Wednesday, Oct 14

1:00 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Welcome and President's Address
  • Elise Westhoff, President and CEO, The Philanthropy Roundtable

1:15 - 2:15 p.m. ET
1619 vs. 1776: When Was America Founded?

By most accounts, America was founded in 1776 when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence. More recently, The New York Times Magazine launched an initiative known as the 1619 Project, aiming to redefine America’s birth as being 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on American shores. Which is it: 1619 or 1776? Professor Leslie Harris will outline the 1619 Project’s positions and will shed light on misunderstandings about slavery in traditional teachings of American history. On the other side of this debate, Professor John McWhorter will introduce the 1776 Unites campaign, which maintains 1776 as America’s true founding date, upholding America’s founding principles and challenging assertions that the nation is permanently scarred by its past sins. Moderated by The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, this lively conversation will explore if the legacy of slavery or the nation’s declaration of independence is what truly defines America.

  • Leslie Harris, Professor of History, Northwestern University

  • John McWhorter, Associate Professor of English, Columbia University

  • Conor Friedersdorf, Staff Writer, The Atlantic (Moderator)

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. ET

Policy Update: The Latest Attacks on Philanthropic Freedom 
“Never let a crisis go to waste.” This year, lawmakers and critics of all political stripes have taken this gallows humor to heart and philanthropic issues that have long-been settled are now ripe for renewed discussion. Questions like, “shouldn’t donor-advised funds have a mandated payout in times of crisis?” and “can’t the government be more effective than philanthropists?” In this timely session, panelists will address resurrected arguments that threaten philanthropic freedom. 

  • Lawson Bader, President and CEO, DonorsTrust

  • Howard Husock, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

  • Mason Rummel, President and CEO, James Graham Brown Foundation

  • Tom Riley, President, Connelly Foundation (Moderator)


Diseases of Despair: The Private Sector’s Response 
As COVID-19 creates a second wave of illness and death related to depression, suicide, and other diseases of despair, vast chasms in our health system’s capacity to treat mental illness have been laid bare. In this session, we’ll introduce two private sector initiatives that are creating much-needed change by tackling the health care system head-on. The Path Forward initiative stimulates change within our complex health care ecosystem by leveraging data-driven employer purchasing strategies and incentivizing partners to increase access to new care models proven to cut costs and save lives. The second initiative, Shatterproof, leverages these same private sector actors to change addiction treatment. Join this conversation to learn more from the architects of these invaluable initiatives. 

  • Matthias Bowman, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Merrill Lynch

  • Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO, Shatterproof

  • Anna Bobb, Director of Health Programs, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator)

3:45 - 4:45 p.m. ET

Donor Privacy on the Move
Donor privacy is a fundamental of philanthropic freedom, protecting the right of those who choose to give anonymously to do so without fear of harassment. In 2020, 15 states considered legislation that would threaten such privacy. On the other side, seven states advanced donor privacy protections this year, with four of them enacting them into law. A broad coalition of groups spanning the ideological spectrum have been working to oppose bills that would undermine donor privacy and have contributed to significant legislative and judicial victories. In this session, you’ll hear from legislative experts about the latest updates in donor privacy protection. 

  • Tracie Sharp, President and CEO, State Policy Network

  • David Keating, President, Institute for Free Speech

  • Patrice Lee Onwuka, Political Commentator and Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women's Forum

  • Christie Herrera, Executive Director, Alliance for Charitable Excellence (Moderator)


Building the Ladder to True Upward Mobility
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and regional shifts prompted questions as to whether current postsecondary opportunities – four-year college degrees or otherwise – align with careers that create true upward mobility. How can donors decode employer demands and skillsets that ultimately translate to students gaining real work experience and credentialing from relevant learning models? What are the on-ramp programs and skillsets that donors can help open to students, particularly when they are still at the secondary level of their education? In this session, panelists will address these questions and more to spotlight how to build the ladder to true upward mobility. 

  • Austin Buchan, CEO, College Forward

  • Donna McDaniel, Educator-in-residence in Education, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

  • Jonathan Johnson, Founder and CEO, Rooted School

Thursday, Oct 15

1:00 - 1:05 p.m. ET
1:05 - 1:50 p.m. ET
Free Speech on Campus: The Role of the University and Its Leadership

University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer has been a visionary leader within the higher education space, working with his faculty and administration to establish the university’s Chicago Principles of Free Expression. These principles, which focus on what the role of a university should be, have been endorsed and/or adopted by more than 80 universities nationwide. In a special conversation with Cason Carter, Zimmer will discuss the relationship between free speech and open inquiry, its relationship to the First Amendment, and how his principled leadership has led to a thriving academic culture on the University of Chicago’s campus. At a time when many questions are being asked about the value of the university, Zimmer’s example provides a model for university leaders across the country. 

