WRAG's CEO Coffee and Conversation series is the only venue for gathering philanthropic leaders that facilitates honest conversation, problem solving, idea generation, resource maximization and provides a comfort zone for peace of mind.”

Carol Thompson Cole, CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners

Coffee and Conversation

Whether it's a foundation with a large staff and big grantmaking budget or a small family fund with limited resources, leading a philanthropic organization poses a unique set of challenges. In 2013, WRAG launched Coffee and Conversation, a regular gathering of member CEOs. The events are an opportunity for executives to hear from thought leaders, discuss rising trends, and have an opportunity to casually network with colleagues. To date, the series has included:

April 2017 - WAMU's Joshua Johnson and Andi McDaniel shared their vision for his show, "1A," and the ongoing need for "real" news.

March 2017 - Dan Cardinali, new head of Independent Sector, shared his vision for the organization and the future of the social sector.

April 2016 - Deborah Hoover, president of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and past chair of the Fund for Our Economic Future, spoke about why philanthropy in NE Ohio is building a strategic partnership with business leaders to grow a more equitable economy.

October 2015 - Chris Jenkins, assistant local editor of the Washington Post, spoke about the impact of racism in the Greater Washington region.

July 2015 - Bruce McNamer, new president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, introduced himself to the CEO community and shared his vision for the foundation.

March 2015 - Bob Buchanan of the 2030 Group discussed how philanthropy can work together with business to address the region's most pressing economic challenges. [Read more.]

January 2015 - Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation spoke about how her foundation attracted national foundations to invest in Arkansas, and the potential the foundation's strategy could hold for our region.

October 2014 - Nicky Goren, president of The Meyer Foundation, met with CEOs to discuss her vision for the foundation and its role in the community. And, CEOs and CFOs gathered to learn how provisions of the Affordable Care Act will impact them as small employers.

September 2014 - Peter Murray, of Accelerate Change, urged funders to consider "fast failure": radical experimentation that embraces risk and leads to rapid iteration of strategies.

June 2014 - Dr. Alan Abramson, of George Mason University, gave a preview of his forthcoming paper looking at why our region, despite its wealth, has a modest-size foundation sector. [Read more.]

May 2014 - Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable and Charity Case, discussed how philanthropy can improve and enhance the nonprofit sector. [Read more.]

April 2014 - Andy Burness and Lowell Dempsey of Burness Communications gave an overview of when foundations should engage on social media - and when they should not.

March 2014 - Dave Abbott, executive director of Cleveland's George Gund Foundation, explained why his foundation is part of an effort to launch a social impact bond in Cuyahoga County. [Read more.] 

March 2014 - Michael Smith, director of the Social Innovation Fund, discussed plans for the Fund. [Read more.]

November 2013 - Rosie Allen Herring, then-new CEO of the United Way of the National Capital Area, shared her vision for the organization and its role in our region.

July 2013 – Denise Keys, senior associate dean of Georgetown University’s Division of Professional Communication and founder and executive director of the university’s Center for Social Impact Communication, discussed grantmakers' use of social media.

April 2013 – Sterling Speirn, then-outgoing CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, discussed his foundation’s work on mission-related investing. [Read more.]

February 2013 – Vikki Spruill discussed her vision for the Council on Foundations as the then-new CEO. [Read more.]

January 2013 – Former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams discussed his vision for the Federal City Council as the then-new CEO. [Read more.]

For a list of upcomingCoffee and Conversation gatherings, visit WRAG's event calendar.  These events are open to any WRAG member CEO or equivalent.