The Delaware Valley Grantmaker’s 2013 Sparking Solutions Conference kicked off last Thursday with the announcement of their new name — Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and tagline — Smarter giving. Greater Good.
“It was important to come up with this stronger brand,” said Executive Director Debra Kahn. “[It’s] a much better way to say who we are, where we are, what we work to achieve.”
This year’s conference differed from year’s past as it was not only the highest attendance but also more discussion and action-oriented than previous ones.
Stanford Thompson, CEO of Play On Philly!, opened the conference with a keynote on the positive impact music has on kids living in poverty. He was inspired by Jose Antonio Abreu’s approach called “El Sistema” for educating young children in the mastery of classical orchestral instruments to promotes social and educational development of executive functioning skills. An ensemble of children from Freire Middle School who are part of the Play On Philly! program performed a musical number to close out his remarks.
The conference then divided into five breakout sessions on different topics: hunger, health, youth safety, homelessness, and early childhood literacy. These sessions included expert speakers on the topics as well as discussions to determine next steps towards working for a solution in these areas.
Here’s a breakdown of some next steps that emerged from the sessions:
- Convene insurance companies and prove the business case for food access in a clear document
- Invest in supply chain logistics.
- Boost SNAP enrollment by identifing partners for a local task-force to research, report and implement.
- Create a tactical campaign to get enrollment information, financial information out to the community.
- Create a tactical campaign to gather and disseminate success stories about ACA
- Provide community centers with computers and navigators to help people enroll
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- Create a regional cross sector collation, outside of current government administrations, so it can live on
- Develop calendar of networking events to keep sector meeting on a regular basis
- Plug in both providers and funders into the Mayor’s work with Violence Prevention Collaborative
- Reframe advocacy as civic engagement and education
- Hold a homelessness/housing data hack-a-thon
- Use hotel vacancies to house homeless people
- Document homegrown solutions and export them to other parts of state
Early Childhood Literacy:
- Emphasize the importance of advocacy – not just supporting programs – to deal with systemic issues of state funding, performance standards, etc.
- Create new methods and strategies for teacher development and support, especially for those who are already in the classroom.
- Form partnerships between universities and school districts.
The conference wrapped up with a recap of all five breakout sessions and the second keynote speaker, Kathleen Enright of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. She spoke about three major principles which lead to successful collaboration in the funding community: Mission Above Ego, Trust, and Flexible Dollars.
Now that the conference is over, the Philanthropy Network is working on gathering all the information put together at the conference breakout groups as well as gathering reactions from participants via a survey.
“The early feedback and early returns that we’re getting are that the discussions were rich, and that people met people that they didn’t know who were working in similar spaces and that’s one of the big values of doing something like this,” Kahn said.
Check out our complete coverage of the Sparking Solutions Conference, including profiles on all five issues as well as Q&A’s from speakers here.
Generocity.org was the media partner for the Philanthropy Network’s Sparking Solutions Fall Conference.
Image via Mo Manklang-30-
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