FOCUS GROUPS

Drawing on the expertise and experience of Upswell’s diverse changemakers, these small-group exchanges are designed to move the needle on some of civil society’s most urgent issues.

Friday, November 15

10:00 am – 10:30 am

A Closer Look at How We Empower and Re-power the City

Community Engagement

Hundreds of cities have committed to investing in cleaner energy sources for more stable economies and healthier communities. The Ready for 100 Chicago Collective is working to ensure that Chicago’s energy transition embodies the principles of inclusivity, environmental justice, and community-leadership. What traditional and innovative paths might the City consider to solicit input from residents across the city while also valuing equity in this process? What relationship between community, labor, government, investors, and private actors will yield concrete improvement for communities?

Presented by Ready for 100 Chicago Collective

Thursday, November 14

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

A Taste of the Local Voices Network

Data and Tech

This brief conversation will offer participants an opportunity to engage in a conversation to lift up concerns and hopes for their community and identify issues they would like to see covered in the media. The conversation will be recorded with Cortico’s digital Hearth and can be shared with participants on our online platform after Upswell.

Presented by Cortico

Wednesday, November 13

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

An Inescapable Network of Mutuality – Creating More Interconnected Movement for Young Men of Color

Chicago, Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper, now an initiative of the Obama Foundation, is centrally focused on reducing barriers and expanding opportunity for boys and young men of color. However, we recognize that creating communities where boys and young men of color can thrive must address interconnected issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration and socioeconomic status. Join a candid conversation about the progress made and the work that remains to create programs and policies rooted in the knowledge that the challenges and opportunities facing young men, young women and gender non binary youth of color are deeply intertwined.

Presented by The Obama Foundation

Thursday, November 14

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Are There Too Many Nonprofits?

Capacity Building

Are there too many nonprofits? Depends on who you ask. Colorado Nonprofit Association is pursing data-driven answers and the creation of an algorithm to provide context to the driving forces behind the perception or reality of a saturated nonprofit sector.

Presented by Colorado Nonprofit Association

Thursday, November 14

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Building “Next Gen” Partnerships to Address the Future of Work

Capacity Building

Across the United States, millions of people are working but still struggling to get ahead. At the same time, employers are trying to fill millions of job openings, but many are struggling to find workers with the right skills. There are opportunities to better address the needs of both workers and employers, and to create sustainable, long-term solutions in the face of the changing nature of work and the workforce. Monitor Institute by Deloitte will share learnings and facilitate a discussion about what it means to be a “Next-Generation Workforce Provider”—a type of workforce organization that seeks to expand job and career opportunities for lower-income individuals while also being responsive to employers’ talent needs.

Sponsored by Monitor Institute by Deloitte

Thursday, November 14

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Charting the Next Wave of Equitable Finance

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

Finance is the lifeblood of households, organizations, and the economy. It drives economic opportunity and justice, and the cause of economic hardships and exploitation. Today, a diverse field of philanthropists and investors applies finance to advance the common good. Yet one gap in these markets has profound implications for financial health and impact of this sector: how we attract, grant, and invest equity. In this time of unprecedented wealth inequality—especially for communities of color—how we structure and invest financial equity has enormous implications for how we advance economic equity. Join us to discuss how we make the case, assess the market and scale innovations to expand equitable finance.

Presented by Prosperity Now

Wednesday, November 13

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Clothing Insecurity: The Hidden Child Poverty Crisis

Big Ideas

School attendance is key to achievement, graduation and beyond, but research shows clothing insecurity is among the primary reasons children don’t attend school. Government and private programs work to address food and housing insecurity, but only a few address the lack of appropriate and adequate clothing. Learn about this crisis, grassroots movements to address the challenge and raise its profile, and approaches to move the needle.

Presented by Cradles to Crayons

Thursday, November 14

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Co-constructing for Impact

Bridging Divides

What is “co-creation,” how does it involve community wisdom and experience, and how can it help you achieve community transformation and collective action?  This focus group will introduce Co.act Detroit, a regional hub for nonprofit collaborative action, and showcase its engagement with organizations to co-create its name, focal areas of impact, key values, and brand architecture.

