Home  |  Agenda  |  Speakers



Virtual Opportunities to Connect, Engage & Inspire!

SECF’s 51st Annual Meeting includes all the features that make it the South’s premier philanthropic event: compelling sessions, outstanding speakers and multiple ways to connect and network with colleagues. This year’s agenda has a streamlined design that makes it easy to engage virtually over the course of three days.

  • Monday, November 9
  • Wednesday, November 11
  • Thursday, November 12
  • Friday, November 13

Building Racial Equity Workshop: Presented in Partnership with Race Forward


Cost: $200 | NOTE: Registration for this event is being processed by Race Forward – Annual Meeting attendees must register for the preconference separately. Spots are limited – register today!


SECF is excited to offer Annual Meeting attendees the opportunity to participate in Building Racial Equity, a preconference event taking place Monday, November 9!

This workshop is offered in partnership with Race Forward, one of the country’s leading racial justice organizations. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, Race Forward builds strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

Race Forward has reserved a limited number of spots for SECF members at its November 9 Building Racial Equity workshop, an interactive training for those who wish to sharpen their skills and strategies to address systemic racism and advance racial equity. Unlike “diversity trainings,” which primarily focus on interpersonal relations and understanding, these trainings emphasize how to challenge and change institutional racial inequities.

  • Components of the Building Racial Equity training include:
  • Racial Justice Values & Vision
  • Key Concepts: Different Dimensions of Racism and Systems Analysis
  • Countering Implicit Bias
  • Opportunities to Advance Racial Equity
  • Participants will:
  • Build a clear understanding of key concepts such as racial equity and structural racism.
  • Learn to talk about race constructively within their organizations and with their constituents.
  • Gain tools and practices for counteracting racial bias in their work and practices.
  • Identify opportunities and next steps for applying concepts and strategies to advance racial equity.

How to Participate:
Race Forward is processing all registrations for the Building Racial Equity training. Annual Meeting attendees, including those who have already registered, will need to register for this event separately. Registration must be complete by Thursday, October 1.  


The Building Racial Equity training is part of Race Forward’s larger Facing Race conference. Registering for Building Racial Equity does not include admission to the conference. 


Here’s how to register:

  • Visit the Facing Race conference registration page and click the Register Now button.
  • On the next page, select the first option – Pre-Con Registration – and scroll down to the “Add-On Sessions” section.
  • Select the Building Racial Equity Pre-Con session offered on November 9. Scroll down and hit the “Next” button.
  • Provide the information requested and payment info – you’re all set!

Cancellation Policy:

If you cancel your registration for the Building Racial Equity preconference, your refund depends on your cancellation date:

  • 50 percent refund for cancellations received until August 30
  • 25 percent refund for cancellations received until September 30
  • No refund for cancellations received after September 30

If you have questions about your preconference registration, please contact the Facing Race planning team at facingrace@raceforward.org For other questions related to the Annual Meeting, contact S.E. Spencer, SECF’s programs and partnerships associate, at s.e@secf.org.


The 51st Annual Meeting will begin with remarks from Dr. David Williams, an internationally recognized social scientist focused on social influences on health. His research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which race, socioeconomic status, racism, stress, health behaviors and religious involvement can affect physical and mental health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is the most widely used measure of discrimination in health studies. He has been invited to keynote scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, South America and across the United States.


Speaker: Dr. David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA)


Following our Opening Keynote from Dr. David Williams, he will join us as we explore the issues and questions he raised and reflect on philanthropy’s role in promoting community health and the social factors that influence it.


Speaker: Dr. David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA)

      1:00pm–2:15pm (ET) | Concurrent Sessions


Societal inequities disproportionately affect every aspect of life in our communities. For Blacks, the indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), racial inequities result in poorer health outcomes, a staggering racial wealth gap and a criminal justice system defined by a need for reform. The cultural, historical and economic legacy of slavery and codification of racism mean that these inequities are particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In a region that is rapidly diversifying and with most Southern states expected to demographically shift to majority BIPOC populations by 2050, the South cannot ensure future economic growth without creating more just and equitable systems that provide a path to prosperity for all its citizens.This session will discuss: 


  1) How have existing systems been framed by racist policies and structures?
  2) How can philanthropy help address the historical and cultural roots of racial inequities in communities throughout the Southeast?
  3) What is the role for philanthropy in creating equitable solutions?


Speakers: James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D, M.D., 12th President and Chief Executive Officer, Meharry Medical College (Nashville, TN)
Walter Katz, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures (New York, NY)
Latresa McLawhorn Ryan, Executive Director Atlanta, Wealth Building Initiative (Atlanta, GA)


How has your grantmaking practice shifted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? What has changed for your nonprofit partners and the communities they serve? 2020 will be remembered as a year of unprecedented challenges and change, calling on philanthropy to collectively boost its risk tolerance, shift standards in funding decisions, and reconcile the ways our current practice helps or hinders the resiliency of nonprofits. Once a sense of normalcy returns, which practices will be preserved? How can we support our nonprofit partners to do more than just survive this crisis, but, instead, thrive?

