Our 16th annual meeting, which will take place in Dana Point, California, from November 8 to 10, 2007, is shaping up to be one of our best. Our keynote speakers personify our conference theme of “Inspiring the Philanthropic Imagination.”
Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America, will describe her dream of an America where every child has an outstanding teacher. She will recount how she launched an organization that no one thought was possible, steered TFA through crisis after crisis, and became one of America’s most extraordinary recruiters of talent.
Rory Stewart, the Scottish adventurer and best-selling author, will describe his inspiring vision to restore the historic commercial center of Kabul and build a flourishing export industry for Afghan calligraphy, ceramics, and woodcraft. The former tutor to Princes William and Harry will also describe lessons about nation-building he learned as a deputy provincial governor in Iraq.
BusinessWeek says Professor C. K. Prahalad of the University of Michigan “may well be the most influential thinker on business strategy today.” The author of the path-breaking book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid will describe how philanthropists can work with corporations to eradicate poverty through profits.
Software entrepreneur Tom Siebel will describe the remarkable achievements of the Montana Meth Project in lowering crystal meth abuse. (See our cover story in the May/June 2007 issue of Philanthropy.) Whatever a donor’s chosen field, Siebel’s story is an inspiring model of how philanthropists can achieve breakthrough results through carefully focused giving, data-driven analysis and a genius for marketing.
Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School is the world’s leading authority on innovation and its ability to disrupt successful business models and create competitive advantage. He will speak about how new technologies such as molecular diagnostics and computer-based instruction are making traditional hospitals and schools obsolete, and how philanthropists can help create new business models based on precision medicine and instruction customized for the learning level of every single student. (See our interview in this issue of Philanthropy.)
Frank Hanna, the Atlanta merchant banker who will be honored at a special lunch as the recipient of this year’s William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, will offer thought-provoking counsel to creators of wealth about how they can make the greatest difference in their charitable giving. Among his guidelines: donors should give mainly to organizations where their support is indispensable, the charities to which donors give significant help should themselves be indispensable, and donors should strive to give away most of their non-essential wealth by the time they die.
As in past annual meetings, our sessions at Dana Point will offer robust debate and contrasting perspectives on many great issues of our day.
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will speak about philanthropic and policy strategies for reducing childhood obesity, with comments by Sally Pipes, president of the market-oriented Pacific Research Institute. Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute and Marcus Schneider of the Energy Foundation will square off on whether California’s energy policy is the right model for the nation. David Horowitz of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Michael Munger of Duke University will debate how best to combat ideological imbalance on college faculties. And Presidents Thomas Dillon of Thomas Aquinas College and Mary Lyons of the University of San Diego will offer contrasting perspectives on the meaning of “Catholic” in Catholic higher education.
Carl Schramm, president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will discuss his pioneering book, Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, with commentators from right and left. Bill Drayton, the visionary founder and CEO of Ashoka, and Howard Husock, who runs the Manhattan Institute’s prize for social entrepreneurship, will offer contrasting perspectives on the role of social entrepreneurs. We will also feature a lively debate about Marcus Owens’ proposal to create a new regulatory agency for foundations and charities under the authority of the Internal Revenue Service and state attorneys general. That debate will be moderated by Steven Miller, commissioner of the exempt-organizations division at the IRS.
We are also offering two optional seminars requiring participants to do advance reading. Amy Kass of the University of Chicago, one of America’s greatest classroom teachers, will lead a discussion of classic passages on philanthropic giving by Leo Tolstoy and Andrew Carnegie. And Dan Peters will lead a discussion on how donors can avoid the dangers described in Martin Morse Wooster’s landmark volume, The Great Philanthropists and the Problem of “Donor Intent.”
We look forward to seeing you in Dana Point!
Adam Meyerson is president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.