It’s not too late to register and join our virtual event exploring 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.

Take a look at just some of our featured highlights below, including our Federal Policy RoundtableFlash Talks, and Learning from Place: Storytelling through Film concurrent sessions.

And please visit our #TFN2021 webpage for more info on registration, sessions and speakers.

Federal Policy Roundtable

Wednesday, March 17 | 3:30 p.m. ET

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Join us for a Federal Policy Roundtable to explore the challenges and opportunities around issues such as water equity, climate crisis, economic recovery, mobility and transit justice, and Covid-related impacts.

What have we learned in the first few months of the Biden administration, and what role can funders play in a changed but nonetheless fraught political climate? What can agency senior leaders share about their key priorities?

We’ll delve into if and how racial equity will be embedded and prioritized, and how this work can move ahead in an intersectional, collaborative way within the executive agencies.


Christopher Coes, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation

Peggy Bailey, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Radhika Fox, Acting Assistant Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water

Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director, National Economic Council

Don Chen, President, Surdna Foundation (moderator)

Flash Talks

TFN’s virtual conference will feature four compelling Flash Talk speakers, who will share their stories and insights. Our #TFN2021 Flash Talk presenters are:

August Creppel, Chief, The United Houma Nation

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

We are honored to have Chief August Creppel of The United Houma Nation as our first Flash Talk presenter.

The United Houma Nation is composed of proud and independent people who have close ties to the water and land of their ancestors. This Indigenous tribe calls the lands now known as Louisiana home. Their tribal communities rely on interwoven bayous and canals to stay connected and earn a living, but the effects of coastal erosion have made those waterways nonexistent or impassable.

The United Houma Nation is grappling with the unique challenges of preserving and maintaining their way of life when the land is disappearing from underneath their feet.

Tamika L. Butler, Founder & Principal, Tamika L. Butler Consulting


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

As the principal and founder of Tamika L. Butler Consulting, Tamika focuses on shining a light on inequality, inequity, and social justice.

She draws from her wide-ranging and diverse background in law, community organizing and nonprofit leadership to challenge and inspire organizations and individuals to fight those inequities and injustices.

Her work has included serving as executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and most recently as both a director of planning and the director of equity and inclusion at Toole Design.

Sunni Patterson, New Orleans Poet

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Tuesday, March 16 | 3 p.m. ET

Sunni Patterson combines the heritage of her native New Orleans with an enlightened modern style to create her music and poetry.

She began her career as a full-time high school teacher, and much of her life since has been devoted to serving as a cultural worker and grassroots activist, using art and poetry to encourage dialogue and healing.

She has been a featured performer at many of the nation’s premier spoken-word venues, including HBO’s Def Poetry and BET’s Lyric Cafe.

(Sunni Patterson is also the subject of our Learning from Place: Artist in Exile film session on Tuesday, March 16 at 3:15 p.m. ET.; scroll down for more details.)

Dr. Denese Shervington, Professor, Psychiatrist & Mental Health Advocate

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Denese Shervington, MD, MPH, is a chairperson and professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the president of the Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies.

She has an intersectional career in public health, clinical, and academic psychiatry.

After Hurricane Katrina, she created a post-disaster emotional recovery and resilience division at the community-based non-profit public health organization that she founded, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies.

Her Flash Talk will center healing in our ongoing conversations about collective trauma.

(Dr. Denese Shervington will also facilitate a Critical Conversation on Wednesday, March 17 at 1:15 p.m. ET; scroll down for more details.)

Learning from Place: Storytelling through Film

We have a long tradition at our TFN conferences of lifting up the power of storytelling to transform narratives and drive change.

For our virtual conference, we’ll present three concurrent Learning from Place sessions, each featuring a short film (or film clip) and a conversation with funders and filmmakers.

All Learning from Place sessions take place Tuesday, March 16 at 3:15 p.m. ET.

Learning from Place: Hollow Tree

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Watch and discuss a segment of Hollow Tree, a feature-length documentary-in-progress about three young women who spend a year exploring the history of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. For the first time, they notice the river’s engineering, stumps of cypress trees, and billowing smokestacks. Their different perspectives weave together a new story about climate change and how they fit into it.


Kira Akerman, Film Director, Hollow Tree

Tanielma Da Costa, Film Protagonist, Hollow Tree

Diane Ives, Fund Advisor, The Kendeda Fund (moderator)

Learning from Place: Artist in Exile

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Join us for the short film Artist in Exile, which merges documentary and poetry as it follows poet Sunni Patterson’s return to New Orleans 12 years after Hurricane Katrina. Patterson, who is also presenting a Flash Talk at TFN’s 2021 Virtual Conference, comes from a long line of ancestors who have called New Orleans home for hundreds of years.


Sunni Patterson, Poet, Performer

Kiyoko McCrae, Director, Artist in Exile;
Director of Documentary Programming and Filmmaker Labs
New Orleans Film Society

Carmen James Randolph,
Vice President for Programs, Greater New Orleans Foundation

Learning from Place: NONSTOP


We’ll share a sneak peek of the short documentary film NONSTOP, which follows the struggles of New Orleans bus operators amid the coronavirus pandemic. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority is a lifeline for many, with its bus system transporting frontline workers to their jobs, riders to the grocery store, and the sick to their doctors. But while the bus operators continued to fight for proper PPE, hazard pay, and sick leave, the bus remained a breeding ground for COVID-19.

We hope you’ll join us for #TFN2021 March 15-17!