ABFE Annual Conference 2020: CALL FOR SESSION IDEAS
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Harambee: Let's All Pull Together 2020
Harambee is a Kenyan tradition of community self-help, fundraising and or development. Its literal translation in Swahili is “all pull together”. From its inception, ABFE has served to be a vehicle for leveraging resources for the betterment of Black communities. The shared values of unity, organizing and the pooling of resources are central to ABFE’s 2020 Annual Conference.

This year, we bring the spirit and energy of Harambee to the south – Raleigh, North Carolina, April 16-18, 2020. This city, and its neighbor, Durham, North Carolina are of historical significance relative to Black education, the fight for civil rights and economic prosperity. During a time when disenfranchising Blacks and openly violating our rights was common, the Black populations of Durham were making strides in business that challenged the legitimacy of white supremacy. The city’s “Black Wall Street” and the founding of the country’s first Black bank, Mechanics and Farmers (M&F), demonstrated the promise of organized economic power. Less than 30 miles away, Raleigh is home to two Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); St. Augustine and Shaw University, both of which were critical to the city’s past and future. Shaw was the first historically Black university in the South, the first college in the nation to offer a four-year medical school and the first Black college in the nation to enroll women. Shaw was also the birthplace of one of the most important organizations of the civil rights era—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Today, some of the most pressing issues in the country are being fought in the North Carolina state capitol of Raleigh and in some local municipalities. These issues will be central to our conversations at Harambee! 2020. Join us in our discussions on:

• building and sustaining Black economic power. New to our discussions this year is a focus on protecting and preserving land as a strategy to build and sustain wealth. While the conversations on gentrification and land loss in urban areas are more visible, North Carolina is the epicenter of the fights by Black farmers to preserve agricultural spaces in rural areas populated by our people. We will also highlight the growing practice of impact investing to expand and scale Black businesses in the U.S.
• growing and sustaining Black political power. Protecting the right to vote and organizing for policy and system reform is a mainstay of ABFE’s work. As such, we will highlight these issues at Harambee 2020. Some of the most harmful policies against Black immigrants and LGBTQ communities are brewing in this state, and we will explore what efforts are underway to build political power to stem these attacks in North Carolina and nationally.
• supporting the success of Black-led social change organizations and their leaders. Nonprofit leaders in the ABFE network are advancing critical work in a plethora of areas including education; economic, environmental, and criminal justice; and health equity to name a few. Regardless of their focus, we must ensure that Black-led organizations are best positioned to build on their past successes and lead us towards a bright future. Due to inequitable investment practices by foundations and the public sector, our organizations often struggle from small budgets, minimal staff and little to no reserves. Harambee 2020 will feature promising models across the country, supported by foundations, giving circles and Black funds at community foundations, to build and strengthen the ecosystem of Black-led groups. Hear directly from these investors as well as the leaders of these organizations about their progress and recommendations for the funding community to ensure their sustainability.
ABFE is a membership-based, philanthropic-serving organization (PSO) that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities. Partnering with foundations, nonprofits and philanthropists, ABFE provides its members with professional development and technical assistance resources that further the philanthropic sector’s connection and responsiveness to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. Established in 1971 as the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the all-volunteer organization was credited with many of philanthropy’s early gains in diversity. It since has evolved into an influential network. In 2013, the organization shed its descriptor and adopted the simpler ABFE (ab-fee) to better reflect its broadening membership.

Call for Session Ideas: ABFE Conference 2020 | April 16 -18, 2020
ABFE is interested in hearing from its’ vast network about what is working and what shows promise for Black social change in our thematic areas for the areas described. We encourage ideas to share products programs, services & research that advances successful outcomes for Black people, Black households & Black communities. At the heart of our work is racial equity; at Harambee 2020, we are interested in showcasing solid work and leveraging sound investments that seek to reduce racial disparities, attack anti-Black racism and support strengthening Black communities.

