GEO's 2018 National Conference Logo
Two 2018 National Conference speakers at a breakout session

2018 National Conference

Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy California, the 2018 National Conference provided participants with information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

Event Details

We rely on our peers for fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about tough challenges. That’s why GEO’s 2018 National Conference was the perfect opportunity for grantmakers of all backgrounds to come together, explore the most relevant topics in the field and problem solve with like-minded peers.

Start: Monday, April 30, 8:00 AM Pacific

End: Wednesday, May 2, 2:30 PM Pacific

Our Regional Partner


Philanthropy California is an initiative of Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), San Diego Grantmakers (SDG), and Southern California Grantmakers (SCG).

Learn more about Philanthropy California
Philanthropy California Logo
2018 National Conference participants

Participant Roster

The GEO community came together in San Francisco to learn with and from each other.

See who participated
2018 National Conference Graphic Recording Wall. Favorite GEO memories and hopes for the future.

20th Anniversary

In 2018, the GEO community celebrates 20 years of making meaningful progress together. During the conference, participants visited a graphic recording wall to offer their favorite GEO memories and hopes and aspirations for the future.

View the graphic recording

Program Highlights

The 2018 National Conference pushed participants to think critically about changes they can make to their work to advance smarter grantmaking practices. The conference program featured a mix of session formats, structured networking and time for informal conversations with peers including:

  • Pre-Conference Workshops: These two-hour workshops offered a deeper dive into topics related to equity and evaluation practice, creating a culture focused on equity, crisis management for funders and getting to know the GEO community.
  • Breakout Sessions: Participants chose from 38 breakout sessions, designed by members of the GEO community, covering topics such as equity; culture; organizational change; capacity building; collaboration; flexible and reliable funding; learning and evaluation; and strengthening relationships.
  • Plenary Sessions: Participants heard from grantmaker and nonprofit speakers on topics related to the importance of being in relationship with community, the necessity of racial equity in effective grantmaking and how we can come together around our shared vision for the future.
  • Short Talks: These energizing, succinct, 20-minute keynote style sessions offered fresh perspectives from thought leaders within and outside philanthropy.
  • Site Visits: Through optional nonprofit site visits, participants explored the vibrancy of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors of San Francisco.

Scroll down to see session titles, descriptions and resources listed in chronological order, or click here to view the printed conference program.

Session Videos

Watch what happened at the conference plenaries and Short Talks

Get a taste of the conference and, especially if you were a participant, consider sharing these videos with your colleagues to continue the conversation.

Watch videos

Spark a conversation!

GEO Member Exclusive: Whether you were able to attend the conference or not, these discussion guides were created to help you spark a conversation at your organization and in your community. Use them as you follow along with the conference videos!

Media & Blogs

A number of participants shared what they took away from the 2018 National Conference online — including as part of a partnership with Social Velocity.

GEO's 2018 National Conference Logo

Event Photos

We've collected a handful of photos of all the great sessions and happenings at the 2018 National Conference. Check them out to get a sense of the action!

See them here


Conference Planning Committee

  • Grace Hou, Woods Fund Chicago (co-chair)
  • Stacy Van Gorp, R. J. McElroy Trust (co-chair)
  • Gillian Darlow, Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Erika Seth Davies, formerly of Baltimore Community Foundation
  • Christina Garcia, Consultant; formerly of The James Irvine Foundation
  • Neel Hajra, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Curtis Holloman, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg
  • Hanh Le, Weissberg Foundation
  • Daniela Pineda, First 5 LA
  • Phuong Quach, Northern California Grantmakers
  • Chera Reid, The Kresge Foundation
  • Jacqueline Erickson Russell, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Gage Weekes, Hollingsworth Funds, Inc.
  • Tim Wilmot, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
  • Hanh Cao Yu, The California Endowment

Conference Host Committee

  • Judy Belk, The California Wellness Foundation (co-chair)
  • Carol Larson, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (co-chair)
  • Berit Ashla, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Carrie Avery, The Durfee Foundation
  • Kara Carter, California Health Care Foundation
  • Jody Chang, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
  • Nicky Conroy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Pamela David, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
  • Karie Dewan, Stupski Foundation
  • Dinah Dittman, Kaiser Permanente
  • Christine Elbel, Fleishhacker Foundation
  • Deanna Gomby, Heising-Simons Foundation
  • Kendall Guthrie, College Futures Foundation
  • James Head, East Bay Community Foundation
  • Britanny Imwalle, Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Surina Khan, The Women’s Foundation of California
  • Barbara Kibbe, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • Larry Kramer, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Ellen LaPointe, Northern California Grantmakers
  • Daniel Lee, Levi Strauss Foundation
  • Allison Magee, Zellerbach Family Foundation
  • Ash McNeely, Sand Hill Foundation
  • Dawne Bear Novicoff, Jim Joseph Foundation
  • Diane Parnes, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
  • Jennifer Rainin, Kenneth Rainin Foundation
  • Carolyn Wall Sakata, Sunlight Giving
  • Lateefah Simon, Akonadi Foundation
  • Alex Sloan, Tides
  • Claire Solot, Bigglesworth Family Foundation
  • Bob Uyeki, Y & H Soda Foundation
  • Jennie Lehua Watson, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
  • Rick Williams, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Nancy Wiltsek, van Loben Sels/RembeRock Foundation


Additional Supporters

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