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Who's Taking the Main Stage at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting?

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


For five decades, SECF’s Annual Meeting has brought together not only the best of Southern Philanthropy, but also experts and thought leaders from across the country to connect, engage and inspire one another in ways that propel transformative change in our region, enrich its communities and improve the lives of its people. This year in Atlanta, at our 50th Annual Meeting, we will honor our past, look back on what we’ve learned and assess where the South is today.

SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting: Writing Our Next Chapter is not a culmination or conclusion – it is the close of one chapter and the beginning of the next! We’re starting our next 50 years in a big way, with a collection of keynote and plenary speakers who collectively will look at some of the biggest issues facing our region, country and planet today and offer insights on what role philanthropy will have, and the tools it can use, in the years and decades ahead.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Andy Goodman

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100!

SECF's 50th Annual Meeting will mark the close of one chapter and the beginning of the next -- part of an ongoing story of philanthropy in the South, its growth and evolution, and its power to transform lives and communities.

Within that large, overarching story are many others, being written every day by foundations and the people who lead them. Yet people and organizations can easily get caught up in the day-to-day, unable to appreciate the powerful, long-running narratives they help write through their work. Too often, these stories go untold.

Andy Goodman, who will take the main stage during the second day of the Annual Meeting, has devoted his career to changing that. As the co-founder and director of The Goodman Center, and author of Storytelling as Best Practice, he argues that stories are integral to organizational success.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Phil Buchanan

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100!

SECF has long had a strong relationship with The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) and its president, Phil Buchanan. Buchanan was a plenary speaker at the 2015 Annual Meeting and facilitated conversations at SECF's CEO Forum, and CEP reports and articles make regular appearances in the weekly Connect newsletter.

That fruitful relationship will continue at this year's Annual Meeting, when Buchanan will speak to alumni of SECF's leadership development programs, including the Hull Fellows Program, at a special reception on the meeting's second day. He's also set to facilitate a session earlier that day on how learning from failure can be a best practice regularly undertaken to benefit a foundation.

Buchanan is in-demand these days, thanks largely to his new book, Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count. While it follows the release of several books -- David Callahan's The Givers, Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All, and others -- that have been largely critical, Buchanan's book is rooted in a more optimistic view of the field.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


Any conversation around the next 50 years of philanthropy -- Southern or otherwise -- would be incomplete without devoting significant time to the threats facing our environment, particularly climate change and its effect on the global ocean that covers 70 percent of the planet.

The health of our planet and its oceans will be on the main stage at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting through a presentation led by Philippe Cousteau Jr., whose family name has become synonymous with ocean exploration and conservation. Philippe, the grandson of the renowned Jacques Cousteau, will use photos and videos during his Friday morning plenary as he explores lessons learned growing up as part of a legendary family and the critical pathways we need to focus on in order to return our oceans to abundance.

"Growing up I was inspired by the work of my grandfather and father," Cousteau said in a recent interview with Australia's Grazia magazine. "[My grandfather] opened the world's eyes to the wonders beneath the waves and the need to protect and restore the health of our oceans. My father Philippe Sr. joined him and was a world-renowned filmmaker and explorer in his own right."

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Bryan Stevenson

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


Few people are better equipped to talk both about the South’s past and its potential than Bryan Stevenson, who will close out SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting.

Stevenson’s work as founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which is devoted to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, first brought him to national attention. Originally focused on providing legal representation to death row inmates in Alabama, where it is based, the organization is now a national leader on issues of racial justice.

Following a 2012 TED Talk that has accrued over 5.8 million views and the 2014 publication of his best-selling and award-winning memoir, Just Mercy, Stevenson rose to further prominence. His most visible achievement, however, came last year when The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the related Legacy Museum opened in Montgomery.

The memorial, dedicated to victims of white supremacy, draws thousands of visitors every day to view the stark, minimalist columns etched with the names of lynching victims from hundreds of counties – most in the South. The Legacy Museum, a short walk away, uses powerful images, audio and artifacts to draw a direct line from the enslavement of Africans that started in the 1600s all the way to today’s mass incarceration of African-American men.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Jim Hasson

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100! Look for an expanded version of this profile in the next issue of SECF’s Inspiration, coming out in early July!

SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting is expected to draw more than a few guests who played a key role in the organization’s earliest days. One of them – attorney Jim Hasson – will even lead a session on the meeting’s third day.

Jim’s signature graces SECF’s Articles of Incorporation and between 1974 and 2011, he spoke at literally dozens of Annual Meeting legal update sessions. After a few years away, he’s returning this year to lead a new legal session, Compliance 101, that will provide practical guidance on best practices for some of the most common issues facing trustees and foundation staff, and the latest legal developments impacting foundations.

While SECF was founded in 1969, it didn’t become a legally distinct organization until 1972 – a process that Hasson was charged with completing.

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