One terrific benefit of working in the philanthropic sector is the opportunity to attend the Council on Foundations’ annual meeting. This major event invariably brings together significant thinkers who share their learning and insights with foundations, which are a key part of the social sector and arguably one of the most important leverage points. This year we will be in San Francisco.

I had the good fortune this year to be invited to play a role in the planning of this conference, serving as a member of the “Civil Society Working Group.” I have no idea how I ended up with this group of people, which includes some real leaders in the field, mentors, and people I have admired for years.

We were tasked with developing a series of breakout sessions that focused on how civil society can more productively work and be supported by philanthropy.

I’m particularly excited to be moderating one of the sessions:

Philanthropy’s Role in Free Speech, Press, and Religion

2015-annual-civil-iconThe recent Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris reminded us across the globe of the democratic values we enjoy and must protect in a civil society. In addition, these events remind us of the ongoing need for civil discourse that allows disparate ideologies to have voice. What is philanthropy’s role to ensure open speech, inclusion of ideological and religious differences, privacy, and the right to assemble?

Discussants on this topic will be:

  • Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice
  • Eboo Patel, founder and president, Interfaith Youth Core
  • Abdi Soltani, executive director of ACLU NorCal

If you are coming to the meeting, join me at 11:15 am on Sunday, April 26 for this session! We will be in the Yerba Buena Ballroom, Salon 1/2, Lower B2 Level.