Over 400 experts and donors gathered in Palm Beach, Florida on October 24-26 for the 2018 Annual Meeting. During powerful debates and practical how-to sessions, attendees discussed the best ways for private individuals to achieve powerful results through their giving. The Annual Meeting covers a broad range of issues and offers exposure to areas beyond where people may usually make grants to help spur new ideas and discussions. 

Event Recap

How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy

Jonah Goldberg, author of Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, highlighted the not-so-self-evident principles of our Declaration of Independence, the character of our Constitution, the extraordinary increase in material prosperity made possible by our free society, the power of our founding principles in overcoming slavery and discrimination, and the ideologies that are undermining the American democratic tradition. “The real problems we have in our society aren’t coming from Washington…the drivers of our problems are starting in the home, starting with the breakdown of families, but also the breakdown of civil society.” Watch the full recap here.


Jonah Goldberg
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


Forging Philanthropic Partnerships

Political polarization is stronger than ever, and people are unwilling to argue constructively. Resisting these trends, keynote speakers Rebecca Rimel of The Pew Charitable Trusts and Brian Hooks of the Charles Koch Foundation, discussed their approaches to developing nontraditional philanthropic partnerships. These groups, typically at opposing ends of the philosophical spectrum, have joined forces on criminal justice reform and lowered incarceration rates by 12 percent nationwide. Watch a short clip of their remarks below.

For Rebecca Rimel's full session, click here.
For Brian Hooks' full session, click here. 


The Future of Work in an Age of Artificial Intelligence 

Andrew McAfee of MIT described to donors what the technological hallmarks of the 21st century — interconnectedness and artificial intelligence — mean for the workforce. In a conversation with David Egner of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, McAfee denounced the fear often associated with artificial intelligence, citing AI as a powerful tool to solve society’s challenges. McAfee explained the redistribution of prosperity that often accompanies technological advancement and the resultant need for experimentation and innovation in mid-career upskilling, as well as for increased dynamism in the American workplace. When asked what skills will make a successful worker in the future, McAfee identified three: quantitative reasoning, social competence, and the ability to “poke at the world” and point out problems that need solving. Watch the full session here.


Left to right: Andrew McAfee, David Egner
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


Left-Center-Right Philanthropic Collaboration in a Partisan Age

At Duke University’s North Carolina Leadership Forum civic, business, and political leaders with different perspectives engage in civil off-the-record debate. John Hood and Leslie Winner joined us to illustrate what philanthropists can accomplish when they find common ground. “The fact that we were in it together from the beginning is a big part of our ability to go forward,” Winner said. Last year’s focus was how to enable more North Carolinians to earn enough to support their families. This year’s question: energy policy. Daniel Stid joined the conversation to chronicle the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s $150 million “Madison Initiative” to foster bipartisan problem-solving in Congress. Hewlett’s trans-ideological funding partnerships include support for the Federalist Society’s “Article I” initiative to examine and restore the constitutional responsibilities of Congress, Yuval Levin’s National Affairs journal, and experiments with ranked choice voting. Listen to the audio here.


Left to right:Joe Goldman, John Hood, Leslie Winner, Daniel Stid
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


What Washington Can Learn from the States

The name Haym Salomon might not have appeared in your history textbook, but according to Brooke Leslie Rollins, director of the White House Office of American Innovation, it should have. Salomon, the financier of the American revolution, perfectly exemplifies Rollins’ vision of the American dream: one in which love and civic responsibility fuel philanthropic giving, and one in which neighbors depend on one another, not the government, to achieve their ends. Drawing from her experience as the president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Rollins shared with donors the unique position states are in to be fonts of policy and policymaking. America is, she said, “a nation of citizens, not subjects.” Watch the full session here.


Brooke Rollins 
Photography by: LILA PHOTO

A Festivus Miracle: Getting Beyond the Airing of Grievances

Festivus came early this year! We celebrated the Seinfeld faux-holiday with the traditional Airing of Grievances. Gathered around the Festivus pole, foundations shared their frustrations with their grantees and nonprofit leaders admitting their gripes with their foundation counterparts. Then, we presented the Feats of Strength as we wrestled with the hurdles on the road to healthy partnerships. Attendees joined this conversation about overcoming obstacles to ensure the philanthropic relationship is rewarding and change-producing for grantor and grantee alike. Listen to the audio here.


Left to right: Peter Bird, Linda Childears, Peter Lipsett, Melissa Mann, Ann C. Fitzgerald
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


Reception and Dinner: Kristen Soltis Anderson

Attendees heard from Kristen Soltis Anderson on how philanthropists can shape the rising generation of voters and achieve common ground with young Americans. A pollster, political analyst, and author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), Anderson briefly shared her insights on what young voters are thinking today and what that means for the future of political parties, and America as a whole. Watch her presentation here.


Kristen Soltis Anderson
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


Where Have All the Givers Gone?

The percentage of Americans who give to charity has fallen by nearly 11 percentage points since the early 2000s, according to data from Indiana University’s Philanthropy Panel Study. The total dollar amount donated to charity has remained consistent over time, but the number of givers has decreased. Ryan Streeter of AEI, Una Osili of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Victoria Vrana of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation analyzed this data, summarized the dangers of this decline, and illustrated how philanthropists can help increase charitable giving at all income levels. Listen to the audio here.


