The Philanthropy Roundtable plans an exciting array of programs and publications in 2004. Here are some of the highlights:
Annual Meeting. Our 13th annual meeting will take place at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, from November 11-13. Its theme is “The Principles of American Philanthropy.” Coming one week after what looks to be a closely fought presidential election, our meeting will examine principles of the American philanthropic tradition that unite right, left, and center. We shall explore the religious roots of American philanthropy, the strong connections between philanthropy and our entrepreneurial market economy, and the reasons why Americans, with our can-do spirit and our conviction that individuals can make a difference, are the most charitable people on earth. Keynote speakers will include Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, and David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times.
Also at the annual meeting: Tom Tierney, former worldwide managing director of consulting giant Bain & Co., will address the question: “Can You—And Should You—Run Your Philanthropy More Like a Business?” For a preview of Tierney’s insights, see Scott Walter’s remarkable interview with him in this issue of Philanthropy .
Philanthropic Strategies for Helping the Poor. This is the subject of a daylong conference in Washington, D.C., on May 13. Sessions will include: “Forty Years of the War on Poverty: Achievements, Failures, and Lessons for Philanthropy”; “Do ‘Living Wages’ Help the Poor?”; “Integrating Former Prisoners Into Healthy Communities”; “The Emerging Left-Right Consensus on Wealth Accumulation”; and “The Role of Churches in Improving Health Care for the Poor.” At lunch, Wade Horn, assistant secretary of health and human services for children and families, will speak about “Marriage and Poverty,” with comments by Isabel Sawhill, vice president of the Brookings Institution. Visiting Fellow Michael Hartmann is also writing a Roundtable guidebook on philanthropic strategies for helping the poor, to be published in early 2005.
K-12 Education Reform. One of the Roundtable’s highest priorities is to help donors achieve dramatic breakthroughs in the education of low-income children. We are hosting three daylong conferences on this subject this spring: March 8, in San Antonio with NBA superstar David Robinson (see Justin Torres’s cover story this issue); April 22, in Chicago; and May 25 in Denver, followed by a joint program with Grantmakers for Education on May 26-27. On June 22-24, we are co-hosting with the Jackson Hole Institute a seminar on education reform for philanthropists summering in Jackson, Wyoming. And this spring we will publish a guidebook on philanthropy and school choice by Brian Anderson, executive editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.
Environmental Quality. In February, the Roundtable kicked off the first of three 2004 environmental programs with a San Francisco debate between the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope and Terry Anderson of PERC and the Hoover Institution. William Ruckelshaus, first chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, will keynote our July 8-9 program in Jackson Hole. On November 10-11, a special session on environmental philanthropy will precede our annual meeting in Palm Beach. Also in 2004, the Roundtable will publish a guidebook on frontiers in private conservation by noted journalist Thomas Bray.
Victory over Terrorism. Last December, Truman Anderson of the Stuart Family Foundation chaired a Roundtable dinner for 20 Chicago business and philanthropic leaders to discuss how donors could contribute to national security and victory over terrorism. The Roundtable plans to hold three similar dinners in other cities in 2004 and invites the involvement of philanthropists who would like to help us organize such a program for donors in their communities.
Higher Education. During 2004 the Roundtable will explore members’ interest in forming an affinity group on higher education. Goals of such a group might include: strengthening understanding of the great ideas of Western civilization and the American political tradition, instilling a well-informed appreciation for free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit; encouraging outstanding academic scholarship on the great policy and philosophical issues of our times; and reshaping the market forces affecting higher education by reforming public and/or private funding patterns. Philanthropists who would like to participate should please let the Roundtable know.
Donor Intent. A respect for donor intent is one of the hallmarks of The Philanthropy Roundtable. Building on the work of our classic guidebooks by Paul Rhoads, Starting a Foundation and Managing a Foundation, we plan this year, should funding become available, to publish a guidebook on how donors can define, protect, and achieve their philanthropic intent in donor-advised funds and supporting organizations as well as foundations.
Adam Meyerson is president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.