Tuesday, Mar 06

8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
School Site Visits

Donors had the option of exploring one of three distinct schools:


Gestalt Power Center Middle School

Part of the longstanding Gestalt Community Schools Network, Power Center Middle fosters college readiness and neighborhood revitalization.

  • Yetta Lewis, Co-founder and CEO, Gestalt Community Schools

  • Dwayne Spencer, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis

  • Susan Deason, Director of Anaya Partnerships, Youth Villages

  • Tammie Williams, Member, Gestalt ParentBoard

  • Student ambassadors


St. John Catholic School

St. John’s provides a timely case study on lessons from the Jubilee Catholic Schools Network, an ambitious effort intended to sustain Catholic education in Memphis.

  • Kristi Baird, Associate Superintendent,Diocese of Memphis

  • Tom Marino, Executive Director, Poplar Foundation

  • Teresa Sloyan, Executive Director, Hyde Family Foundation

  • Alicia Simon, Director of Membership, FADICA

  • Anthony Pienta, Director of K-12 Education Programs,The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator)


Soulsville Charter School

Soulsville is a musically-inspired charter school in partnership with Stax Music Academy, and boasts out-of school opportunities and 100 percent college acceptance.

  • Neshante Brown, Executive Director, Soulsville Charter School

  • Ashley Shores, High School Director, Soulsville Charter School

  • Thomas Upchurch, Middle School Director, Soulsville Charter School

  • Student ambassadors


11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Crosstown Concourse Site Visit

All three school visit itineraries converged at Crosstown Concourse, the once blighted factory that was purchased and overhauled by a local donor.

12:45 p.m.
Special Discussion

The Crosstown Story: Run-down Factory Turned Thriving Community Hub

Donors learned about the philanthropic mission of the Crosstown revitalization and how it came to fruition.

2:30 - 6:15 p.m.
National Civil Rights Museum

To commemorate the 50th year since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., donors had private access to tour the National Civil Rights Museum at their own pace.

5:00 p.m.
Opening Discussion

Brown’s Legacy: The Future of Equity, Excellence, and Educational Opportunity

Featuring Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the late Dr. Oliver Brown, plaintiff in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case.

6:30 p.m.
Blues and Barbecue Rooftop Reception

Attendees gathered for an opening reception on the rooftop of the Peabody Hotel, featuring performances from alumni of the renowned Stax Music Academy.

Wednesday, Mar 07

7:30 a.m.
Breakfast Table Discussions

How K-12 donors Can Create Breakthroughs for America’s 6 Million Students with Disabilities

  • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Co-founder, Mizrahi Charitable Fund

How Smart Philanthropy Is Changing STEM Education in a Most Improbable Place

  • Kevin Murphy, President, Berks County Community Foundation

Bringing Montessori to Inner-City Memphis: Lessons from a Urban CMO Leader

  • Bob Nardo, Head of School, Libertas Montessori

Civic Education Reform: New Approaches to Training Teachers on Foundational Ideas in American Democracy

  • Tom Kelly, Director of Outreach, Jack Miller Center

How Private School Choice Integrates into K-12 Reform in Tennessee

  • Shaka Mitchell, Tennessee State Director, American Federation for Children

New Approaches to Improve Early Childhood Teacher Preparation

  • Sara Mead, Partner, Bellwether Education Partners

Hear Student Voices: How High Schoolers are Advocating for K-12 Opportunity

  • Mendell Grinter, Founder and Executive Director, Campaign for School Equity Opportunity

8:30 a.m.
Morning Sessions
  • Halt and Catch Fire: Rebooting Workforce Preparedness in the Face of Automation

  • Donors at the Ballot Box: Lessons from Two Efforts to Reshape Local School Boards

  • Should K-12 Donors Engage Colleges of Education?

10:00 a.m.
Morning Plenary

The Changing City: Rewriting the Playbook on K-12 Improvement

11:15 a.m.
Mid-morning Sessions
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Growing Great Charter Schools

  • Pulling in the Same Direction: How Tennessee Advocacy Groups Coexist and Collaborate

  • Shifting from School- to Learner-Focused K-12 Philanthropy

12:30 p.m.
Closing Luncheon Plenary

How Locally-Driven Funders Created a Unified Vision for Kids in Memphis

Barbara Hyde of the Hyde Family Foundations discussed Memphis' multifaceted approach to spurring education transformation, including making the city into a destination for K-12 talent.