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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:

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Download Southern Trends Report Data With a Single Click



We’re excited to let you know about a recent upgrade to our Southern Trends Report. Users now have the ability to download the data behind each of the tables, charts and lists featured on the site. You might use the data to create your own charts and graphs, compare figures for different states, or format lists of top funders to share with your board.

This function is also context-sensitive, meaning that if you change one of the parameters on an interactive chart, the data included in the download for that page will reflect your modifications.

Try it out:

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Your Opinion Matters

Author: Roxanne Joffe


Editor’s Note: MagnifyGood is a communications consultancy that magnifies the good of the social sector using strategic communications.

If you are attending SECF’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, you will have an opportunity to participate in an important step the organization is taking.  SECF has partnered with us to conduct research focusing on the benefits of SECF membership, both to you and to your foundation. Your input is vital to the success of the project and demonstrates your commitment to SECF.

The research process involves your input on statements that reflect perceived benefits of SECF. We hope you will take the time to review several statements about SECF membership and tell us how you feel about each one. Your participation is a way to support SECF while at the meeting and long term.

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Who Will Take the Stage at SECF's 49th Annual Meeting?

Author: David Miller


This November, SECF members will converge on Louisville, Kentucky, for an Annual Meeting focused on philanthropy’s role in bringing people together to address the challenges facing our communities. At the 49th Annual Meeting: Come Together. Bridge the Divide. we will explore how foundations operate in a polarized environment and also look inward, examining what grantmakers can do – and can do better – in order to best help the South and its people.

This year’s theme is clearly reflected in our lineup of keynote and plenary speakers, each of whom will be able to speak to this moment in our country’s history, while also offering insights on the importance of community and the need to invest in our future.

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Registration Now Open for SECF's 49th Annual Meeting

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


Today's the day: Registration is now open for SECF's 49th Annual Meeting: Come Together. Bridge the Divide. The region's premiere philanthropic event will draw grantmakers, experts and thought leaders to Louisville, Kentucky, for three days of connection, ​engagement ​and ​inspiration. ​We ​will ​confront ​critical ​issues ​facing ​our ​field ​– ​rising ​economic ​inequality, ​increasing ​polarization, ​and ​questions ​about ​philanthropy's ​role ​and ​purpose ​– ​while ​celebrating ​the ​ideas ​and ​people ​that ​are ​strengthening ​the ​fabric ​of ​our ​communities ​and ​pointing ​the ​way ​to ​a ​bright ​future.

This year's meeting features a fantastic lineup of keynote and plenary speakers who will be able to speak to this moment in the history of not only our nation, but also our region and our host city. Our featured speakers are:

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Meet This Year's Champions of Southern Philanthropy

Author: David Miller


For the third year in a row, SECF’s Annual Meeting will include a morning plenary showcasing a few of the leaders who represent Southern Philanthropy’s power to transform lives and communities and are among our sector’s strongest supporters.

That’s right – the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy is back! This year, we’ve introduced a new twist: All five of this year’s panelists are trustees. As stewards of the mission and purpose of their foundations, these men and women provide a long-term perspective that is essential to making a lasting impact across the region.

One thing we’re glad hasn’t changed: Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, has once again agreed to moderate this discussion, guaranteeing insightful questions, meaningful dialogue, moving moments – and more than a few laughs.

Joining Mark on stage will be five trustees selected for their strong leadership – at their foundations, in their communities, and within the philanthropic sector.

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Member Highlight: Salin Geevarghese

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF’s 49th Annual Meeting. To learn more, visit the Annual Meeting website!

During this year's Annual Meeting, alumni of SECF’s Hull Fellows and Advanced Leadership Institute programs will have the opportunity to hear from one of the country's leading experts on an issue affecting many Southern cities: affordable housing and its impact on marginalized populations.

Salin Geevarghese previously worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as deputy assistant secretary for international and philanthropic innovation; today, he is the founding director of the Mixed-Income Strategic Alliance, a collaboration among the National Initiative on Mixed Income Communities at Case Western Reserve University, Urban Strategies, Inc., and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, where Geevarghese is a senior advisor.

During his time at HUD, Geevarghese was a proponent of adopting a place-based strategy to community development, an idea he directly attributes to philanthropy.

"We took lots of inspiration from philanthropy because we knew that philanthropy had been about supporting place-based, comprehensive, integrated work for years," he said during a 2015 conference at the University of Southern California. "I think there was as much, I hope, of a humble recognition on the part of the federal government that we were actually late to the game, and perhaps that is the case for the public sector in general."

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Member Highlight: Susan Taylor Batten

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF’s 49th Annual Meeting. To learn more, visit the Annual Meeting website!

On the second day of SECF’s 49th Annual Meeting, attendees have a chance to attend a special session focused on the systems and policies that perpetuate socioeconomic disparities. The session, An Unvarnished Look at Poverty Through History’s Tarnished Lens, will explore policy-driven inequity and philanthropy’s role in dismantling it.

One of the panelists at this session, Susan Taylor Batten, has emerged as one of the leading voices calling on philanthropy, and the infrastructure that supports it, to engage head-on with these issues. Susan is part of that infrastructure herself as president and CEO of ABFE, the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Susan believes philanthropy-supporting organizations (PSOs) can be leaders in the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion within the sector – and she offers concrete steps they can take.

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Member Highlight: Jerry Gonzalez

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


At this year's Annual Meeting, the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy will, for the third year in a row, put SECF members on the main stage for a rich conversation about leadership within the field and the region.

This year, however, comes with one change: All the champions on stage are trustees. One of them, Jerry Gonzalez, a trustee at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, says attendees will benefit from the perspective he and other champions will bring to the plenary session.

"Trustees provide great perspective and leadership for many foundations and have a great responsibility for carrying forward the mission and vision of the foundations to which they serve," he said. "Being asked to share my thoughts is really an honor and a humbling experience."

The wide-ranging session will once again be moderated by Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. Gonzalez said he hopes he and the other trustees will have the chance to talk about an issue important to his own work: equity and its connection to policy.

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Member Highlight: Christopher T. Gates

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


For several weeks, SECF has been asking members to submit stories of how their own work has helped bridge divides in their communities - it's not too late to make your own submission - for use in this year's opening keynote featuring Mark Gerzon, author of The Reunited States of America.

In addition to our opening keynote, however, the stories submitted by members will also form the basis of another session at this year's meeting: Philanthropy Bridging Divides. The session, taking place immediately after the opening keynote, will feature not only Gerzon, but also Chris Gates, one of the country's leading thinkers on philanthropy and its relationship with civic engagement.

Previously, Gerzon has said funders have been reconsidering their approach to civic engagement in the wake of the 2016 election.

"I think a great many funders have been thinking about how they can increase the impact of their work, where they might need to double down, and where they need to make changes and adjustments," he said in a 2017 interview with Philanthropy News Digest.

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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.