  • Robert Zimmer, President, University of Chicago

  • Cason Carter, Director and Head of Public Affairs, Citadel

2:00 - 3:15 p.m. ET
Big Ideas

These short TED-style talks will introduce Big Ideas from several unique speakers.

During these previews you’ll get a thorough introduction to varied topics. Afterward, you can select a Deep Dive discussion, each featuring a different speaker, in which you will delve further into the subject that interests you most.


Why Urban America Matters: Race, Opportunity, and the American Future

  • Reihan Salam, President, Manhattan Institute

Our Common Purpose

  • Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and CEO, Roivant Sciences

Cancel Culture: How to Protect Charter and Autonomous Schools

  • Steven Wilson, Senior Fellow, Center on Reinventing Education, University of Washington

Battlegrounds: Defending Democracy through Principled Foreign Policy 

  • LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, Chairman, Center on Military and Political Power, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. ET
Deep Dives

Dive deeper into the subject that interests you most with one of the following sessions:


Why Urban America Matters: Race, Opportunity, and the American Future

  • Reihan Salam, President, Manhattan Institute

  • Tim Carney, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 

  • Kristen Soltis Anderson, Co-founder, Echelon Insights (Moderator)

Leading with Courage

  • Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and CEO, Roivant Sciences

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

  • Ian Rowe, CEO, Public Prep

  • Elise Westhoff, President and CEO, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator)

Cancel Culture: How to Protect Charter and Autonomous Schools

  • Steven Wilson, Senior Fellow, Center on Reinventing Education, University of Washington

  • Max Eden, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Battlegrounds: Defending Democracy through Principled Foreign Policy 

  • LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, Chairman, Center on Military and Political Power, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

  • Mark Dubowitz, CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

  • Jim Hake, CEO, Spirit of America

  • Marcus Ruzek, Senior Program Director, The Marcus Foundation

4:45 - 5:25 p.m. ET
Presentation of the William E. Simon Prize

In an interview with Stephanie Saroki de Garcia, 2020 Simon Prize recipients John and Susan Sobrato will be celebrated for their remarkable leadership in giving.

5:25 - 6:25 p.m. ET
Cocktail hour

Join us for a virtual cocktail hour. We look forward to mixing and mingling online!

Friday, Oct 16

11:00 - 11:05 a.m. ET
  • Brandon Millett, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, The Philanthropy Roundtable

  • Windle Jarvis, Vice President of Development, The Philanthropy Roundtable 

11:10 - 11:55 a.m. ET

Choose from one of three session tracks:

Philanthropic Best Practices
Nonprofit Financial Statements: How to Spot the Red Flags 
Financial statements tell an important story about how a current or potential grantee is operating and show a funder where the money came from, where it is now, and where it’s going. Returning to the Annual Meeting in this particularly tumultuous year for nonprofit organizations, Tom Blaney will alert you to potential “red flags” in these statements and answer your questions about how best to assess financial capacity and sustainability.   

  • Tom Blaney, Partner, PKF O'Connor Davies

K-12 Education

Deciphering the True Challenges of Teaching Literacy 
For too many schools, teaching literacy has proven to be more of a stumbling block than a building block for all other forms of learning, reflected in stagnant NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores and other year-to-year growth measures. In this session, panelists will discuss how donors can effectively identify and scale high-quality teaching strategies and curricular resources to reach more kids at a systemic level. 

  • Kelly Butler, CEO, Barksdale Reading Institute

  • Tom Dillon, Co-founder and Co-CEO, The Literacy Lab

  • British Robinson, President and CEO, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

  • Jason Zylstra, Senior Director of Philanthropy, RDV Corporation (Moderator)

COVID-19 and Liberty
Pandemics and Other Dangers Across Borders: U.S. Foreign Policy in Crisis 

  • Mark Dubowitz, CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

  • Danielle Pletka, Senior Fellow in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

  • Debi Ghate, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Introduction and Moderator)

11:55 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET
Lunch break
12:30 - 1:15 p.m. ET

Choose from one of three session tracks:

Philanthropic Best Practices
Making the Right Governance Decisions to Protect Donor Intent
Governance practices can help or hinder the protection of donor intent. This panel of experienced grantmakers will discuss determining eligibility, selecting board members, choosing a board structure, establishing wise board policies, and planning for succession. They will address the special circumstances of family foundations when governance is complicated by having too few or too many family members, or family members separated by geography, interests, and even core values. Lastly, the panel will address how family foundations require different preparations for succession, taking into consideration how best to raise and prepare children for philanthropic responsibilities and optimal ways to bring them on board.  

