October 27 - October 29, 2019

Please join your community foundation colleagues in Wichita, Kansas for the 2019 Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations.

The dynamic Conference is an outgrowth of those convened by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations over the last twelve years, which has gained national recognition and attendance. It is tailored but not limited to small-staffed and volunteer-led community foundations in rural, small urban, and suburban America. It is designed to meet the needs of both new and seasoned board members and staff in practical training to enhance skills in all major areas of community foundation management. We welcome all board members and other volunteers, executive directors and other staff of community foundations from the USA and beyond.

The Conference brings the West and the East, the North and the South to the center of the country to network, learn and share experiences with others just as passionate about community foundations. This year’s theme is “Putting the Unity in Community”. Everyone has heard, and probably used, the often-repeated phrase “When you’ve seen one community foundation, you’ve seen one community foundation.” While that may be true, it is also true that community foundations are very much alike in their missions and structure. The country is more divided than ever - people are segregating along the lines of class, race, zip code, education, political party affiliation, generation, etc. What unites us is greater than what separates us - both as a nation and as a field of practitioners engaged in community leadership. Now, more than ever, we need to come together to support and grow our communities. The local community foundation is well-primed for providing the leadership to galvanize the citizenry around local issues that affect the health and well-being of a town, city or state. As a field, isn’t it time we started looking at ourselves as very similar in our work and mission?

Allowing for regional differences, asset size and staffing, there are many areas in which we are united as a field—National Standards; Public Policy and Advocacy; Equity, Race and Inclusion; Community Leadership; Asset Development and Sustainability; Economic Development; and Collective Impact. Common themes and threads are discussed and debated at the Conference. What emerges for attendees is a rich tapestry of ideas, trends and work plans which can be implemented in towns and cities across the nation. Most importantly, community foundation practitioners have a shared experience and a network of friends, peers and colleagues who are equally dedicated to improving their communities in similar fashions.

This year’s theme will frame three days of over 30 concurrent sessions, six ideas labs, three plenaries, and 12 retreats on topics related to: asset development, legal aspects, governance, marketing, finance and operations, programs, public policy and advocacy, and leadership.

The Conference developed rural, fundamental and intermediate/advanced tracks to fit diverse learning needs of the attendees and provide a powerful platform for the exchange of knowledge and practical solutions. Best practices, and know-how are shared to help increase a foundation’s capacities and impact in the community.

This year features free (with Conference registration) pre-Conference retreats on Sunday afternoon, October 27 and on Monday morning, October 28 for Board Members, CEOs, Program officers, Marketing Staff, Finance and Operations Staff, as well as a retreat on Community Foundation Basics (parts 1 and 2), and retreats on specific fields of interest such as Impact Investment and Legal (check Conference Agenda and “At a Glance” for details).

2019 continues offering a session by assets size bringing topics pertinent to each group and providing an opportunity to learn and network with those who are “in the same boat”.

Plan to register early as space is limited. Last year, over 400 people attended the Conference from 37 states, DC and Bermuda, representing 178 community foundations. We are expecting up to 480 attendees in 2019.

Don’t keep this conference a secret. Please share it with others who might benefit from this opportunity designed by the National Advisory Group comprised of community foundation practitioners in the United States.