About TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together


It’s a wrap! Thank you to our conference planning committee, sponsors, session designers, speakers and a multitude of others who helped make #TFN2021 a success. We will be sharing plenary and breakout recordings (unless otherwise noted) with attendees via email in the coming days. See you all at our 2022 Annual Conference in San Diego!


In these uncertain times, we are all doing our best to prioritize the wellbeing of those we care about and the communities we serve. For this reason, The Funders Network has decided to move our 2021 Annual Conference to an all-virtual format.

We hope you will mark your calendars for TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together, March 15 to 17.

It is precisely because we are in such uncertain waters that it is essential that we take the time to seek out the meaningful connections, strategies and inspirations that fuel and support your work as grantmakers.

While we had originally hoped to come together — in person — in New Orleans, we will nonetheless find ways to lift up and learn from this amazing and resilient community as part of our virtual conference.

We are also seeking ways to minimize the economic impact of this decision, and will be highlighting opportunities to support local New Orleans vendors, artists and community causes as part of our conference offerings. (Stay tuned for the debut of our Shop Here! Virtual Market, featuring an opportunity to order from NOLA-based small businesses.)

We are delighted to share that Carmen James Randolph, vice president for programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and Tené Traylor, fund advisor at The Kendeda Fund, will serve as co-chairs of TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference.

Carmen James Randolph

Tené Traylor

Read a Message from our #TFN2021 Conference Co-chairs

Stay tuned for more information on our sessions, speakers and other highlights. Please read on for more information about our conference theme and our efforts to center racial equity in our work.

#TFN2021 Planning Committee

We would like to offer our deepest appreciation the Conference Planning Committee for giving of their time, insight and expertise in order to create a conference experience that aligns with our shared commitment to center racial equity, amplify diverse voices, and encourage courageous and compassionate leadership in the philanthropic sector.

Carmen James RandolphGreater New Orleans Foundation (Co-chair)

Tené TraylorThe Kendeda Fund (Co-chair)

Ivye AllenFoundation for the Mid-South

Michael CoffeyCommunity Foundation of Greater Cincinnati (TFN Board Member &TFN PLACES Alum)

Ciara ColemanW.K. Kellogg Foundation (TFN PLACES Alum)

Erin CoryellMargaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Chandra FarleyPartnership for Southern Equity

Elizabeth Love, Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation (TFN Board Member)

Craig MartinezThe California Endowment (TFN Board Member, TFN PLACES Alum)

Eric MuschlerThe McKnight Foundation (TFN Board Member)

Takema RobinsonGreater New Orleans Funders Network

Pamela RussoRobert Wood Johnson Foundation

Kellie TerrySurdna Foundation (TFN Board Member)

Learn, Share & Work Together

TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together will create a virtual space for funders to explore the strategies and stories that are creating more equitable, sustainable, and resilient places to live — work that has taken on increased urgency as we face the dual challenges of a global pandemic and structural racism.

TFN’s mission is to leverage philanthropy’s unique potential to help create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous and just for all people. But we recognize that these goals cannot be achieved without first challenging and confronting the systemic imbalances in power, privilege and access to resources that disproportionately impact communities of color, specifically Black people, and create stark inequities that continue to harm racialized and marginalized people and places.

In keeping with our 2021 Virtual Conference theme — Rise Together — we’ve encouraged session ideas that are interdisciplinary, cross-cutting and grounded in racial equity.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be sharing more details about our conference offerings and learning agenda designed to lift up and explore some of the most urgent questions of the day:

How do we help communities address and overcome the impacts of the novel coronavirus in ways that are urgent and equitable?
How can we help dismantle the systemic racism that touches every aspect of our lives, including the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the places where we live, work and play?

And how do we use our privilege and power, as a sector and as individuals, to amplify calls for racial justice in ways that are meaningful, effective and authentic?

We hope you’ll join us as we learn together, work together — and hopefully rise together — to meet this extraordinary and unprecedented moment.

The City of Chicago recently received a Partners for Places grant to help transform schoolyards into green, engaging places to learn and play. TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together will explore the ways philanthropy can support more sustainable, prosperous and just communities for all people. Photo credit: Space to Grow


We hope you join us for TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together. Your registration fees help support the network’s over-arching mission to leverage philanthropy’s unique potential to help create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous, healthy and just for all people.

