We’re thrilled to share new updates to our lineup of speakers and sessions for The Funders Network’s 2021 Virtual Conference: Rise Together. TFN’s virtual conference will bring compelling and inspiring plenary sessions that will explore how BIPOC women are harnessing political power in the South, celebrate the art of Black storytelling, and delve into the urgent need to build a multiracial movement for racial justice.

Opening Plenary

Women of Color — Building Power and Revitalizing Democracy

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

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.

Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
Chandra Farley, Just Energy Director, Partnership for Southern Equity
Jacqueline Thanh, Executive Director, VAYLA New Orleans
Gloria Walton, CEO, The Solutions Project

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.

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

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

We are excited 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.

Also on the Agenda…

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.

We’ve designed sessions that are intersectional, cross-cutting and grounded in racial equity and speak to activism, collaboration and movement building. Please take a look at our Conference Agenda for the latest on our lineup of sessions and speakers.

New this year

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. Some themes we’ll explore: Covid & Racism; Being Black in Philanthropy; Decolonizing Leadership and Healing & Trauma. Please take a look at our Conference Agenda for times and facilitators.

Shop Local…From Afar

Our 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. (Launching soon, please stay tuned!)

More to Come!

Please be sure to check out our conference webpage for more information on registration, events, and updates on speakers and sessions. (And be sure to follow us on Twitter @funders_network for more #TFN2021 news.)