Through group discussions and case studies from the field, attendees will explore their foundation’s relationship with risk, spotlighting opportunities for creativity and adaptation, and sharing tools to support these shifts. Participants will leave having made a commitment to at least one strategy that will enable them to evolve their own practices, armed with a digital toolbox for continued learning and exploration.


Lynnett Glass, Community Investment Specialist, Louisville Coordinated Community Investment Project (Louisville, KY)
Emily Wexler, Associate Director, Social Sector Accelerator (Arlington, VA)
Kelsie Smithson, Program Officer, James Graham Brown Foundation (Louisville, KY)
Christine Reeves Strigaro, Executive Director, The Sapelo Foundation (Savannah, GA)


Investment leaders from the SunTrust (now Truist) Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice join together with leaders from the Alternatives and Private Capital sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities arising in the fourth quarter of 2020 and their views looking into 2021.


Mike Hill, Regional Practice Leader, Truist Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice (Nashville, TN)
Elizabeth Cabell Jennings, Regional Practice Leader, Truist Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice (Atlanta, GA)
David Richter, Chief Investment Officer & Managing Director, Arboretum Wealth & Trust Management (Chicago, IL)


Through a peaceful series of mindful sitting, standing, walking and moving meditation, you’ll learn how to find peace and joy daily by being more mindful at work, home and in social situations.


(invitation only for SECF supporters)


Join us at a variety of receptions for Annual Meeting attendees! You’ll be able to chat with peers in an informal setting and move between receptions throughout the hour. Grab a snack, pour yourself a drink and join us! Receptions include: 


  1) New Members & First-Time Attendees
  2) Hull Fellows & Hull Alumni - Sponsored by The Arras Foundation


The first two days of the Annual Meeting will conclude with SECF Movie Nights. We’ll live-stream impactful and enlightening films for everyone to view in the comfort of your home or office. You’ll be able to chat in real-time with other Annual Meeting attendees – yes, chatting during these movies is encouraged!

Using interviews and rare archival footage, “John Lewis: Good Trouble” chronicles John Robert Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using interviews with Lewis, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.


Following brief updates on SECF’s financials and governance, as well as the election of new trustees, we will welcome to our virtual stage Richard Rothstein, author of the bestselling book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that, Rothstein argues, violate the Constitution and require remediation. Rothstein has spent years documenting the evidence that government not merely ignored discriminatory practices in the residential sphere but promoted them. The impact has been devastating for generations of African Americans who were denied the right to live where they wanted to live and raise and school their children where they could flourish most successfully.


Speaker: Richard Rothstein, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute; Senior Fellow (emeritus), Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Author, The Color of Law (Berkeley, CA)


Following our Morning Plenary, Richard Rothstein will join attendees for a discussion of the issues raised in his remarks and in his book, The Color of Law.


Speaker: Richard Rothstein, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute; Senior Fellow (emeritus), Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Author, The Color of Law (Berkeley, CA)

      1:00pm–2:15pm (ET) | Concurrent Sessions


More and more, funders are looking to include the communities they serve in their grantmaking processes. This session will explore the strategy of participatory grantmaking and giving decision-making power about funding decisions to those foundations aim to serve.

The session will explore the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, a collective of funders, activists and community leaders working to advance the movements for Black girls and women in the Southeast. The consortium is creating an infrastructure for regional grantmaking and movement-building by providing resources to locally-based organizations that work directly with Black girls, including those outside of traditional nonprofit organizations. The consortium has a community-informed grantmaking strategy with women and girls serving as advisors and grants panelists throughout the process.


Felecia Lucky, President, Black Belt Community Foundation (Selma, AL)
Margo Miller, Executive Director, Appalachian Community Fund (Knoxville, TN)
Leah Paige, Member, The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium and Co-Founder, Datule’ Artist Collective (Selma, AL)


Across the American South, growing movements focused on equity, economic development, history, and the arts are converging to build social capital, engender civic pride, connect neighborhoods, support health and safety, grow social justice, and nurture a sense of belonging.


Michael Smith, Director for Community Investments and the Built Environment, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (Richmond, VA)
Clark Casteel, President & CEO, Danville Regional Foundation (Danville, VA)
Katie Ensign, Vice President of Placemaking & Administration, Jessie Ball DuPont Fund (Jacksonville, FL)


What contributes to a hospitable and equitable foundation environment? What practices promote long- term effectiveness in the field? We’ll hear stories from two philanthropy professionals who experienced significant workplace challenges that undermined their ability to serve effectively and thrive personally. We’ll also hear about the intentional evolution of these same two foundations where governance and administrative changes over time resulted in healthier workplaces for all. With regard to our country’s most recent challenges, panelists will also speak to their adaptive strategies around workplace health and effectiveness during the pandemic and engaging challenges and opportunities around racial justice and equity within their offices, boardrooms, and communities. This session is designed for foundation trustees and leaders who seek governance and staff practices where people and professionals can thrive.


