As we face unprecedented challenges to the health and economic well-being of communities across the globe, we are so heartened to see so many members in our network work to bringing people together to find common ground and inspire collective action — even if that means coming together in a virtual space.

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, TFN — like many, many organizations — had to rethink our annual conference, originally slated for mid-March in San Diego.

We brought together more than a dozen speakers from across the philanthropic sector and beyond to lift up philanthropy’s unique potential to bridge differences, foster connections and build partnerships — and address urgent issues such as climate change, economic disparity and racial injustice.

In case you missed any of these virtual events, we’re pleased to share audio and video recordings of TFN’s 2020 (Virtual) Conference: Bridge the Divide. (You’ll also see some additional resources that may provide helpful context for the events listed below.)

Our virtual conference featured seven institutes, workshops and plenaries — and attracted hundreds of registrants — over two weeks of programming, including a performance by the San Diego-based Playwrights Project and a “quarantine and chill” version of our popular Sunday Night at the Movies event.

TFN’s annual conferences have always brought together leaders in philanthropy who are committed to creating communities that are sustainable, prosperous and equitable. And this year, while definitely challenging, was no exception. In addition to our annual conference programming, TFN has embarked on a year-long Bridge the Divide learning series, presenting monthly webinars on a range of economic, environmental and equity issues facing our communities. (Catch up on the Bridge the Divide learning series here.)

Thanks to all the designers and speakers for sharing your work and expertise, and for helping to make this a successful virtual event!

ICYMI | TFN’s 2020 (Virtual) Conference: Bridge the Divide

Playwrights Project: Where Stories Take the Stage

May 11 

Click to Download: Recording

Join us for a virtual performance by Playwrights Project, which focuses on the power of theater to connect to universal themes that impact everyone, such as the need for love, acceptance, understanding, and connection.

The San Diego-based group’s programming delves into a number of issues including immigration, foster care, military service and incarceration. Their program Border Lines/Líneas de la Frontera creates fictional plays based on real life experiences along the U.S.- Mexico border to break down barriers, demystify common stereotypes, honor cultural traditions, celebrate the joy of living, inspire hope, and build sensitivity to the challenges faced by immigrants struggling to adapt to a different culture and language.

Fernando Garcia, Founding Director, Border Network for Human Rights
Cecelia Kouma, Executive Director, Playwrights Project
Mabelle Reynoso, Dramaturg, Playwrights Project
Michelle Jaramillo, Director, Education Initiatives, The San Diego Foundation (Moderator)

COVID-19 and the U.S. – Mexico Border

May 12 

Click to Download: Recording

More than 50 million people cross the border each year between Tijuana and San Diego, making the region home to the busiest land-border crossing in the world. It is home to a combined population of roughly five million people, making it the largest bi-national metropolitan region shared between the United States and Mexico.

And in recent years, communities on both sides of the international border have grappled with the impacts of an ongoing human rights crisis as migrants and refugees, fleeing violence in their home countries, seek asylum in the United States. As the U.S. embarks on increasingly hard-line immigration policies, leaders in philanthropy have been called to respond with urgency to the humanitarian crisis at our southern border — as well as to help shape a national conversation that centers equity, justice and compassion at the heart of this debate.

During this webinar, we’ll learn about cross-border relationships and their efforts to address a variety of social and environmental justice issues, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Funders will hear from local experts and community leaders to learn about the complexities of the border and various dimensions of the immigration crisis, to inform and guide their long-term funding strategies.

This webinar was moderated by the International Community Foundation and is presented in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Eliza Brennan, Senior Program Officer, International Community Foundation
José Franco García, Organizing Director, Environmental Health Coalition
Paulina Olvera Cáñez, Executive Director, Espacio Migrante
Hilda Vega, Deputy Director, Hispanics in Philanthropy
Steve Wright, Co-Director, 4Walls International

Supporting Materials

Bridge the Divide: Women of Color — Building Power and Revitalizing Democracy

May 14 

Click to Download: Recording


From left: Aimee Allison, Rukia Lumumba, Sandra Cordero

In a moment of roiling political divisions and high-stakes policy fights over racial, social and environmental justice and now a worldwide pandemic, women of color are emerging as leading voices and movement catalyzers.

They also representing a powerful — but often overlooked and underrepresented — voting bloc: One in five voters in presidential primaries are women of color, and they make up as much as 25 percent of the voters in key swing states such as of Texas, Florida and Arizona.