These fees also help us offset programmatic and operational costs incurred in the planning and production of virtual events, including honoraria for invited nonprofit speakers. Registration is open to donors, staff, directors, and trustees of all grantmaking institutions.


Members: $499
Non-members: $699

2020 PLACES Fellows

2020 PLACES Fellows: No charge


PLACES Alumni: $199

Speakers & Performers

We recognize that many organizations are facing challenges during these uncertain times. If cost is a barrier to participating in this event, please reach out to Maureen Lawless, Vice President & Director, Member Services, at maureen@fundersnetwork.org.


Plenary Speakers

Women of Color in the South: Power Building & Radical Imaginations

Monday, March 15 | 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. ET

Speakers (pictured left to right):
Chandra Farley, Just Energy Director, Partnership for Southern Equity

Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy

Jacqueline Thanh, Executive Director, VAYLA New Orleans

Gloria Walton, CEO, The Solutions Project  (Moderator)

The radical visions and practical solutions arising from communities facing relentless racial terror, compounding health and climate crises, and historic disinvestment offered key lessons to funders during 2020. Whether we begin with the undeniable urgency of COVID-19, police brutality, or economic and ecosystem collapse, we see the culture-led strategies from the South as potent examples of movement innovation across all challenges.

This session shares the visions and lessons of leaders deeply connected to intergenerational and intersectional movements across the South who know what’s possible for economic development, housing, climate resiliency, energy/food/water ecosystems, and our culture. This conversation is an invitation to show up in ways that transform scarcity into abundance, not only in the resources moved or practices held in philanthropy, but more broadly in our very culture of leadership.

Homecoming Project: Lift Every Voice

Monday, March 15 | 4 p.m. ET

TFN is honored to welcome New Orleans-based Junebug Productions’ Homecoming Project to share their work at our 2021 virtual conference.

The Homecoming Project is a community-based, storytelling performance series that aims to marry high-quality artistic practice with a commitment to maintaining the essential relationship between culture and progressive social change through engagement with New Orleans communities that have been historically oppressed and exploited.

Junebug is the organizational successor to the Free Southern Theater, founded in 1963, whose objective was to stimulate creative and reflective thought among African Americans in the rural South by bringing the theater to the people. The Homecoming Project honors that vision with performances that activate public spaces in the neighborhoods they are meant to reflect, making sure that they are accessible to all.

Rukia Lumumba,
Transformative Justice Strategist & Human Rights Activist

Tuesday, March 16 | 12:30 to 1: 15 p.m. ET

We are excited to share that Rukia Lumumba, executive director of the People’s Advocacy Institute and co-director of the Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project will join us as a plenary speaker for #TFN2021!

A transformative justice strategist and human rights activist, Rukia is the daughter of the late community justice icon Chokwe Lumumba, who served as mayor of Jackson, Miss., and Nubia Lumumba. Rukia continues the Lumumba family’s rich history of advancing issues and initiatives that elevate the legal, economic, health and educational rights of individuals, families and communities.

For more than 18 years, she has worked within and outside the system to foster justice for all, especially as it relates to criminal justice disparities for people of color. She has served as director of two of New York state’s largest criminal justice nonprofits, CASES (the Center for Alternatives Sentencing and Employment Services) and the Center for Community Alternatives, providing visionary leadership and building community and system partnerships to help break the prison pipeline.

During her leadership tenure, more than 4,200 youths received supportive community-based services including housing, education, job, and health and well-being services, in lieu of incarceration. She also served as co-chair of the Anti-Violence and Criminal Justice Working Group and steering committee member of the first Young Women’s Initiative in the United States dedicated to developing gender equitable policies in New York City, particularly for young women of color.

Rukia also served as campaign manager for her brother Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s successful 2017 run for mayor of Jackson, Miss., which made him the second Lumumba to hold that title.

Closing Plenary: Glenn Harris
President, Race Forward & Publisher, Colorlines

Wednesday, March 17 | 4:15 p.m. ET

We are  thrilled to have Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward and publisher of news site Colorlines, with us as our 2021 closing plenary speaker.

