More than 1,600 delegates representing 25 countries attended the Council on Foundations 2006 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh this May. The theme, Philanthropy: Investing in the Vision of Progress, drew speakers including George Soros (Open Society Institute), Teresa Heinz (Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies), Ann Veneman (UNICEF Executive Director) and Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the US House of Representatives).
Those attending shared ideas and information on the critical issues facing philanthropy today, including the threat of new government-imposed legislative restrictions, as well as the steps taken by the Council and its members, through standards and stewardship principles, to improve the accountability of the sector as a whole.
The 2006 conference also marked the beginning of a three-step plan that will focus the Council’s future annual conferences increasingly on philanthropic leadership, key challenges facing philanthropy – locally, nationally and internationally – and the value of collaboration and coordination in addressing them.
The Council is now organizing a year-long national conversation on ‘Philanthropy and the Challenges of our Time’, which will culminate in the next Annual Conference in Seattle (29 April-1 May 2007), jointly sponsored and hosted by Philanthropy Northwest, a regional association of grantmakers.
The 2007 Seattle conference will consider philanthropy’s role in addressing such critical challenges as reducing poverty, providing health care, preserving the environment and responding to disasters. It will also lay the groundwork for ‘Philanthropy 2008’, a major international conference to be held in Washington DC and open to all US and global colleagues interested in advancing philanthropy and civil society around the world.