President’s MessageSusan Head Shot

Hello ABFE Members and Supporters!

We are pleased that so many of you were able to join us in Chicago April 4-7th for our 2013 Annual Conference. In this edition of ABFE News and Updates, we share a few highlights of our time.

This year’s conference theme, Innovation +Investment=Impact, was not about a call for new ideas to support our community.  Rather, it was a call for new ways of working in the philanthropic sector to advance our collective agenda and our sessions provided participants with many ideas. One example was perfectly illustrated in our Opening Plenary, Comprehensive Community Development in a Time of Need, led in part by Aurie Pennick (Field Foundation), Trabian Shorters (Knight Foundation) and Leon Caldwell (Annie E. Casey Foundation). This session reminded us that a path forward to address the issues we face in our community lies in the strength and contributions of our community. Namely that investments that build on collective responsibility, self help and cultural pride, along with those that address the systemic exclusion of Black people and communities of color from opportunity and advantage, are good investments to make. Again, these aren’t new ideas – but how foundations invest in them requires new thinking.  In this issue are highlights from other sessions on the notions of philanthropic innovation.

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ABFE’s President and Board of Directors

ABFE Board of Directors Picture - Conference HighlightsOver 225 leaders – presidents, trustees, program officers, donors, practitioners and academics – joined ABFE at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, April 4-7 to share a collective vision for pathways to success and improved outcomes in Black communities. ABFE produced its 2013 and perhaps most ambitious annual conference. ABFE partnered with Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP) to organize a series of lectures, summits and professional development institutes designed to equip attendees with research, strategies and frameworks for being more effective advocates for Black communities.

The four-day event kicked off during the evening of April 4th with the Handy Lindsey Award & Lecture on Inclusiveness, offered by the lecture’s namesake Handy Lindsey. Handy underscored how there has been progress within the field of philanthropy in numerous areas of diversity, but cautioned that “diversity in philanthropy is necessary but singularly insufficient to achieve equity!”

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Comprehensive Community Development in a Time of Need

The opening plenary on Saturday, April 6th was moderated by Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO of ABFE, and featured: Leon Caldwell of The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Aurie Pennick of the Field Foundation; Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project; Lynne Todman of Alder Education; Trabian Shorters of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation; and Shaka Senghor of the Live in Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project.

Leading with questions designed to inform how philanthropy might implement new comprehensive community development strategies that are built on promising models, Susan Batten, ABFE’s President and CEO, offered, “It is time to begin employing what ‘evidence-based practice’ works for the Black community: community development activities that build on the values of Black collective responsibility, self-help and cultural pride combined with resources to ensure equity and fairness.”

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