Learn how pairing national best practice research with local insights and context has paved the way for a shared concept of community transformation and collective action.

Presented by EarlyWorks LLC

Thursday, November 14

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Community-based Holistic Care for Chicago Families in Need

Capacity Building, Chicago

Homelessness, inequality, poverty, violence, and health disparities impact many Chicago neighborhoods. Many nonprofit and governmental programs — from community health services to leadership development programs – are tackling these problems. A holistic care model from a Brazilian nonprofit, Saúde Criança, takes a community-based hub approach to networking service providers, improving health and socioeconomic outcomes.

Join this focus group on community-based holistic care and plan a small-scale program implementation in one Chicago neighborhood that may work in your community, too.

Presented by Research-Aid Networks

Wednesday, November 13

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Countering Racism by Changing Culture and Bridging Opportunity Gaps

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

Recent EdBuild report research on school racial disparity revealed high-poverty districts that serve mostly students of color receive about $1,600 less per student than the national average, while school districts that are predominately white and poor receive about $130 less. Brown vs. Board of Education overturned school segregation in 1954, but more than half of U.S. students attend “racially concentrated” schools.

Learn about creating a counter-force to systemic racism to influence K-12 school culture and bridge opportunity gaps through enhanced learning programs.

Presented by Higher Achievement

Thursday, November 14

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Dissecting Resilience: The Science of Overcoming Conflict and Adversity

Big Ideas

Thursday, November 14

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Imperatives for Nonprofit Communications

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

Few initiatives are more important than advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Yet far too often, nonprofit marketing and communications efforts haven’t kept pace with our organizations’ progressive work, hurting more than supporting DEI efforts. Join Alyssa Conrardy of Prosper Strategies for insights into DEI imperatives that nonprofit communicators must consider.

Presented by Prosper Strategies

Friday, November 15

9:30 am – 10:00 am

Eliminating Gang Violence, Rehabilitating Communities

Chicago, Community Engagement

Pastor Corey Brooks has experienced being in the midst of gun crime by warring gangs on Chicago’s South Side. The Founder and Executive Director of Project H.O.O.D. knows about the violence plaguing the Woodlawn and Englewood communities. He’s brokered peace deals, gained gang members’ trust, been at scenes of shootings, worked with those impacted, and is striving to transform the community. Hear his firsthand experiences and insights about mitigating gang violence in communities.

Wednesday, November 13

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Facilitating Buy-in to Advance Equity in Your Community

Community Engagement

Having trouble convincing people to implement interventions that better support marginalized groups in your community? Targeted universalism (TU) could help you implement population-level interventions while elevating a shared understanding of equity among involved stakeholders. Learn three practical steps FSG used to socialize the TU concept in a new community initiative in Staten Island, New York. And after a brief Q&A, you’ll be paired with a partner to plan how to leverage TU to reduce disparities in your community.

Presented by FSG

Wednesday, November 13

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Healing Our Divided Society: Poverty, Inequity And Racial Injustice Fifty Years after the Kerner Commission

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

After the urban protests of the nineteen sixties, President Lyndon Johnson’s Kerner Commission, composed predominantly of White men who bore the imprimatur of the political establishment, concluded in 1968 that the national had made little progress in reducing poverty, inequality and racial injustice.

In 2018, the Milton Eisenhower Foundation and Temple University Press published the Foundation’s Fifty Year Update of the Kerner Commission, titled Healing Our Divided Society.  The Update concluded that, from 1968 to 2018, the overall child poverty rate, the deep poverty rate, income inequality, wealth inequality and public school segregation all increased.  Mass incarceration has become the present iteration of slavery and Jim Crow.

In response, Healing is challenging Independent Sector to better communicate these trends over the last fifty years and to better convey the existing evidence on what works – and what doesn’t work.  After almost fifty presentations on Healing around the nation, the Foundation has found that much of the American White public is not aware of the evidence.  Or is in denial.  Or does not care.

The original 1968 Kerner Commission concluded that “new will” was needed to scale up what works.  To create “new will,”  the Reverend Martin Luther King was assembling an interracial economic justice coalition among the poor, the working class and the middle class when was assassinated shortly after he endorsed the Kerner Commission in 1968.  Running for President in 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy also endorsed the Kerner Commission – and then he too was assassinated.

