Some Like It Hot, the classic Billy Wilder movie starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, was shot at the fabled Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Though the temperature should be perfect for our 2003 annual meeting at the “Hotel Del” November 13-15, we promise the speakers will be sizzling and the discussions of excellence in philanthropy heated.
One hot speaker we hope you’ll join us to hear is the subject of this issue’s cover story. Police Chief William Bratton aims to duplicate in Los Angeles his phenomenal success in slashing crime in New York. He is also on the front lines in the war on domestic terrorism. We at the Roundtable believe sharp reductions in crime are essential to increasing opportunity in low-income neighborhoods. While this is primarily a governmental responsibility, Chief Bratton credits private philanthropy with playing a crucial role in his work. He will share his thoughts on how philanthropists can contribute effectively to law enforcement and homeland security.
Another hot speaker is Hernando de Soto of Lima, Peru, one of Latin America’s most provocative and inspiring thinkers. I predict he will win the Nobel Prize in Economics, for his studies of entrepreneurs in third-world slums are breathtaking in their significance. De Soto shows that Latin America and other developing regions have the potential for extraordinary economic growth and dynamism. He’ll suggest ways that philanthropists can help to unlock this potential here and abroad.
Last year’s annual meeting began with a special half-day program on K-12 education. That program was so popular we are doing it again, but this time we are spreading our K-12 panels throughout the annual meeting. Among our featured education speakers: Wendy Kopp, founder and president of Teach for America; Tom Vander Ark, chief of education funding for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Alan Bersin, the innovative superintendent of San Diego schools.
Before our conference—on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, November 12-13—participants at our annual meeting are invited to a Trustee Leadership Seminar hosted by our friends at the Association of Small Foundations. This seminar covers such subjects as board dynamics, the fiduciary and legal responsibilities of foundation trustees, and the role of the board in grantmaking. We’re also hosting a dinner on the role of trustees in clarifying and honoring donor intent. The Leadership Seminar will be two sections—one for beginners and another for trustees with more experience.
Donors Learning from One Another
By popular request, this year’s annual meeting will include several “show and tell” sessions where attendees can share questions, grantmaking strategies, and stories of their favorite grantees. We’re looking for volunteers to host tables on specialized subjects at our breakfast on Friday, November 14. These tables could be organized geographically: if you want to meet other Roundtable Associates from your state, you might want to host a table for, say, donors in Colorado or donors in the Pacific Northwest. Alternatively, tables may be organized by subject matter—e.g. grantmaking strategies in the arts, or the media, or graduate education.
Friday afternoon, November 14, will also be dedicated to interactive discussions where donors can get to know one another. In “My Favorite Grantee in K-12 Education,” participants will have the opportunity to speak about their favorite grantee for no more than two minutes each. “Breaking into Philanthropy,” is aimed at family foundation trustees and other donors who are under 45. “I Sold My Company, Now What?” is intended for entrepreneurs and business leaders who are moving from the business world to philanthropy. “Grantmaking Strategies in Health Care” will begin with some kickoff remarks, but then give each participant the opportunity to describe briefly his work.
In addition, we have a special treat for lovers of literature: Amy Kass, a prize-winning professor at the University of Chicago, will lead a discussion of readings from her recent anthology, The Perfect Gift: The Philanthropic Imagination in Poetry and Prose. Participants must sign up in advance so they can read their (brief) assignments before coming to this discussion.
I look forward to seeing you in San Diego!
Adam Meyerson is president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.