We hope you’ll join us for a candid conversation about how women of color are mobilizing action and redrawing the rules of engagement. We will hear from Aimee Allison, the founder and president of She the People, a national network elevating the political voice and power of women of color. Sandra Cordero, a political communications and engagement strategist and the former director of the Families Belong Together Coalition, and Rukia Lumumba, founder and executive director of the People’s Advocacy Institute.

Sunday Night at the Movies: North Pole

May 14

Click to Download: Recording

We invite you to quarantine and chill with us for a virtual edition of our popular Sunday Night at the Movies. We’ll screen a sneak peek of the second season of The North Pole, an irreverent and deeply moving web-series about gentrification, environmental justice, and where we call “home.” We’ll then be joined by members of the The North Pole team for a lively panel discussion moderated by TFN President and CEO Pat Smith.

Josh Healey, Executive Producer, The North Pole
Yvan Iturriaga, Director, The North Pole
Santiago Rosas, Actor, The North Pole

Q&A Moderator: Pat Smith, TFN President & CEO

Bridging Across Sectors: Investing in Climate Resiliency, Community Health and Equity

May 19

Click to Download: Recording 

The climate crisis is having immediate and disproportionate impacts on the health and well-being of people of color and low-income communities. As health disparities are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, 2019 was recorded as the second hottest year on the planet. Using transportation justice as a lens, the session will highlight strategies being utilized for cross-sector solutions to tackle emissions reduction, chronic air pollution, and respiratory health — including how air pollution health impacts intersect with the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Addressing the gravity of these multifaceted impacts is requiring innovative approaches that bridge across national and place-based foundations, work in support of community-based visions, and leverage government investments.

This webinar will explore how investing in frontline community leadership priorities can result in effective actions toward climate resiliency and community health. The discussion will be informed by an important new report on funder and nonprofit work in the climate, health and equity arena, produced in partnership with seven philanthropy serving organizations.

Katie Byerly, Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation (Welcome Remarks)
Yana Garcia, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs, California Environmental Protection Agency
Diane Takvorian, Executive Director, Environmental Health Coalition
Katie Valenzuela, Policy and Political Director, California Environmental Justice Alliance
Gisele Fong, Program Manager, The California Endowment (Moderator)

Additional Resources:

Funder Webinar Recording:  First Detailed Overview Of Work And Funding At The Intersection Of Climate Change, Health, And Equity (March 26, 2020)

Think Systemically, Act Collaboratively: Empowering Networks to Align Efforts and Accelerate Impacts

May 21 

Click to Download: Recording

In recent years, grantmakers have begun to experiment with systems-based approaches, operating from a deeply collaborative framework that is shifting fundamental expectations about what is possible. During this webinar, we’ll explore how systems thinking and collaborative networks can offer a powerful and nimble way to make sense of, and be responsive to, changing landscapes and needs, particularly within the context of the current pandemic. Please join us to increase your understanding of how systems thinking and collaborative networks can break down silos, build cross-sector collaboration, and advance our collective impacts.

Eleni Sotos, Senior Program Officer, Garfield Foundation (Co-Facilitator)
Ruth Rominger, Collaborative Networks Program Director, Garfield Foundation (Co-Facilitator)

Additional Resources:

Reclaiming Our Story: Words, Stories and Narrative in the time of COVID-19

May 26 

Click to Download: Recording

Now more than ever, we need to center racial justice and equity in how we speak, write and tell stories. This applies to individuals, organizations, movements and philanthropy. Join us for 75 minutes to hear about new research and strategies for communications and organizing that can shift the narrative around essential workers, the importance of home to public health, and what an equitable recovery should look like. All of the speakers are dynamic (even in Zoom) and each will bring a unique perspective about storytelling. Collectively they will share research, messaging guides, short videos and tips about how to create new content in the midst of a pandemic. We promise you’ll be smarter and better equip to tell (and support) a justice and equity-centered story after this webinar!


Anat Shenker Osorio, Principal, ASO Communications

Luisa Dantas, Director and Producer, Jolu Productions

Maurice BP Weeks, Co-Executive Director, Action Center on Race and the Economy

Marisol Bello, Director of Content Strategy and Development, Community Change

Additional Resources

Featured image at top of post: Screenshot of our virtual session, “Reclaiming Our Story: Words, Stories and Narrative in the time of COVID-19.”