Workshop Descriptions

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Keynote: Education's New Future: How the Increased Role of Digital Technologies is Likely to Impact Teaching, Learning, and School Management
Gus Schmedlen

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting move to online learning catalyzed a dramatic acceleration of the digital transformation of education.  Unfortunately, the move to online learning has exposed the persistence of the digital divide and the “homework gap,” leaving our most marginalized students without access to educational content, their teachers, or their peers.  While school districts, foundations, and local governments heroically work to solve the access challenge, school leaders must also determine the efficacy of digital interventions and supports for students.  Not all education technology solutions are created equal.  This keynote session will focus on the likely future of technology in education, and how foundation leadership can best evaluate the potential impact of edtech solutions prior to making large investments of funding and time.


Major Gifts Bootcamp: Time to Move to the Top of the List
Debbie Sontupe, Match Nonprofit Consulting
Chrissie Wetherbee, CEFL, Morris Education Foundation

How many times have you meant to work on Major Gifts, but day-to-day work got in the way?  Have you discussed the importance of Major Gifts at every Development meeting, only to see it drop to the bottom of the list?  Now is the time to make this a priority.  This workshop will discuss best practices and strategies to ignite the power of Major Gifts. From setting benchmarks and goals, prospect identification and engagement, working with your board on major gift cultivation, and strengthening your case for support, this workshop will help you develop the necessary strategies to inspire transformational giving.  Debbie will offer her insights as a nonprofit fundraising consultant and Chrissie will share the real life experience as the Executive Director of the Morris Educational Foundation and how it all came together for her.  You will hear strategies and true application for assessing your current fundraising program, identifying top prospects,  developing and maintaining a calendar for intentional cultivation, and engaging and training your board and volunteers. Theory and practice all in one session.  


Should a School Foundation Operate After-school Programs?
Aaron Monroe, Henrico Education Foundation
Scott Williams, Henrico Education Foundation

Should a school foundation operate after school programs? Yes!  In our session, you will first learn about the value of after school programs.  We will give you an overview of the programs we operate in our district.  You will then learn how to start up after school programs to benefit the students in your district.  We will help you determine if you want to operate a 'paid for' program or a grant funded program.  We will then help you organize and prepare to operate after school programs.  We hope that in our session you will see the value of after school programming AND feel prepared to start programs in your district!


Transferring Success of Sales Funnels to Fundraising
Dr. Erika Harney, Dayton Public Schools Foundation

You probably receive emails as part of a sales funnel and don't even realize it. Or maybe you do know and think they are annoying. But they work! Building a fundraising funnel can guide donors through a cultivation process so they actually like to donate, rather than clicking around on your website until they find the donate button. In this session you'll understand more about what a fundraising funnel is, basics of set up, how to get leads into the funnel, ways to set up the system with tools you already are using, and ideas for content potential donors receive. Leave knowing a new way to fundraise that doesn't rely on methods that may not work for you anymore. Be able to not only get donors but keep them. 


Crafting a Case for Support
Sarah Bender, CEFL, NSFA

Charity non-profits, including education foundations, exist to raise funds for the benefit of society. Often, however, foundation leaders struggle to connect their mission with the real-time needs of the schools they serve. Knowing why you exist and your role within creating solutions is critical for moving resource development from transactional to transformational. Crafting a Case for Support places you (the foundation leader) as the bridge from the classroom to the community; researching key issues within school districts, strategizing solutions, and developing resources that will help you achieve success. In this workshop, you will learn ways to get your foundation ready to support transformational projects, understand the importance of selecting appropriate programs to support, and build confidence to present a compelling and actionable Case for Support to potential donors.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Honoring Alumni Achievement - Supporting Student Success

Abigayle Tobia, CFRE, North Allegheny Foundation

Strong alumni engagement programs build relationships that benefit both the alumni and the students your Foundation serves.  North Allegheny Foundation started an alumni engagement strategy four years ago and now includes homecoming, trivia nights, featuring alumni business owners and news makers, distinguished alumni awards and has raised over $100,000 in support of student success.  

Abigayle will take you through the entire experience - what worked, what didn't and will share a playbook you can use to start or build on your alumni program. Even if your Foundation is not the primary alumni association, you can still engage alumni in meaningful ways that support your mission and vision. By the end of the session, you will have actionable ideas and samples to get you started or to take your alumni engagement to the next level that will fit within your budget.


