Plenary Topics and Speakers

National Forum sessions feature leading voices in the field to discuss the pressing issues of our time and inspire action. View the full schedule for more information.

What We Know Now: The Changing Landscape from the CEO Perspective

What have we collectively learned from the past few years? What is at stake? Why now? What shifts have we made in practice and what shifts must we make going forward? This opening conversation among three leaders will reflect on the truths that have emerged from the past few years and all that remains to be done.

Confirmed speakers:


Donor Perspectives on Effective Family Philanthropy

Philanthropy is a complex pursuit that requires a commitment to ongoing learning and reflection. A growing number of donors are modeling changes in practices to promote meaningful outcomes. How are concepts and approaches such as trust-based philanthropy, pluralism, mission-aligned investing, and participatory grantmaking influencing the pace, practice, and purpose of philanthropic families? This wide-ranging discussion will explore the tenets of effective family philanthropy through the experience of leaders in the field.

Confirmed speakers:


Philanthropy through the Generations: The Sobrato Family

The Sobrato Organization is a multi-generational, family-owned firm that has played a dynamic role in Silicon Valley for nearly 70 years. This conversation with three generations of family members, moderated by the CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, will explore the lessons and experiences of this thoughtful family, with a special focus on how their commitments, partnerships, and approaches have evolved to meet changing times.

Confirmed speakers:


Effective Family Philanthropy: Collaborating for Lasting Change from the Nonprofit Perspective

What is the role of private philanthropy in supporting the health and resiliency of community, and what are effective strategies for doing so? How can donors and philanthropies work in true partnership with one another, and with the communities they serve, to achieve lasting and positive results? How do we move from investing to stop failure to investing for success? Join this provocative conversation led by Sam Cobbs and other leaders from the Tipping Point Community.

Confirmed speakers:

  • "The 2019 National Forum was a rich opportunity for family funders to learn, share, connect, and perhaps most importantly, question their own assumptions about giving and the potential of of philanthropy now and in the future."

  • "This was the most consistently substantive and interesting philanthropic conference I've attended, out of dozens in the past 20 years. Staff, sessions, attendees, attention to detail all were outstanding."
  • "We LOVE the Forum!!! Just keep doing what you always do--it is by far the best conference we attend."
  • "NCFP not only provided an opportunity to gain critical insight to effective grantmaking strategies but also a safe space for people to learn and share their experiences in a very warm and supportive 'family' environment!"