Left to right: Mason Rummel, Una Osili, Ryan Streeter
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


Patriotic Philanthropy

David Rubenstein discussed his “patriotic philanthropy” and passion for preserving history as a matter of strengthening democracy. After signing the Giving Pledge and becoming an active philanthropist, Rubenstein purchased a copy of the Magna Carta that he would permanently loan to the National Archives. He described this opportunity as a moment of serendipity that ultimately became his entry into patriotic philanthropy. His efforts since have included donations to George Washington's Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, the Lincoln Memorial, and the repair of the Washington Monument. Check out this short clip of Rubenstein humorously retelling the story of purchasing the Magna Carta and his theory fueling his philanthropy. The full recap can be found here.



2018 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership

“I think the way that all philanthropists start is by writing out a check. The path I took from there led me to expand beyond writing out checks to identifying a gap, and if a group addressing that gap doesn’t currently exist, then constructing something new.”

-Paul E. Singer, 2018 Simon Prize recipient

Philanthropist and businessman Paul E. Singer was presented with the 2018 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, highlighting the power of philanthropy to promote positive change and achieve genuine results. In a discussion with 2010 Simon Prize winner Roger Hertog, Singer detailed the creation of Start-Up Nation Central in Israel, one of his most significant philanthropic initiatives. It is based on the premise that functional markets and an innovative economy have been the path to Israel’s prosperity. He has also been an important donor in developing Heterodox Academy, a coalition of professors and graduate students committed to increasing viewpoint diversity on college campuses.

Paul E. Singer_Simon Prize 18

Roger Hertog (left) interviews Paul E. Singer (right)
Photography by: LILA PHOTO


More event recaps by topic:

K-12 Education

Economic Opportunity

Public Policy

Civic Education




7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
12:00 - 1:20 p.m.
Buffet Luncheon
1:30 - 1:40 p.m.
Welcome and Opening Comments

Adam Meyerson, President, The Philanthropy Roundtable

1:40 - 2:05 p.m.
Opening Plenary Session

How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy

2:05 - 3:05 p.m.
Two-part Plenary

Forging Philanthropic Partnerships: Conversations with Rebecca Rimel and Brian Hooks

3:10 - 3:40 p.m.
Talkback Sessions
3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Evening Reception
7:00 - 8:45 p.m.

What Washington Can Learn from the States

6:00 - 7:00 a.m.
Workout with InnerCity Weightlifting
7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
7:30 - 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast Buffet
8:45 - 9:00 a.m.
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Morning Plenary Session

The Future of Work in an Age of Artificial Intelligence

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Networking Break
10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions
12:00 - 1:45 p.m.
Presentation of William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
3:15 - 3:45 p.m.
Networking Break
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.
Special Sessions
4:45 - 6:00 p.m.
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Reception and Dinner
8:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Evening Salons
7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
7:45 - 8:45 a.m.
Breakfast Roundtable Discussions
8:45 - 9:00 a.m.
9:00 - 10:20 a.m.
Morning Plenary
10:20 - 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
12:15 - 2:00 p.m.
Closing Luncheon

Patriotic Philanthropy: A Conversation with David Rubenstein

2:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Annual Meeting programming concludes

2:15 - 8:30 p.m.
Mental Health Forum


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg Senior Editor National Review

Brian Hooks

Brian Hooks President Charles Koch Foundation

Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee Co-founder and Co-director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and Principal Research Scientist MIT Sloan School of Management

Rebecca Rimel

Rebecca Rimel President and CEO The Pew Charitable Trusts

Brooke Rollins

Brooke Rollins Assistant to the President, Office of American Innovation The White House

David Rubenstein

David Rubenstein Co-founder and Co-executive Chairman The Carlyle Group


Event Newsroom

Facts, Infographics, Social Media Resources

2018 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership

Paul Singer is the 2018 William E. Simon Prize recipient.


Reimagining Mental Health and Wellness
The network of facilities and providers delivering mental health care is fragmented, underfunded, and regularly fails in its mission to heal and protect. In this forum, expert philanthropists and practitioners addressed philanthropic models to bring to life a vision of mental wellness for everyone.


The Philanthropy Roundtable extends its most sincere thanks to the following sponsors for their generous support of our 2018 Annual Meeting:


Challenge Grant Sponsors: 


New-Berger-Logo (002)


Enroth Family Fund
GMF 2016 Logo (002)


KF_logo-stacked (2)


 Triadlogoname (1)



The Ahmanson Foundation

Barney Family Foundation

Beazley Foundation

Hilda E. Bretzlaff Foundation


Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Thomas S. Kenan III

Shelter Hill Foundation

Sunderland Foundation


Challenge Grant Sponsors

In 2018, the Roundtable is the recipient of a generous and exciting challenge grant from the JF Maddox Foundation. We were challenged to find at least four other funders to sponsor this year’s Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida at the $30,000 level or above.

Here’s what Bob Reid, CEO of the JF Maddox Foundation, said about this exciting challenge:

“The Philanthropy Roundtable’s Annual Meeting is a significant and highly informative event for foundations and private philanthropists. The Roundtable’s Annual Meeting meaningfully informs our work year after year, and allows us to stay on top of developments that are immediately impacting our field.

The Roundtable consistently performs on the behalf of the field, and their Annual Meeting is just one of the many services they provide on top of an already impressive book of work.

To maintain the existing standard of excellence in content and programming, we must ensure that the Roundtable has the necessary resources specific to this meeting. We urge you to join us in supporting this immensely worthwhile event.”


For more information on how you can help, please contact Cecilia Diem at cdiem@PhilanthropyRoundtable.org.