SECF Announces Keynote & Plenary Speakers for 48th Annual Meeting

Today, SECF is proud to announce a compelling and diverse lineup of keynote and plenary speakers that will headline the 48th Annual Meeting taking place November 14-16 in Orlando, Florida.

The array of speakers taking the main stage will include national thought leaders, experienced practitioners, and inspiring storytellers.

“SECF members attending the Annual Meeting will hear powerful insights and expert advice from the lineup of speakers we’ve assembled,” said Janine Lee, SECF’s president and CEO. “The quality of our lineup is also a testament to the quality of our members and to the quality of the Annual Meeting itself. We look forward to presenting an event where grantmakers will hear new ideas on the future of our field and come away inspired to take their work to new heights.”

The speaker lineup for the 48th Annual Meeting reflects its theme – Forecasting Philanthropy’s Future. Speakers include:

David Callahan (opening keynote) isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind! As the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, Callahan is a thought leader, media commentator and speaker who provokes ideas and digs deep to investigate conventional thinking. In his new book, “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age,” he examines the rising influence of mega-donors and how they are wielding more power to shape the world. After extensive research and personal interviews, Callahan will share what he has learned about this power shift in America, and what implications these findings have as we forecast for the future. This is an opening session that you don't want to miss! The conversation will be facilitated to engage attendees and invite them to submit their own questions throughout the session, using the 2017 SECF Annual Meeting mobile app.

The Breakfast With Champions of Southern Philanthropy (Wednesday morning plenary), back by popular demand, will bring together four leaders in the field for a discussion focused around the work being done by grantmakers in the Southeast and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for both the region and the field. This year’s panel includes Eric M. Kelly, president of the Quantum Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida, Justin Maxson, executive director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and Jan Young, executive director of The Assisi Foundation of Memphis. Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, will return as moderator.

Ralph Smith and Anne Mosle (Wednesday afternoon plenary) will headline a session, Celebrating Innovative Philanthropy in the South, timed to take place on National Philanthropy Day – and we’re not going to let the occasion pass without a celebration and a discussion of the great work taking place in our region. John Annis will lead a conversation with the Aspen Institute’s Anne Mosle and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Ralph Smith focused on two innovative approaches – two-generation strategies for fighting poverty and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Each are examples of grantmaking at its best and most powerful. Along the way, we’ll honor the giving, volunteering and charitable engagement that has fueled Southern Philanthropy’s accomplishments, both large and small, that have transformed and improved the lives of people and their communities.

David Dodson (Thursday morning mini-plenary), president of MDC, will give SECF members an exclusive first look at the 2017 State of the South report, including a special section on “passing gear” philanthropy. Coming 10 years after MDC’s first report on philanthropy in the region, this new report, produced in partnership with SECF, will serve as an update on ways that Southern philanthropic capital has succeeded as one of the most important strategic tools in the South’s forward movement – and the opportunity it has to do much more. The 2017 edition of Philanthropy as the South’s “Passing Gear” will highlight examples of Passing Gear investments that have shown results, illustrating how philanthropy is changing the region for the better. It will also serve as a framework for action, demonstrating how Southern Philanthropy is offering leadership during these challenging times.

Impact investing, one of the hottest trends in the world of philanthropy, will be the focus of Thursday morning’s other mini-plenary. This panel-style discussion will include leaders of the impact investing movement, representing both the public and private sectors.

Finally, Liz Murray (closing keynote) will conclude the Annual Meeting with her inspiring story of triumph over adversity that formed the basis for her book, "Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard." The child of drug addicts, Murray was living on the streets by time she was 15. Determined to take charge of her life, Murray finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

More details about the 48th Annual Meeting will be announced in the coming weeks, with registration opening on Monday, May 15!

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


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

Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)

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

Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.