This past Friday, over 300 nonprofit and foundation representatives gathered in the Omni Hotel in New Haven to attend one of the only entirely student-run philanthropy conferences in the country. Attendees of the Yale Philanthropy Conference spent the day discussing the history of philanthropy and how it can be applied to future ventures.
The conference, hosted by the School of Management, annually brings together leaders from across the philanthropic world. This year, the event took place under the leadership of co-chairs Patrick Briaud SOM ’14, Lisa Nussbaum SOM ’14 and Theresa Wilson SOM ’15 GRD ’15, who began organizing the event last spring.
“We were looking to get together a diverse group of individuals who are interested in philanthropy and give them an opportunity to network and learn about new trends in the field,” Nussbaum said.
The conference’s keynote speech was given by newly inducted Kellogg Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer La June Montgomery Tabron. Before her promotion to the position earlier this year, Tabron served as Kellogg’s treasurer and executive vice president of operations.
The conference also featured a selection of panels from which guests could choose, spanning from “Leveraging New Business Models” to “Engaging Millennials.” According to Maryrose Myrtetus SOM ’15, who joined the conference’s planning committee this fall, the event’s coordinators took care to choose moderators who would be especially fitting for each panel. The “Collaboration in a Time of Crisis” panel, for example, was moderated by Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a firm specializing in charitable crisis response.
The conference featured four elective panels within two time slots and one larger mandatory panel.
According to Wilson, the conference’s theme, “Rooted in History, Growing with Purpose,” was the first aspect of the day she and her co-chairs planned. The theme of history and future growth focused the dialogue of the conference, she added.
“We wanted to encapsulate the fact that when you’re rooted in history you can understand the context of where you are and you can use that to help you move forward into the future,” she said.
The first Yale Philanthropy Conference was held in 2006. According to organizers, this weekend saw the first sold-out conference since its inception. Of the attendees, 80 percent were professionals in nonprofit fields and 20 percent were students and other academics.
Two hundred and six organizations were represented in last year’s conference. Organizers said they have not yet totaled this year’s numbers from over the weekend.