Peer Event

Philanthropy’s Role in Strengthening America’s Democracy

Join the Council on Foundations for a conversation with your peers about the ways in which foundations can transcend the current climate of partisan stalemate and work to make our democratic processes more fair, open, and representative.

Date & Time


Hilton Anatole Hotel
2201 N Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX 75207


Members = $299
Nonmembers = $549

To register only for this event, select Preconference and Daily Rates under Registration Information during the online registration process; or you can fill out the paper registration form. 

Central Time

Philanthropy’s Role in Strengthening America’s Democracy

Philanthropy and Democracy IconThis event is a preconference session at the 2017 Annual Conference.

Join a timely, topical, and interactive afternoon that will provide both a forum for a conversation about the state of democratic practice in America, and a review of the many ways in which philanthropy is working to restore, revive, and renew our democracy. This preconference session will begin with a facilitated, bipartisan conversation organized by the George W. Bush Institute about bridging the divides that currently exist in our nation, and what philanthropy can do to address them.

Then, in conjunction with the PACE-Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, session leaders will highlight the many ways that organized philanthropy is working in this space, including the fields of political reform, political and civic engagement, civic education, and service.

The afternoon will close with a session entitled, The First 100 Days: Tumultuous Times in Our Nation's Captial, with our speaker, Matthew Dowd—an independent with a cross-partisan career, including roles on the staff of several democrats, such as Governor Dick Gephardt and Senator Lloyd Bentsen, and as chief strategist for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign.


12-12:45 p.m.

Networking Lunch

12:45-1:00 p.m.

Welcome and Introduction

Senior Advisor to the Council on Foundations, Chris Gates, will kick us off for the day.

1-2 p.m.

Moderated Conversation about Existing Divides

Participate in a moderated discussion, organized by the George W. Bush Institute, about the current divides in American society and politics, and philanthropy's role in bridging them.

2-2:40 p.m.

A Panel Discussion: Philanthropy Strengthening Democracy Across Divides
  • Political Reform
  • Civic Engagement
  • Political Engagement
  • Service and Volunteerism
  • Civic Education

2:40-4 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Attendees will have the opportunity to join deep-dive conversations for two of the five panel discussion topics.

4-4:15 p.m.


4:15-5:15 p.m.

The First 100 Days: Tumultuous Times in Our Nation's Capital

An interactive conversation with political insider, Matthew Dowd, about the implications of the first 100 days of the Trump administration, and what that means for democracy in the U.S. 

5:15-5:30 p.m.

Summary and Reflections

We will wrap-up the day with reflections from Senior Advisor to the Council on Foundations, Chris Gates.


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