2019 SDG Annual Conference

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2019 Annual Conference

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
8:00am - 6:00pm PDT
University of San Diego, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110
$250.00 - Members $350.00 - Non-Member Funders
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The Power in Philanthropy - San Diego Grantmakers Annual Conference


Our ability to change the world begins with the power we wield every day, in our work, in our relationships, through the resources we command and our organizational partnerships. Understanding that power – whether it is formal or informal, individual or collective, real or perceived - is key to unleashing it for the greatest possible benefit for our region and the world.

Join San Diego Grantmakers on a day-long journey to examine and re-envision the Power in Philanthropy. Learn about the evolving nature of power, the sources of your individual power, and ultimately how our organizations and sector can, grow it, share it and more effectively harness power for more impactful philanthropy and a better future for San Diego.

This interactive day will challenge us to confront the ways unconscious bias and practices of exclusion result in our leaving power and influence on the table; how a lack of awareness of power dynamics may result in harm to the communities we aim to serve; the unique ways power ‘shows up’ within an organization and depending on the seat you occupy; and the responsibility we bear - as individuals, organizations and collective philanthropy - to use power to tackle our most pressing challenges.


$250 for members | $350 for non-members

*This conference is designed for staff, trustees, and donors of philanthropic organizations, individual philanthropists, investors, and other invited guests as appropriate. All event registrations are reviewed to determine eligibility. We respectfully request that attendees refrain from engaging in fundraising and other development activities at all SDG events.

If you have any questions about registration, please contact Melissa Leon at [email protected].

Thank you to our sponsors














Capdevilla Gillespie Foundation

The Oak Tree

Philanthropic Foundation


Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact Justin Schaberg at justin[at]sdgrantmakers.org or 858-875-3333.

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8:00 AM - Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:45 AM - Powering Up – Opening and Welcome
We will start off our day with an introduction of our new CEO Debbie McKeon and remarks on the future of San Diego Grantmakers.

9:45 AM - The Power in Philanthropy
What could we really accomplish and do differently by harnessing our power? How can we seize on - not shrink from -  the evolving nature of power? How do we use our influence and command of resources to grow, wield and share power, in new and profound ways, across people and places.  With a keen focus on National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy’s Power Moves, our opening plenary session will launch our day-long examination of the power in philanthropy.

  • Aaron Dorfman, President & CEO, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
  • James Head, President & CEO, East Bay Community Foundation
  • Jackie VanderBrug, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investment Strategy, Bank of America
  • Moderator: Nelli Garton, Board Member, San Diego Grantmakers

10:45 AM - Break

11:00 AM - Real-Time Consulting
Let’s harness the collective knowledge and experience we bring to our work. Dive into real-world challenges you and your organization are grappling with today. Real-time Consulting gives you the opportunity to practice the art of work-shopping together to unpack issues and receive expert advice that can be applied to your work right away! Dialogue with colleagues from across the philanthropy sector to craft solutions and come away with helpful insights, useful connections, and actionable ideas.

12:00 PM - Lunch and Leadership Conversation on Equity
A thought provoking conversation on what it means to use the full power of philanthropy for building the power of community

  • Tonya Allen, President & CEO, The Skillman Foundation
  • Debbie McKeon, President & CEO, San Diego Grantmakers
  • john a. powell, Director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Power Breakout Sessions
Led by national and local experts, our breakout sessions will highlight local success stories and strategies for building, wielding and sharing power.

Diving into Power Moves

Wield It, Build It, Share It

Invest It

Vision for a Better California

3:00 PM - Break

3:15 PM - Closing Plenary: New Power in Philanthropy 
Young, dynamic, and diverse talent is future of philanthropy and millennials are the most diverse generation this country has ever seen. These are the voices that must be empowered to lead, today. Our day ends with a good dose of hope for the future and a dash of truth to power.

  • Paloma Aguirre, Coastal and Marine Director, WILDCOAST and Imperial Beach City Councilmember

  • Dominique Navarro, Co-Chair, Latina Giving Circle of San Diego

  • Samuel Tsoi, Assistant Director, 21st Century China Center, UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy

  • Moderator: Adriana Loson-Ceballos, Director of Network Resources, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

5:00 PM - Reception | Come out and end the day by celebrating the power of the network!

Paloma Aguirre


Tonya Allen

The Skillman Foundation

Cat Berman


Aaron Dorfman

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Nelli Garton


James Head

East Bay Community Foundation

Adriana Loson-Ceballos

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

Debbie McKeon

San Diego Grantmakers

Dominique Navarro

Latina Giving Circle of San Diego

john a. powell

Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Samuel Tsoi

Welcoming San Diego

Jackie VanderBrug

Bank of America

Monday, June 3, 2019
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Bay City Brewing Co
3760 Hancock St, San Diego, CA 92110
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Back by popular demand, we're kicking off our Annual Conference with a fun reception! Join us at Bay City Brewing - a well-loved local brewery that blends "friendly coastal vibes" with a wide range of flavors and profiles to please every hops aficionado. Enjoy an evening of drinks, tasty bites, and the dynamic company of your fellow members, grantees and infrastructure partners.

One of the greatest benefits of attending the pre-reception is building your personal and professional network. Stop by to meet some of our conference speakers and network with the change-makers you need to know before the big day. You will also be among the first to welcome Debbie McKeon, San Diego Grantmakers’ new President and CEO, to the community!

This is a time for you, our SDG members, and your nonprofit partners to mix and mingle without an agenda and to strengthen relationships in our sector. We encourage members to invite guests from nonprofits that would benefit from the exposure to the broader field of philanthropy.

We respectfully request that participants refrain from engaging in fundraising and other development activities.

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