This November, The Philanthropy Roundtable celebrates the silver anniversary of its acclaimed annual meeting. These gatherings for vigorous discussion in an
intimate setting have fostered philanthropic excellence and helped promising new ideas spread across America. Skim this sampling of past presentations to get a sense of what is said and done at these productive soirees…
Leading thinkers have brought us their best insights. The Roundtable handed the microphone to biographers like Ron Chernow and Stephen Ambrose so they could describe the Hamiltonian titans and bands of brothers profiled in their books. We brought you culture critics like George Will, David Brooks, Paul Gigot, Charles Murray, and the Three Kristols (Irving, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Bill). Pastor Rick Warren and economist Hernando de Soto presented visions of overseas renewal. Christopher Buckley and P. J. O’Rourke kept things light.
Philanthropic innovators sketched new paths to economic success before full houses. Sal Khan and Daphne Koller came online with us when they were still in their startup phases. Andrew Yang and Vince Bertram talked business with Roundtable audiences. Tom Vander Ark and Peter Diamandis gave our attendees prizes, and Tom Tierney and Bob Woodson dissected nonprofit success.
Education reformers bushwhacking new paths through bureaucracy and mediocrity have been some of our favorite guests. Name the K-12 breakthrough—from Teach For America to the charter-school revolution—and you’ll find that the bell was being rung very early on at our conferences. We’ve brought you inventors like Wendy Kopp, John Walton, Eva Moskowitz, and Jeff Sandefer.
Public officials capable of bringing civil society to bear on our toughest problems—from Jeb Bush to Cory Booker—are always in our sights. We put podiums before New York and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton, judge Robert Bork, NIH director Francis Collins, National Endowment for the Arts head Dana Gioia, and Leon Kass of the President’s Council for Bioethics.
Donors like you who set an example through their generosity and effectiveness have always gotten our spotlight. Think Bernie Marcus, Suzie and Bruce Kovner, Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Peter Thiel, Ramona Bass, Steve Forbes, Eli and Edythe Broad, and many more.
And we love one-of-a-kind personalities like dinosaur discoverer Jack Horner, actor Gary Sinise, surgeon Ben Carson, and combat veterans Jake Wood and Eric Greitens. The ghosts of Andrew Carnegie, Ben Franklin, Oseola McCarty, and John Rockefeller have even haunted Roundtable annual meetings.
Thanks to everyone for your contributions, and here’s to the next 25 years!