Connecting Our Philanthropic Community – 2024 Boston Regional Gathering - Exponent Philanthropy
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Connecting Our Philanthropic Community – 2024 Boston Regional Gathering

I am writing this on the train back from spending an exhilarating few days with nearly 50 Exponent Philanthropy members, partners, and supporters across Greater Boston. Our second Regional Gathering of 2024 was an incredible experience full of connecting, learning, and sharing. It also reminded me that being together in person—even as many of us have grown accustomed to meeting virtually—is still where the magic happens.

As the largest philanthropic network in the country, with nearly 1,600 members representing every corner of the U.S., it’s important that we Exponent Philanthropy staff get to know you, your work, and the challenges and opportunities you and your communities are facing.

Our organization serves a unique role as both a national philanthropy network, while being locally rooted through the place-based work of our members from all types of communities across all fifty states. Regional gatherings give us this invaluable opportunity. They also support our efforts to foster a strong philanthropic network, highlight high-impact practices, and provide a robust arena for idea exchange and collaboration.

Debra Moniz, the director of administration and finance at the Cedar Tree Foundation and an Exponent board member and development committee chair, expertly facilitated the two-hour gathering where lean funders came from across the street to three hours away.

Some of the Themes We Discussed Included:

  • Continuing to employ practices initiated in the pandemic, such as simplifying grant applications and reports and making multiyear commitments
  • The growing excitement for funder collaborations, especially in addressing children and youth issues, community development, education, the environment, climate change, and nonprofit capacity building
  • Delving into strategies to engage all members of the community and partners who have not historically had a seat at the table
  • Centering racial equity, being more inclusive of those with various abilities, and connecting with rural funders who might not have the same access to philanthropic resources
  • Planning for the future by engaging new generations for the board and staff while continuing to honor the legacies of founders
  • Investing in the leadership, operational, and development capacity of nonprofits to be less focused on programs and more on organizational success overall
  • Supporting grassroots and early-stage organizations and causes

Funders Also Shared Challenges That Included:

  • The significant amount of board and staff turnover among their nonprofit partners and within the philanthropic community
  • Convening community members and partners to address issues that strengthen communities during times of conflict and divisiveness
  • Continuing to build trust with nonprofit partners and fellow funders as new leaders come onboard
  • An ever-evolving post-pandemic work environment with personal and professional challenges for staff and partners
  • Getting staff and board members to adopt new ways of thinking and working as community needs change

I would like to give special thanks and recognize our planning partners and co-hosts for all they did to help ensure the Boston Regional Gathering was such a big success. Thanks to:

  • Exponent Philanthropy Board Member and Development Committee Chair, Debra Moniz of the Cedar Tree Foundation
  • Susan Barry and her team at long-time partner, GMA Foundations
  • Mary Skelton Roberts, the brand new CEO of Philanthropy Massachusetts and her expert program team
  • Foley Hoag for providing us with a beautiful space

May your philanthropy have an outsized impact,


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About the Author

Paul DDaugherty is the CEO of Exponent Philanthropy.

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