Crowdfunding, social entrepreneurship, impacting investing: the tools that grantmakers are now using to advance the causes they care about are growing at a rapid pace. In order to tackle our critical environmental problems, philanthropy can’t stand still. We must adapt our approaches to giving as circumstances change. Rachel’s Network members aren’t afraid to face this new world head on.

Rachel’s Network explored the latest trends in philanthropy during our 2014 Annual Meeting, “The Future of Philanthropy.” Co-chaired by Members Loren Blackford and Winsome McIntosh, the Meeting convened 51 members and guests in Washington, D.C. to hear expert perspectives on how to be more effective grantmakers.

Program Highlights

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  • Panel discussion with Rachel’s Network Environmental Leadership Liaisons about the rewards and pitfalls of taking risks. The panel included NRDC president Frances Beinecke, Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark, Population Action International president and CEO Suzanne Ehlers, and NatureServe president Mary Klein.
  • Breakfast co-hosted by Rachel’s Action Network and the League of Women Voters featuring Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland.
  • Ashoka founder and CEO Bill Drayton shared how Ashoka empowers individuals around the world to become system changers and social innovators.  Bill highlighted the transformative power of disruptive social innovation: “When everyone is a changemaker, the problems can’t outrun the solutions.”
  • Georgetown Climate Center’s Vicki Arroyo delved into real impacts climate change is already having on communities around the country and how governments are adapting to these impacts.
  • Philanthropy advisors Shelley Whelpton and Ariane de Vienne shared creative practices in grantmaking: donor collaboration, impact investing and stronger 501(c)4 activities.
  • ioby executive director Erin Barnes talked about the genesis of her unique crowdfunding platform, and its strong community engagement element.
  • Bonnie Erbe, host of PBS’s “To the Contrary” discussed the importance of elevating women’s voices in the public sphere and bringing their viewpoints into the national debate.
  • Alliance for Justice president Nan Aron reiterated the vital importance of political advocacy in nonprofit work and grantmaking.
  • Ellen Remmer, trustee of the Remmer Family Foundation, explained the steps philanthropists can take to be more strategic: outlining goals, limiting one’s focus, identify the context and develop a theory of change, and go beyond writing a check.


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