The Eisenhower Foundation now is speaking out on how nonprofit organizations and foundations need to play a much greater leadership role in the creation of “new will,”  as America heads into 2020, a critical year for the future of what presently is a betrayed democracy.

Presented by The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation

Friday, November 15

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Hide and Seek: Micro-experiments on the Hidden Drivers of Human Behavior

Presented by ideas42

Thursday, November 14

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

How to Form a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

Hear first-hand from someone who started a D&I working group at a nonprofit think tank in a university setting, and who was selected for the task largely because she spoke up and requested action in her workplace! Learn why support from leadership as diversity advocates is key. And get the scoop behind how the presenter formed her organization’s D&I group, as well as initiatives her group will tackle in their first year.

Presented by I Follow the Leader LLC

Thursday, November 14

9:30 am – 10:00 am

Leadership Toolkit: Practical Tools for Empowering Social Change Professionals on a Global Scale

Community Engagement

Join us for an interactive discussion on how to inspire your team every day! Sharing the tips gained from the Atlas Corps professional Fellowship and our Hosts, we will ways to integrate professional development as a daily habit of your organization. Learn to channel human inspiration into a lifelong learning habit that advances professional skills, strengthens your organization, and increases employee satisfaction.

Presented by Atlas Corps

Thursday, November 14

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

Mobilizing Diverse Communities for Policy and Advocacy

Policy and Advocacy

White children in Wisconsin are born healthier than black children, and the state has the nation’s highest rate of incarcerated black males (more than half are parents). What’s required to change statewide policies to advance equitable opportunities for African-American families?

Presented by StriveTogether

Thursday, November 14

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Nonprofit Leader Insights on the Journey to Equity

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

BoardSource’s signature study, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, highlights compelling statistics underscoring the need for greater nonprofit leadership diversity. Of those surveyed, 90% of the CEOs and 84% of the board members were white, and 27% of the boards represented did not include a single person of color.

Presented by BoardSource

Friday, November 15

9:30 am – 10:00 am

Optimizing Your Board Engagement

Capacity Building

Join Jim Gibbons, social entrepreneur, founder of Forward Impact Enterprises, and former CEO of Goodwill Industries International and National Industries for the Blind, to explore the question, “How do we optimize board member engagement”?  Delve into board practices to better understand board performance, organizational practices to ensure optimal board member contribution, and methodologies to ensure great board member feedback and engagement. This will be a provocative session to assist 8-10 CEOs and board members in gleaning new insights to take board performance to new heights during demanding times.

Presented by Forward Impact Enterprises

Thursday, November 14

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Oversight and our Sector: Building a Better Regulatory Framework

Capacity Building

Many practitioners, scholars and regulators agree that the regulatory and enforcement framework for nonprofit oversight in the United States is, in many ways, outdated and under resourced. Join us at the Public Square to discuss your own views of how oversight works– or does not– in our sector, and what concrete adjustments could be made to improve efficiency and consistency, for the good of the sector and the beneficiaries we serve. The open forum will be moderated by Cindy M. Lott, Policy Fellow at Independent Sector and faculty, Columbia University.

Presented by School of Professional Studies, Columbia University

Thursday, November 14

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Power Up: Building Power Through Data and Dialogue

Community Engagement

The data is clear: years of inequitable investment and policy enforcement has stifled community growth along racial and socio-economic lines. Transforming our cities will require a new paradigm about the role of community voices and allocation of resources. Join the conversation as we explore ways to strengthen the voices of residents in policy development and accountability systems.

Presented by Ready for 100 Chicago Collective

Thursday, November 14

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Recycling for Good: Sustainable Work, Stronger Communities

Community Engagement

There’s a network of nonprofits in waste-based businesses that’s changing the national recycling landscape, while creating jobs for those with barriers. This focus group may inspire you to join the  Cascade Alliance, who contribute to a nonprofit’s resilience while increasing its ability to serve its community and contribute to a healthier environment.

