less than a year away when SECF members convened at Ponte Vedra, near Jacksonville in northeast Florida. Naturally, the first Olympics in the South merited remarks from one of the leaders of Atlanta’s bid, former Mayor Andrew Young. Some of Atlanta’s leading foundations played a key role in improvements to the city, particularly Centennial Olympic Park, that made it an ideal host for the Summer Games. Young would go on to establish the Andrew Young Foundation in 2003.

This meeting also shows a willingness to experiment with format, and sessions that more and more resemble today’s offerings. Following the meeting’s adjournment, family and community foundation members had the opportunity to attend separate post-conference convenings that extended into the weekend. The community foundation convening included Martin Lehfeldt, then a consultant to SECF, as a speaker. In a few years he would succeed Bob Hull as president and CEO.


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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 1999 to 2002

Author: David Miller

May07

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.


1999 Annual Meeting

When: November 17-19, 1999
Where: The Grove Park Inn Resort, Asheville, North Carolina
Theme: Seeking Higher Ground: Philanthropy’s New Profile in the South
Notable Speakers: Ray C. Anderson (President & CEO, Interface Carpets, Inc.)

The Annual Meeting made its first of several trips to the Asheville, North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn, quickly establishing itself as a favorite location – the meeting is set to return to the resort in 2021!

While the 1999 Annual Meeting continued the practice of constituency tracks, the parts of the agenda open to all attendees displayed a strong emphasis on the environment. Sessions on smart growth, sustainability and reducing urban sprawl were offered, and the meeting also reserved the afternoon of its second day for site visits, including one focused on the Southern Appalachian environment.

The opening keynote was delivered by Ray C. Anderson, the president and CEO of Interface Carpets and the namesake of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Anderson was only five years removed from what he called a “spear in the chest” epiphany moment. As the foundation’s website explains:

In 1994, at the height of his success with Interface—a company he had built from a dream, grit and determination—he was challenged with a question that would define the rest of his life: "What is your company doing for the environment?" In an effort to discover the answer to that question, he read a book by Paul Hawken. The Ecology of Commerce made him aware for the first time that Interface was doing much more to harm the environment than to protect it.

This "spear in the chest" epiphany led to what Ray later called his Mid-Course Correction—the beginning of his quest to prove that sustainability was not just the right thing to do, it was the smart thing to do for business.

Anderson would die in 2011, leading to the establishment of the foundation that today continues to work for improving the environment and, in particular, combating the threat of climate change.


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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 2003 to 2006

Author: David Miller

May09

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.


2003 Annual Meeting

When: November 12-14, 2003
Where: The Fairmont, New Orleans, Louisiana
Theme: Big But Never Easy: Philanthropy in the South
Notable Speakers: S. Frederick Starr (Author, New Orleans Unmasqued), Claire Gaudiani (Author, The Greater Good)

From his biography, S. Frederick Starr might seem like a strange choice to serve as an opening keynote for this Annual Meeting – or any of them. Starr has written or edited 20 books and hundreds of articles on Russian and Eurasian affairs. He founded the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, speaks Russian and, aside from a relatively short stint at Tulane University, had spent little time in the Southeast.

Starr, however, was also an expert on something distinctly American, Southern and from New Orleans: jazz. A jazz clarinetist himself, Staff helped establish the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, which has performed around the world as part of its efforts to preserve jazz as it sounded in its earliest days in the Big Easy. As the band’s site notes, “Dr. Starr played the Mississippi riverboats beginning in 1957 and is the biographer of New Orleans' premier composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk.” The band remains active to this day and Starr is their primary contact for bookings.

This meeting took place less than two years before New Orleans was forever changed by Hurricane Katrina – the host hotel, The Fairmont, would be among the buildings severely damaged by the storm. Efforts to repair the hotel proved too costly. However, the building would eventually be purchased and renovated into a new hotel, The Roosevelt, and opened in 2009.


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50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 2007 to 2018

Author: David Miller

May15

Registration for SECF's 50th Annual Meeting will open later today! We’re so excited that we’re going to finish off our look at the Annual Meeting’s history with a bang by covering the meeting’s last decade (plus two more) all in one post!


2007 Annual Meeting

When: November 14-16, 2007
Where: The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
Theme: Hope Springs Eternal
Notable Speakers: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Ron Clark (Co-Founder, Ron Clark Academy), Randy Capps (Senior Research Associate, The Urban Institute), Joel Fleishman (Author, The Foundation: A Great American Secret – How Private Wealth Is Changing the World)

Joel Fleishman’s closing keynote was the first instance, though certainly not the last, of SECF bringing in a keynote speaker who forced philanthropy to turn a mirror on itself, for better or worse. His book, heralded as an “instant classic” by Philanthropy News Digest, was directed at the general public and aimed to demystify foundations and the broader philanthropic sector. While the book devotes substantial space to successful philanthropic initiatives, Fleishman also points out failures, shortcomings and blind spots in the field. Yet Fleishman, in the end, wants endowed philanthropy to succeed, writing “I am convinced that the foundation sector as a whole, as great as its social contribution is now and has been for most of its history, seriously underperforms its potential." Foundations can, he writes, “raise the level of their performance by reducing their insulation from beneficial external influences while retaining the independence they need."

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visiting SECF: Parking, Directions & Nearby Hotels

Hours:
Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–3:00pm (ET)


Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.