Increasing Board Member Giving and Participation
Makayla Buchanan, Clay Education Foundation

Using "Board Cafes" we have been able to transform our board room from one that had less than 30% attendance rate for most board members, to one that boasts 100% board giving, 80% attendance rates, and strong ambassadors that actively engage the community in our work in less than two years time! Make sure your strategic plan doesn't just sit on the shelf, that the board is participating in development activities, and you make the most out of the time you spend together. Walk away from this workshop with specific tactics you can take to your next board meeting.


Nonprofit Leaders: The Impact of Investing in Yourself
Blair Ellis, Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation

We lead non-profits.  By the very nature of our jobs we forgo investing money and time on anything other than raising funds for and implementing our programs.  But our own professional development is crucial for organizational growth,  job satisfaction, and avoiding burnout.  This presentation will outline several ways to make the most of resources you already have - from maximizing individual strengths, to capitalizing on networks and board member resources, to participating in structured professional development opportunities offered by your school district, the NSFA, and other outlets.


Partnering for Racial Equity in our Schools
Liv Gifford, Corvallis Public Schools Foundation
Marcianne Koetje, Corvallis Public School District

Partnering for Racial Equity in our Schools -- Learn how the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation galvanized support for racial justice initiatives in the Corvallis School District during the pandemic, and how this work has improved alignment and communication between the foundation and district at a critical time. Initiatives include leadership pathways for BIPOC educators, racial equity coaches, culturally responsive reading materials, and support for a program called S.A.F.E. (Students Advocating for Equity), in which students from elementary through high school engage in courageous conversations about race. Working together to address racial equity has provided a common area of strategic investment for the foundation and district and highlighted the importance of working collaboratively to achieve better outcomes for students. 


Building a Strong Relationship with Your School District
Dr. Wayne Padover, National University
Wendy Van DeLaCastro, CEFL, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools

How strong is your relationship with your school district? Are you the ATM Machine, a trusted and respected partner or somewhere in between? This highly interactive workshop will ask tough questions about how we lead our organizations to be strong, impactful forces for change. We will explore increasing standards of professionalism, address workplace bias, and how to overcoming deficit thinking with strong visionary leadership. Additionally, we will provide insight on building and strengthening a straightforward, effective working relationships between foundation and district leadership. Best practices will be discussed as options to define the relationships in increasingly equitable and respectful terms to best serve students.


Pursuing (Educational Foundation) Greatness in a Virtual World
Jennifer Shelby, Sherman Education Foundation

Education Foundations are facing significant changes in the face of a world turning virtual. With this change comes big responsibility-- which is why now more than ever we need focus on greatness! Greatness is not a function of circumstance or following the latest trends; rather, it is a matter of conscious choice and discipline. Creating a culture of discipline will allow your organization, regardless of size, to continue to deliver superior results and make a distinctive impact during these changing times. This presentation will apply facets from Jim Collins book Good to Great in the Social Sector to give your organization the tools, focus, and discipline needed in a virtual world.


Maximize Virtual Learning & Foundation Impact with Crowdfunding
Kirk Smiley, DonorsChoose
Anne Gould, Jordan Education Foundation
Nicole Smith, Howard-Saumico Education Foundation

As crowdfunding becomes an increasingly efficient way of generating outside donations for your schools, come learn how to implement crowdfunding best practices and get general guidance to maximize your foundation's impact. The session will also focus on how crowdfunding can support schools  with remote learning during the pandemic and feature a panel of three foundation leaders to share their stories and answer your questions.


Building Strong Business and Community Partnerships for Public Schools
Sandra Harris, PENCIL
Esther Bailey-Bass, PENCIL
Kelly Rolf, PENCIL

Building Strong Business and Community Partnerships for Public Schools: Learn how to successfully onboard a business or community partner from intake to placement. Utilizing the PENCIL Partner Life Cycle Model, participants will discover how to build and nurture sustainable partnerships. PENCIL Partnership Core Competencies will provide insight on how to define, recruit and retain partners in support of your local public school district.  In Nashville, PENCIL is a nonprofit whose mission is to recruit community resources to support Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) students’ academic and life success. We annually facilitate more than 750 business and community partnerships on behalf of MNPS, which bring valuable in-kind and financial investments to school communities, from career mentorship to literacy tutoring to teacher appreciation and more.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Keynote: How to Lead School Foundation Teams Through & Beyond a Crisis: 7 Prescriptions for Leadership Success
Dr. Mary Kelly, CDR, USN (ret.)

