Important Update on #GEO2024 National Conference Date and Location

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, December 12, 2023

Dear GEO Community,

We’re writing today with an important update regarding GEO’s 2024 National Conferences in Los Angeles. With the support of the conference host committee, program committee and the GEO board, we made the decision to cancel our contract with the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live in solidarity with the hotel workers. Our conference will now take place on May 20 – 22, 2024 at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles hotel workers, through Unite Here Local 11, are participating in a rolling strike and calling for a boycott of over 60 hotels. They are asking hotel management to include a $10/hour cost of living wage increase and for the creation of a hospitality workforce housing fund to ensure they can afford to live comfortably near their place of work. These stipulations are a response to the housing affordability crisis in Los Angeles. We have been in touch with Unite Here Local 11 and in collaboration with key stakeholders involved in the conference, we have decided to relocate our conference.

GEO’s National Conference seeks to contribute to our mission of transforming philanthropic culture and practice. The conference offers tools for grantmakers to improve relationships with grantees and find new ways to listen and be responsive to community needs. GEO’s mission and our commitment to communities extends to all – including the staff at our conference venue. We are inspired by their fight for better working conditions, and we support their efforts as we lean into our organizational values, mission and vision by practicing love and care for our communities.

Moving forward with an expensive cancellation process was not a decision that we took lightly. As a nonprofit philanthropic-serving organization, GEO works to be good stewards of the funds that we receive to support a more equitable philanthropic sector. The decision to cancel involved weighing large cancellation fees and rising conference expenses against our organizational values. Ultimately, we knew that hosting a conference filled with valuable content and connection for our community could not be done at a hotel involved in a labor dispute. We are grateful to the National Conference host and program committees, for their guidance in making this decision, as well as their financial contributions towards the change fees.

We stand with Unite Here Local 11 and ask that the JW Marriott LA Live and other Los Angeles hotels support hotel workers by entering into a just contract.

We look forward to seeing you at the Westin Bonaventure on May 20 – 22, 2024.

In solidarity,

Marcus Walton, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Christine Essel, Southern California Grantmakers
Joanna Jackson, Weingart Foundation, Conference Host Committee Co-Chair Charles Fields, The James Irvine Foundation, Conference Host Committee Co-Chair
Kara Carter, California Health Care Foundation, Conference Program Committee Co-Chair
Sakura Takano, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Conference Program Committee Co-Chair