Mason Rummel, President & CEO, James Graham Brown Foundation (Nashville, TN)
Jennifer Oldham, Communications Director, The Healing Trust (Nashville, TN)

Facilitator: Jocelyn McDaniel, Director of Programs, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (Washington, DC)


Robert Rivest will join us to share his unique health and well-being practice blending deep breathing, mindful moving, joyful smiling and fun laughter exercises. Robert’s exciting laughter exercises and energizing movement will help us feel more positive, free, upbeat and cheerful.


Pour yourself a drink, grab a snack and join with other Annual Meeting attendees for an hour of casual conversation and connection! This event is a chance for all attendees to come together, reconnect with old friends and begin making new ones!


In the award-winning documentary “13th,” filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

      10:00am–11:15am (ET) | Concurrent Sessions


Storytelling is more than a communication tactic. It is a powerful methodology that can be used to mobilize change and inspire a new future. The session will explore the ways philanthropy can use storytelling as a tool to bring understanding to complex issues, create strong partnerships, and meet their mission. Participants will learn how to tell their story through lively, organic, and spontaneous activities.


Speaker: J. Noble, Actor, Director & Producer, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, GA)


Traditional evaluation approaches often come with inherent power dynamics that can elevate funders as the sole experts and undervalue the voices, expertise and experiences of grantee organizations and the communities they serve. Recent years have seen a paradigm shift and the field is pushing for equitable evaluation: more inclusive methods that place equity at the core of the work, are culturally relevant, and honor the input of grantmakers and grantees at every stage of the evaluation process.

Join us as we discuss principles of equitable evaluation, learn why it’s critical for foundations to adopt these practices, and hear how colleagues in the field are already successfully applying equitable evaluation and what they are learning.


Amy Merritt Campbell, Consultant and Co-Founder, Elevate Consulting (Nashville, TN)
Kim Carpenter Drake, Coordinator, Middle Tennessee Donors Forum (Brentwood, TN)
Dwayne Patterson, Chief Equity Impact Officer, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (Winston-Salem, NC)
Vidhya Shanker, Ph.D., Independent Evaluator (Minneapolis, MN)
Carlee Webb, Consultant, Elevate Consulting (Nashville, TN)


At some point on the philanthropic journey a mentor can help lead the way, but how do we develop meaningful mentor relationships that are mutually beneficial? This session will explore the art and the science of creating mentorships that matter through the stories of two philanthropic leaders: Stephanie Cooper-Lewter of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Mark Constantine of Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. To highlight the impact of a mentor mindset, this session will incorporate two StoryCorps animations that illustrate real-life stories powered by the mentorship way.


Mark Constantine, President & CEO, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (Richmond, VA)
Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Vice President of Programs and Administration, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (Winston-Salem, NC)
Atiba Mbiwan, Executive Director, The Zeist Foundation (Atlanta, GA)
Moderator: Salin Geevarghese, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for the Study of Social Policy (Washington, DC)


The 51st Annual Meeting will wrap up with inspiring remarks from Susan Taylor Batten, president and chief executive officer of ABFE, a membership-based philanthropic organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. Batten has led the organization’s philanthropic advising and programming on responsive philanthropy in Black communities for foundation leaders, donors and aligned partners.


Speaker: Dr. Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO, ABFE (New York, NY)


Following her Closing Keynote, Susan Taylor Batten will stay with us to offer further insights and answer questions from Annual Meeting attendees.


Speaker: Dr. Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO, ABFE (New York, NY)

View the SECF51 Program Book

You can review the entire Annual Meeting at once with our online program book! View it on screen or print it out at your home or office!

View the program book now!

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Legacy Sponsor



Trailblazer Sponsors





Visionary Sponsors





Sustainer Sponsors





Leader Sponsor





Supporter Sponsors






SECF’s Code of Conduct 

The Southeastern Council of Foundations is composed of a broad and diverse membership of grantmakers. At our core, we are a community of grantmakers connecting with each other to improve the practice of grantmaking in the Southeast.

At our meetings and events, we also welcome visitors from other organizations – which are not members – that participate as presenters or participants. SECF strives to create a comfortable place for all Members, visitors, and others engaged in philanthropy to exchange experiences and ideas and engage in conversations that are welcoming and of benefit to all participants. As such, SECF is not a venue for grant seekers, fundraisers, or other types of charitable solicitations during any of its meetings, events or through its publications nor is it an appropriate venue to conduct political activities. We ask that our Members and visitors not solicit at SECF-sponsored events or programs and that Members and visitors not use information obtained through their SECF membership or participation in SECF events for charitable, business or other solicitations outside of those events.

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