Discover the 6 stages of a crisis and how most people remain in the first 4 stages. True leaders and foundation executives have to be in stages 5 and 6. Leaders are always looking for ways to become even better. Are your leaders doing everything they can to help your staff and Board Members be successful?  

Based on 100,000 employees surveys, we discovered:

  • Why top talent is not performing to their full potential and how to improve their contributions
  • Specific actions that lead to short and long term business and employee success
  • Behaviors and communications that can accelerate the pace of your positive vision. It is difficult to keep teams focused and unified during challenging times. Mary uses her 25 years of active duty experience in the Navy to share how the military coalesces teams, and how you can use these techniques too. 

Attendees will understand:

  • What employees need from their leadership right now
  • What most employees say they are not getting from their supervisors and managers
  • Why everything seems to be taking longer to accomplish and how to improve productivity

Attendees will receive:

  • The 5-Minute Leadership Improvement Plan
  • The 5-Minute Vision Plan
  • The 5-Minute Teamwork Plan
  • The 5-Minute Productivity Plan
  • The 7 Prescriptions for Success Course Handout
  • AND a totally free, totally confidential leadership assessment that leaders can use for themselves and with their teams right away.


Leveraging Alumni Power in a Virtual World
Jim Burgaff, Alumni Nations
Michele Roberts, Central High School Foundation

Alumni relations have changed drastically since the pandemic and navigating engagement in a virtual world is a new territory for many. With limitations to in-person events and meetings, education foundations will need alternative solutions to continue engaging their most valuable constituents. Virtual engagement is an opportunity for education foundations to reach alumni they may not have otherwise been able to connect with. In this workshop, we will share best practices and real-life successes of friendraising and fundraising in virtual settings. Additionally, we will discuss how to build virtual engagement momentum with alumni of all generations, leading to a strong online community. Attendees will leave feeling energized with fresh ideas and solid understanding of how to keep alumni involved and engaged with their organizations during the pandemic and into the future. This workshop is suitable for all leader experience levels and foundations of all sizes.


Community Engagement in Strategic Planning
Abigayle Tobia, CFRE, North Allegheny Foundation

Understanding your stakeholders and what their values is essential to the strategic planning process.  North Allegheny Foundation utilized online surveys to both better understand the priorities of the Board of Directors and the greater community including donors, parents, teachers and administrators.  Abigayle will cover the entire strategic planning process that the NA Foundation utilized and how the results of the survey impacted the mission of the organization and the funding priorities


Education Foundation & Community Level Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tyren Frazier, Chesterfield Education Foundation
Mike Taylor, CEFL, Henrico Education Foundation
Scott Blackwell, Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond

A unique partnership was created in response to COVID between five education foundations in Metro Richmond and each local governments Incident Management Team (the group that convenes during natural disasters and pandemics). We all found commonality in the needs our communities faced and helped bridge the gap between resources, funding and distribution. We will show attendees how to find your allies, work in collaboration with neighboring foundations and build partnership to create long term solutions for your school district and community. Our alliance has continued to meet and we are now taking a regional approach to addressing similar challenges  -- everything from broadband access, equity & diversity, food insecurity, teacher/leader professional development and school age childcare. We hope to inspire other foundations to find ways to work together and leverage resources through regional cooperation.\


Stronger Together: The Education Foundation - District Team
Laurie Cromwell, CFRE, Foundation Innovation, LLC
Suzi Pagel, CFRE, Midway ISD Education Foundation

Education foundations that support public school systems must be aligned in order to be effective. This has never been more true as now during the pandemic crisis. Particularly during this time, education foundations have become a critical piece of engaging the community and providing resources.  What if, though, you are not at the table of conversation with your school system? This session will help you open discussion for alignment to create a stronger impact for students and educators.