We Want to Know What’s Working
Data is important to providing accurate narratives. It’s even more important to share promising practices that are working for Black people and communities. Our calls for ideas in each thematic category are as follows:

Category 1: Building and Sustaining Black Wealth and Economic Power

• What are the myriad of ways that philanthropy is using its power and investments to stabilize and sustain Black wealth (for households and communities)?
• What philanthropic grantmaking and impact investment strategies are underway to help advance Black business and entrepreneurship that show promise?
• What are funders and front-line organizations doing to retain, preserve and protect Black land and their rich histories in both urban and rural communities?

Category 2: Growing and Sustaining Black Political Power

• How are grantmakers and donors advancing Black political power to support issues that they fund?
• What investment strategies in the area of voting are showing promise (including protection for the right to vote and efforts to mitigate federal, state and/or locally created obstructions to a fair and free election)?
• What are donors engaged in to build power amongst Black immigrant and LGBTQ populations ensure access and opportunity for our communities?

Category 3: Support to Black-led Social Change Organizations

• What strategies are being used by foundations, giving circles and donors to support Black-led organizations and their leaders?
• How are Black-led organizations engaging Black individuals, youth, families and communities across diverse areas to build and implement agendas for their future?

In our sessions, we want to highlight work that aligns with ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities framework and the importance of supporting Black-led social change. As such, we are particularly interested in session ideas that lift up the use of the following strategies:

• Civic Engagement & Political Power;
• Community Organizing & People Power;
• Policy Advocacy & Systems Reform;
• Economic Development & Economic power;
• Research & Intellectual Power;
• Communications Narrative & Social Power; or,
• Leadership Development & Strategic Convenings.

we welcome content ideas from:

• Individual or institutional philanthropy;
• Philanthropic networks (pooled funds; giving circles; etc.)
• Public-private partnerships; and
• Grassroots Leaders powering their community change.

The voices of youth/next generation leaders are greatly desired.


We greatly appreciate your investment of time in submitting a proposal (or two). Unfortunately, we will have limited time and space, and won’t be able to accommodate all of the submissions. We will select sessions that best fit our vision for the 2020 conference.

If selected, ABFE will work with the session curators to create an ideal session for 2020!
• As a session designer, you’ll be responsible for covering your travel costs.
• Funders and representatives of larger organizations are expected to cover expenses.
o Very limited resources are available for speakers that might have limited travel budget. Travel support will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
• Session times, titles & descriptions may need to be modified to accommodate timing & placement in the agenda.
• There might be opportunities to collaborate with another colleague, with a similar submission topic. We ask that you are amenable to collaborative opportunities, should we decide to accept & merge similar ideas.

Deadline: Submit your proposal by Friday, December 13. ABFE will contact you to let you know the status of your submission.
Session Designer (s) - Provide your information and names and information for each presenter
Session Designer Name *
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Session Designers' Title (list all collaborators on the design of the session idea) *
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Primary Session Designers' Organization *
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Primary Session Designers' Phone and Email *
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Primary Session Designers' Organization Website
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Primary Session Designers' Assistant (if applicable)
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Primary Session Designers' Social Media (Twitter; LinkedIn; IG)
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I am / My organization is a member of ABFE (Note: Priority consideration will be given to ABFE members) *
Proposed workshop / session title (Up to 40 characters): *
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Proposed description (Up to 75 words - it should convey the session's purpose): *
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What are the goals / takeaways for your session (Up to three): *
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Identify how your session connects with the conference theme. (Up to 50 words): *
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Who will lend their expertise in this session? List all proposed session speakers, example: "Name" 1) Name/Organization"; Speaker 2: "Name/Organization"; Speaker 3: "Name/Organization"; Speaker 4... (no more than four speakers for a session is recommended). *
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Who will moderate / facilitate this session? *
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What session format do you propose (select one)? *
What issue area within our 2020 Conference priorities and framework for Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities and Black social change will your session address? My session idea will focus on (select one): *
Select One:
Select all strategies that apply *
Does your proposal capture / demonstrate / exemplify racial equity in practice in any way? *
If yes, how? If not, why not? (50 words) *
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Select a proposed time for your session (times will be determined based upon scheduling needs): *
What techniques will you use to make your idea /session interactive? *
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Would you be interested in sponsorship, exhibitor, or advertising opportunities?
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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