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Breaking Through Barriers: Forging a Path to Philanthropic Success in the South
Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 10:00 AM to Thursday, September 27, 2018, 2:00 PM EST
Category: Events


Including a Review of the Groundbreaking Report
Philanthropy as the South’s Passing Gear: Fulfilling the Promise

Featuring MDC President David Dodson

Economic inequality and racism lie at the root of an erosion that is creating cultural chaos in America. The moment demands that philanthropy take brave steps to address these intertwined concerns if we have any hope of shaping the destiny of this region and our country.

In no other place are these issues more prevalent than the American South – a fast-growing region that has seen significant progress yet is wrought with stubborn, debilitating disparities; the South is better off than it was 50 years ago, but not nearly good enough for the 21st century. 

Racism – in the forms of housing segregation, employment discrimination, political exclusion, enforced social norms and other practices – has left a stain in communities throughout the country. Its impact is most visible in the South, where the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow still loom large. Events in Charleston and Charlottesville highlight why we can no longer wait and are key examples of our ongoing need for conversations on race.

Today, we need to find a way to bridge conversations with voices from across the country and reconcile how philanthropy might come together to support a region with high concentrations of people still suffering from the past and current realities of this history.

National funders were among the earliest backers and allies of the fight for racial equality in the 20th century. Today, that work continues and has been joined by Southern philanthropy introducing innovative approaches that go beyond grant dollars to address the root causes of systemic issues.

But to truly unleash the South’s potential, we believe that local, regional and national funders must come together to build stronger relationships, understand one another, and work together as partners – this process is long overdue, but must begin now. 

The Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) invites you to make plans to join us September 26-27 in Atlanta for Breaking Through Barriers: Forging a Path to Philanthropic Success in the South. Over two days, you will learn about the state of this region and what makes it unique while connecting you with leaders of Southern foundations eager to amplify their impact.

Join us in Atlanta and you’ll hear from Janine Lee, president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and David Dodsonpresident of MDC, an organization with 50 years of experience focusing on expanding equity and opportunity in the South. Mr. Dodson will review the findings of last year’s groundbreaking State of the South report commissioned by SECF. The SECF Board of Trustees – representing a variety of funders across the region – will also be on hand. 

You and others in attendance will also explore the challenges facing philanthropy in the region, how to overcome barriers to progress, and identify opportunities for partnership and success though a facilitated conversation led by Milano Harden, one of the region’s leading experts in strategy, philanthropic leadership, diversity and inclusion.

Our learning and connections will be inspired by our venue, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, where stories of courage and struggle empower people to take the protection of every human’s rights personally. You will have a chance to tour the Center and take in its moving exhibits.

How Do I Sign Up?

Registration for Breaking Through Barriers: Forging a Path to Philanthropic Success in the South is now open just click the button below to get started. We’ve also secured a limited block of rooms at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, which will put you only a short walk away from the Center.

Event Details

When: September 26–27, 2018

Schedule Overview: Attendees have the option of sitting in on a meeting of the SECF Board of Trustees beginning at 10:00am on Wednesday, September 26. Lunch will be provided at noon, with a presentation from David Dodson beginning afterward. A reception and dinner will be offered that evening. The second day of programming will begin at 8:30am with breakfast and conclude around 2:00pm. A more detailed schedule will be provided soon!

Where: Both days of the event, including a reception and meals, will take place at the Center for Civil and Human Rights (100 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30313).

Hotel: SECF has secured a limited block of rooms at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, a 10-minute walk from the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Click the button above, or use this link, to book your room at a special discounted rate.

If rooms are no longer available at the Omni, or you prefer to stay elsewhere, several nearby hotels offer special rates for those attending programs at the Center for Civil and Human Rights – mention this rate when booking your room at the following hotels:  

If you have questions about this event, please contact Stephen Sherman
at (404) 524-0911 or [email protected]

Statement of Intent: The Southeastern Council of Foundations strives to support Members and grantmakers with access to education, resources and networking by serving as a convener and facilitator, offering a diverse range of voices and perspectives. We do not endorse colleague organization views, but rather aim to provide access to a broad range of information and resources to increase grantmaking impact and develop philanthropic leaders throughout the region.


Contact: [email protected]