Integrating Donor Management Systems for Small Foundations
Eric Wilson, For Osage Education Foundation
Stephanie Smith, Fort Osage Education Foundation

The Fort Osage Education Foundation has been on a four-year journey evolving from dusty, disorganized spreadsheets, documents and other files containing unclear donor information to a more sophisticated donor management system which has enabled more frequent communications and ongoing campaign measurement.  This workshop will share lessons learned along the way, tips & tricks and common pitfalls to avoid.  Even if your foundation is not ready for, or cannot afford a donor management system, this workshop will provide you with good data management practices you can implement right away in a simple spreadsheet.  Attendees will walk away armed with useful ideas they can take back to their boards for immediate consideration and implementation.

In the information age we live in today, good data management lies at the heart of many of today’s successful education foundations.  Come hear how you can begin the journey from archives to donor too!


Superintendent Transitions: Role of The Foundation's Board and Executive Director
Dr. Wayne Padover, National University
Sarah French, CEFL, Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation

Superintendent transitions are inevitable given the average superintendent tenure of 3 years. What can your education foundation do to prepare for and maintain continuity during this critical leadership transition? In this interactive workshop, the presenter will discuss: a) How to be a good partner i.e. how to align with key district stakeholders and develop effective communication strategies,  b) establishing formal and informal working agreements prior to your current superintendent’s departure, c) what you can do to help attract superintendent candidates who are supportive of education foundations, d) strategies you can use to gain input into the superintendent search process, e) how to orient the new superintendent and f) how to get on the same strategic page with the new superintendent.


Small but Mighty: Foundations as the Glue for Community Schools
Robin Jones, The Camp Hill Lion Foundation

Small but Mighty - even during the pandemic... How one education foundation benefiting a small school district (1,300 students) made its donors relevant in addressing the new challenges of the pandemic faced by our schools and families.  Working with the school district and donors during the pandemic, The Lion Foundation committed itself to helping our schools: 1. acquire the technology they need to continue to deliver a quality education both remotely and in person, 2. address new safety needs for students and staff, 3. support needy students and families, and at the same time 4. continue to support the ongoing educational, athletic and cultural programming needs that tax payer dollars still did not cover in our District.  It was a tall task, but we did it!  Learn how.  It took partnerships, and engaged Board and staff,  and donors that stepped up to support our community schools.  None of this would have been possible without the leadership of The Lion Foundation.  Be the glue that holds your community schools together during tough times.

While this is a small school district, the message applies to all size education foundations and what pieces you need in place to evolve as a foundation that provides this kind of support to your schools and community.


Building a Data-Driven Campaign Plan for Sustained Growth
Donna Frisby-Greenwood, CEFL, Fund for the School District of Philadelphia
Gregory Hagin, CCS Fundraising

Comprehensive and capital campaigns can play a unique role as a growth driver as organizations seek to elevate and sustain their fundraising.
The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia partnered with CCS Fundraising to design a plan to assess and reimagine strategies for long-term fundraising growth. CCS conducted a current state analysis to evaluate the Fund’s organizational structure, development operations, and historical fundraising performance to build a custom plan tailored to guide the organization in realizing a strategic pathway forward. The core strategic pillars identified as an outcome of this work were; leveraging a campaign around a re-envisioned case for support and an expanded leadership gift program.

This session will provide a case study to participants highlighting how a comprehensive campaign can be utilized to drive growth, develop a north star case for support, and define and prioritize the prospect landscape.


Creating Mixed Program Portfolios to Build your Foundation's Financial Position
Mary Chance, Consortium of Florida Education Foundations
David Moore, Moore Strategic Consulting, LLC

New research completed on education foundations in Florida makes the case for leveraging mixed program portfolios to increase financial strength and overall impact. Participants will be briefed on the findings and have the opportunity to engage national experts on how to strengthen their foundation. Using statewide member data on 65 education foundations and deep dive qualitative research with a subset of longstanding strong foundations created a framework for understanding the mixture of direct and indirect work done by education foundations. Implications for foundations suggests the need to cultivate both direct services and indirect support. The mixed portfolios support the accumulation of social, financial and political capital by foundations. These strengthened relationships and position in community allow for expanded impact on students and schools.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Keynote: Communicating Better with Busy Families
Dr. Todd Rogers

We will discuss how the science of attention and behavior change can be used to help leaders communicate more effectively.  We will discuss research improving student absenteeism, survey responses, parent engagement, donations, and delivering important information.



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