  • Steven Moore, Executive Director and CEO, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

  • David Odahowski, President, CEO, and Trustee, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation

  • Peter Simon, Managing Partner, Massey Quick Simon

  • Carrie Tynan, Executive Director, Adolph Coors Foundation

  • Joanne Florino, Vice President of Philanthropic Services, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator

K-12 Education
Classical Education: The Pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty 
During this donor-led workshop, attendees will discuss the practical uses of philanthropy in growing classical schools and networks. Donors will learn from both school leaders and one another how to convey to families the value of classical education at all levels of a student’s education, as well as strategies to ultimately bring the classical approach to the forefront of education in America.  

  • Julia Dyson Hejduk, Reverend Jacob Beverly Stiteler Professor of Classics, Baylor University

  • Leslie Moeller, Chairman, Society for Classical Learning

  • Dean Forman, Founder and Chairman, John Adams Academy (Moderator)

COVID-19 and Liberty
From Emergency Authorizations to Permanent Reform: Healthcare after COVID-19 
For years, policymakers have focused on the supply of health insurance while ignoring the root problem: the supply of health care. Government regulations that limit health care mobility and crony protectionist policies have distorted the market and stifled the available supply of care. Many state and local laws limit the number of providers that can practice in a region, how many beds they can offer, and the equipment they can use. The COVID-19 crisis has intensified the ways such policies constrict demand and prevent patients from getting the care they need. Emergency measures have been passed to reform these policies in response to the crisis. This begs the question: why can’t reforms be made permanent?  

  • Steven Anderson, President and CEO, Pacific Legal Foundation

  • George Coates, Board Chair, Commonwealth Foundation

  • Kathleen O'Hearn, Senior Director of Policy Advancement, State Policy Network

  • Debi Ghate, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, The Philanthropy Roundtable (Moderator)

1:20 - 2:05 p.m. ET

Choose from one of three session tracks:


Philanthropic Best Practices
Developing a Grant Agreement: What to Leave In, What to Leave Out  
No matter the nature or size of your grants, it’s essential to have a thorough grant agreement in place. Some grant agreements may need to be more complex than others, but all such documents must provide both donor and grantee a clear understanding of expectations, restrictions, payment schedules, and reporting requirements. This session will bring together a seasoned grantmaker, a philanthropy-savvy attorney, and a CPA well-versed in the changing rules of nonprofit accounting to guide you in developing the best format(s) for your philanthropy.  

  • Karen Gries, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen

  • John Jackson, Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Hoplin Jackson Charitable Advisors

  • Andras Kosaras, Counsel, Arnold & Porter

K-12 Education
Reopening Schools: Adapting and Advancing in a Time of Uncertainty 
Amid school closures, transitions to distance learning, and disruption of student and family services during COVID-19, many educators have risen to the occasion to maintain academic rigor, all the while preventing learning loss and planning for reopening schools. How can donors support high-quality schools and learning communities that are autonomously and responsively meeting the needs of students and families? How can donors square the support of immediate school needs while still turning an eye toward reimagined classrooms, in-person or otherwise? This wide-ranging discussion will focus on how charter and choice-based schools have pivoted since the start of quarantines; how school reopenings are faring; and the manifestation of pandemic-induced innovations and wholly new learning models that could be here to stay.  

  • Michael Horn, Senior Strategist, Guild Education

  • Jon Rybka, CEO, RePublic Schools 

  • Kelly Smith, CEO, Prenda

COVID-19 and Liberty
Philanthropy and the Road to Economic Recovery
COVID-19 has disrupted the economy and workforce. With 18 million people out of work and unemployment at 10%, any recovery effort must immediately get people back to work. Work is a vital part of the free enterprise system, provides opportunity for all, and minimizes the need for government income supports like unemployment insurance. At the same time, our nation is grappling with a racial crisis and being met with demands for more people to become entrepreneurs and to create jobs – particularly in underserved and under-resourced communities. This session will analyze the role of venture philanthropy and impact investing in supporting innovative solutions to the current crisis. Featuring two venture philanthropists, this panel will highlight philosophies of impact investing and the importance of facilitating individuals getting back to work, securing necessary skills, and becoming successful in launching new businesses.  

  • Jay Hein, President, Sagamore Institute 

  • Peter Lipsett, Vice President, DonorsTrust 

  • Alicia Manning, Senior Program Director, Bradley Foundation 

2:05 - 2:50 p.m. ET
The State of Philanthropy and Closing Remarks
  • Rick Graber, Chairman, The Philanthropy Roundtable

  • Elise Westhoff, President and CEO, The Philanthropy Roundtable