Race Forward catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and others, they build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

Race Forward united with the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) in 2017 — in part to address an urgent need to build a multiracial movement for racial justice, and out of recognition that the two racial justice organizations were stronger together.

The new Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all, which Harris helped found. Race Forward also publishes the daily news site Colorlines and produces Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast featuring stories and strategies for racial justice.

Harris has more than 25 years of experience working on issues of race and social justice, including as president of Center for Social Inclusion from 2014 until its union with Race Forward. Prior to the new Race Forward and CSI, Harris served as manager of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), whose mission is to end institutionalized racism in city government.

More #TFN2021 Highlights:

Centered in Racial Equity

We’ve designed sessions that are intersectional, cross-cutting and grounded in racial equity and speak to activism, collaboration and movement building. (Stay tuned for more updates on sessions and speakers.)

Critical Conversations

In this time of social distancing, it’s important for us to connect with compassion, humanity and understanding. TFN’s conference will offer Critical Conversations, an opportunity to have frank, open, peer-facilitated exchanges of ideas and experiences, and perhaps learn a little bit about each other in the process. Each session will be led by a facilitator with a deep personal or professional connection to the topic.

Critical Conversations @ #TFN2021:
COVID-19 & Racism

Facilitator: Jasmine N. Hall Ratliff, Deputy Director for Culture and Strategy, Keecha Harris and Associates

Monday, March 15 | 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. ET

Being Black in Philanthropy

Facilitators (Pictured above, L-R):

 Shawn Escoffery, Executive Director, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation; Member, TFN Board of Directors

Sheena Solomon, Executive Director, The Gifford Foundation), and TFN PLACES Alum

Marcus Walton, President & CEO, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Monday, March 15| 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. ET

Decolonizing Leadership

Facillitator: Bina M. Patel, CEO, Saathi Impact Consulting, and TFN PLACES Alum/Fellowship Facilitator

Wednesday, March 17 | 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Healing and Trauma

Facilitator: Dr. Denese Shervington, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tulane University School of Medicine and President and CEO, Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies

Wednesday, March 17 | 12:30 – 1:15 p.m. ET

Shop Here! Virtual Market

Shop Here! Virtual Market offers conference participants the opportunity to order directly from NOLA-based vendors, artisans, and social enterprises as a way to support these local vendors and minimize the economic impact of our inability to convene in New Orleans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rockefeller Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the Shop Here! Virtual Market.

Time to Connect & Reflect

TFN 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together will build in opportunities for self-care, socializing and reflection with an agenda that includes Artist Interludes, Movement Breaks and a Cook Here! Funder Social Hour featuring a cooking demo from a New Orleans chef and a chance to connect with other attendees.

Stay tuned for updates on our plenary speakers and other conference highlights!


Shop Here! Virtual Market

Presenting Sponsor The Rockefeller Foundation

While we had originally hoped to hold our 2021 conference in New Orleans, we want to nonetheless celebrate the people, cuisine and culture of this beautiful and resilient city. We also hope to minimize the economic impact of our decision to go virtual with an opportunity to support local New Orleans artists, entrepreneurs and other businesses. The Shop Here! Virtual Market offers conference participants the opportunity to order directly from NOLA-based vendors. Please note that the links below will take you to the vendor’s sales site; if you have any questions about products or orders, please reach out to that vendor directly. TFN is not involved in managing transactions and has not charged any vendors fees or other costs for participating in this virtual market. Our thanks to The Rockefeller Foundation for their generous support as the presenting sponsor of the Shop Here! Virtual Market.


TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together is our network’s signature annual event, one that brings together funders from across the sector to come together and explore the strategies and stories that are creating more equitable, sustainable, and resilient places to live — work that has taken on increased urgency as we face the dual challenges of a global pandemic and structural racism.

Your sponsorship helps support the network’s over-arching mission to leverage philanthropy’s unique potential to help create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous, healthy and just for all people. The generosity of our sponsors also helps us offset programmatic and operational costs incurred in the planning and production of virtual events, including honoraria for invited nonprofit speakers.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together, download our Sponsorship Packet here.