Hundreds of donors and foundation staff gathered at The Philanthropy Roundtable's 26th Annual Meeting from October 26-27 to discuss the current landscape for philanthropy. Conversation encompassed such topics as education reform, automation and the future of opportunity, tax reform, and more.
Opening Statement from Adam Meyerson
Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable, opened the meeting by introducing keynote speaker Jason Riley and setting the stage for his remarks by discussing the Roundtable's guiding principles on racial issues, saying:
“We hold it self-evident that all men and women are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We recognize that there are millions of Americans, of all races, who have lost hope that they can participate in the American Dream. And we seek to restore and expand upward mobility among Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. We reject bigotry in all its forms. Including white supremacy, religious bigotry, bigotry against the police, and what George Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations” in our education system. We believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to succeed. We salute and admire those who have overcome adversity and hardship to take advantage of this country’s “blessings of liberty.” This includes the rise of African-Americans from slavery and Jim Crow to positions of national political, economic, and cultural leadership. This is a story that should make all Americans proud. We share Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream that one day our children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We protect the freedom of donors and foundations to decide how and where to give away their charitable assets. This includes the freedom to adopt voluntary initiatives to advance racial, ethnic, or other forms of diversity. And we will oppose any government mandate of demographic standards for foundation board and staff composition. We believe that human flourishing is possible when we seek the best in our fellow man, leverage the power of ingenuity, and restore communities.”
What Tax Reform Will Mean for Donors and Foundations
The Alliance for Charitable Reform held a panel on tax policy and charitable giving featuring Robert Sharpe, chairman of the Sharpe Group, and Sandra Swirski, ACR executive director. The panel, moderated by Pete Bird of the Frist Foundation, discussed the less obvious changes to the tax code and their practical implications for donors of all shapes and sizes.
Philanthropy and Democracy: Two Perspectives
ACR also hosted a discussion on philanthropy and democracy. While some are concerned that wealthy philanthropists may be playing too large a role in affecting and influencing their fellow citizens’ lives, advocates for philanthropic freedom counter that efforts to limit the ability of Americans to support the organizations and causes in which they believe will diminish freedom and politicize charitable giving. Rob Reich, director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University and co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values, and Heather Higgins, president of the Randolph Foundation and co-founder of the Alliance for Charitable Reform, discussed the issue.
Distinctive Prize Philanthropy
Prizes when awarded to worthy causes, people, or organizations allow for innovative and impactful solutions to some of society’s most perplexing problems. This session of the Roundtable's 2017 Annual Meeting was moderated by Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, who shared the benefits of prize philanthropy in the endless pursuit of invention and discovery.
The Next "Greatest Generation": Deploying Today's Veterans in the Workforce
Since its founding in 2005, Hire Heroes USA has helped over 18,000 veterans find meaningful careers through its one-on-one career coaching and transition seminars. With nearly a quarter of a million veterans transitioning out of service every year, the organization will be busy for a long time. At this session at the 2017 Annual Meeting, we interviewed the organization’s founder, healthcare business entrepreneur and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary John Bardis, about the opportunity to get veterans back into civilian work, and philanthropy’s role in helping veterans supercharge the U.S. economy.
William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership
A celebratory luncheon honoring Pitt and Barbara Hyde with the 2017 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. J.R. “Pitt” Hyde III and his wife, Barbara, epitomize three great American traditions: family business ownership, entrepreneurial leadership, and community giving. From the wholesale grocery business Malone & Hyde, to the creation of Fortune 500 company AutoZone, to involvement in professional sports, education reform, and cultural and civic engagement, the Hydes continue to leave a mark on their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and across the U.S. Kyle Peterson, executive director Walton Family Foundation interviewed Pitt and Barbara to learn more about the work of the Hyde Family Foundation and how they have translated their passion for transforming education, strengthening neighborhoods, and promoting Memphis’ cultural, civic and environmental assets into tangible results.
The Entrepreneurial University
An online degree program for Starbuck’s employees. The medical school run by the Mayo Clinic. A long-time teacher-training partnership with Teach For America. Enrollment of over 100,000 students. These are some of the reasons why Arizona State University, with its wide-scale use of online technology and a highly innovative approach to curriculum, is considered one of America’s most entrepreneurial universities. In conversation with Checker Finn, ASU President Michael Crow discussed his vision of the modern research university and how ASU’s relentless focus on student outcomes has led to a dramatic increase in the university's graduation rate, particularly for minority students and students who are the first in their family to attend college.
A Culture in Crisis: How Philanthropy Can Combat the Opioid Epidemic
The number of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999. In this session, Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer at the March of Dimes, explained how the opioid crisis originated and shared key information about the crisis at a national level. Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona’s Department of Health Services, illustrated the key role that states can play to tackle the opioid epidemic. Alexa Eggleston, senior program officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, described how philanthropy has the power to identify and implement effective solutions to combat substance abuse. The panel, moderated by Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, also explored policy barriers to addressing the opioid epidemic and the role that philanthropy can play at a national, state, and local level to restore hope to the people and communities that have been devastated by opioid addiction.
Race in America: Can Philanthropy Bridge the Divide?
Racial divisiveness in America threatens to tear our country apart. Racial extremist groups, campus radicals who are suppressing dissident positions on racial issues, and white supremacist groups are causing unrest, inciting violence, and unraveling communities. Is there an antidote for what the Wall Street Journal refers to as "the poison of identity politics?" In the opening plenary sessions, Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute offered his thoughts on how philanthropy can build on America’s extraordinary progress in race relations and bridge this divide.