Presented by Cascade Alliance

Wednesday, November 13

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The Path to Truly Inclusive Elections

Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity

Across the country a diverse group of actors from nonprofits to government to the private sector are working together to breakdown barriers to voter participation. In this Focus Group session, Tiana Epps-Johnson, Founder & Executive Director of Center for Tech and Civic Life, will kick-off the conversation by sharing background on the disparities we see among the US electorate, common barriers to voting, and examples of promising work being done by CTCL and others to increase voter engagement. She will then facilitate a group conversation about what it will take to see inclusive, sustained participation in US elections.

Friday, November 15

10:30 am – 11:00 am

The Pendulum Swing Between Empowerment and Victim: Can We Free Ourselves?

Mind, Body, Soul

Participants will explore when they feel like a failure or a victim at work. They will be asked how this feeling impacts their work and what actions they generally take to appease this feeling. We will have a short discussion about how the yogic teachings view victim identity and several mindfulness tools for freeing ourselves. The group will discuss how these practices are viable in the workplace and what they believe are the best tools for freeing ourselves from these negative habits of the mind.

Presented by Kashi Atlanta

Wednesday, November 13

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

The Power of Stories to Create Change

Community Engagement

Stories are important. They can move people to care about an issue when facts and data alone fall short. But storytelling also can be challenging, particularly when it comes to identifying and telling stories that illustrate the need and impact of our work. It can also be difficult to make space for creative storytelling approaches. Focus group leaders will share the challenges, lessons, and possible solutions associated with incorporating storytelling in your mission work.

Presented by Pillars Fund

Friday, November 15

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

The Role of Place in the Future of Work

Community Engagement

Cities and communities play a big role in whether its residents will be ready for the Future of Work. Educational systems, public workforce programs, the landscape of nonprofit organizations and employers committed to the community, and even infrastructure elements (e.g., public transportation, affordable housing) must all be working together to ensure residents can adapt to how jobs are changing. Monitor Institute by Deloitte will facilitate a discussion about the critical elements for supporting workers at the city-level and bright spots we can learn from.

Sponsored by Monitor Institute by Deloitte

Thursday, November 14

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Understanding the Effects of Tax Policy on Charitable Giving

Policy and Advocacy

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has now been in effect for over a year. After the passage of TCJA, researchers projected the policy could significantly reduce charitable giving, which led to concerns among nonprofit leaders. Recently, there have been proposals in Congress aimed at changing specific pieces of TCJA, many of which could curb or negate the potential negative effects of TCJA on giving, specifically among low- and middle-income donors. Join us for a glimpse into how the policy changes affected charitable giving and what new proposals could curtail the potential negative effects of TCJA on giving.

Friday, November 15

9:00 am – 9:30 am

What Is (or Should Be) Keeping Nonprofit Board Members Awake at Night?

Capacity Building

#MeToo — financial mismanagement — cyber security — all critical, high profile issues that require awareness and strategic prioritization, particularly by nonprofit board members and leaders who must maintain rigorous vigilance about risks that can derail success and potentially damage their organizations. Engage in this dialogue about important risks that impact the sector today, and key insights that can help nonprofit board members and leaders manage these risks effectively.

Presented by Kellogg School Center for Nonprofit Management

Thursday, November 14

10:30 am – 11:00 am

What the Separation of Your Inner Life and Your Work Life Is Costing Us

Mind, Body, Soul

Participants will discuss when separation manifests between their inner and external lives and the reasons, pressures and situations that create this separation. We will explore whether or not participants use, or can use, mindfulness techniques in specific scenarios. After a short discussion of yogic techniques used to combat separation and create wholeness, we will discuss the most viable strategies for living with your inner life fully intact during your work life.

Presented by Kashi Atlanta

Thursday, November 14

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

What’s Ethics Got to Do with It?

Big Ideas

Nonprofits leaders typically think about their accountability to a core group of stakeholders: the board, funders, staff, and communities served. But where does the community rank among that list? And do nonprofits have an ethical obligation to think about their impact on the communities most burdened by inequity and disparity in their area of work? We invite participants to discuss how today’s gold standard of nonprofit ethics, Independent Sector’s Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, could better consider our sector’s role to address inequity, close disparities, and put community in the center of our decision-making.