Bold new ideas, breaking research, emerging trends – these quick talks are proof that it only takes a few minutes to open your mind to an entire world of new possibilities.
A Case for Investing in Social Movements
Social movements have proven to be key to creating a fairer and healthier society for all. But NCRP’s research shows that the sector lacks knowledge about movements, and funding for movements is inadequate, scarce, and poorly directed.
Join this Spark Talk, designed to help grantmakers and donors understand why movements are critical to creating lasting change on the issues they care about – like health equity, racial equity, and economic security. And take advantage of practical advice for nonprofits working to raise more money for movement work, and funders seeking to invest in movements in better ways.
Presented by NCRP
A Path to a Positive Future
George Esteller applied and was accepted to the Pathfinder Program, a joint social venture between Salesforce and Deloitte to train community college students, veterans, and career changers for careers in the Salesforce ecosystem. In this talk, George will share how his interest in technology led him to Pathfinder and a promising career in software development at Deloitte.
Presented by Salesforce, Sponsored by Monitor Institute by Deloitte
A Recovering Angry Atheist Talks Religion
Religion is a topic that’s normally banned from polite conversation. But it’s in the news constantly these days; three Muslim students murdered assassination style by their neighbor, a county clerk refused to give marriage licenses to gay applicants, Black churches set on fire in Louisiana, and a Pittsburgh synagogue that lost 11 members to an act of terrorism. Our collective aversion to the subject has only fueled our collective ignorance, contributing to a culture of fear. Even if we’re not personally religious, we do need a better understanding of the religious diversity all around us, and we need to be comfortable in conversation about it. But we aren’t comfortable, and that discomfort reduces our ability to address the culture of fear when we come across it. Recovering angry atheist, Allison K. Ralph of the Aspen Institute Inclusive America Project, talks religion, pluralism, and our collective consciousness.
ArtsVote2020 – Engaging Presidential Contenders on Arts Policy Issues
The 2020 Presidential election process is underway. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund are engaging the candidates. Don’t miss their Spark Talk to learn how you can do the same on your issues.
Presented by Americans for the Arts
Becoming Candid: Why and How Two Nonprofit Data Giants Merged to Work Smarter Together
In February 2019, GuideStar and Foundation Center merged to become Candid. Through research, collaboration and training, Candid gets people the information they need to do good. In this talk, you’ll learn why the two organizations decided to join forces, and get insight into the funding, systems integration, branding, vision, and strategies that made it possible. And, you’ll hear share what Candid staff have learned along the way.
Bringing Arts and Healing – Wherever You Live
Data shows the effectiveness of incorporating the arts and creative arts therapies into person-centered health and wellness plans. And no longer confined to large cities, practitioners in creative arts therapies and therapeutic arts are but a close drive away in most urban, suburban, and rural areas. Join this Spark Talk by Marete Wester to learn how the arts and creative arts therapies can boost the quality of life.
Presented by Americans for the Arts
Building Blocks for a New, Inclusive Culture of Civic Leadership
Chicago’s distinctive history of private sector civic engagement is a national model for civic leadership. But increasingly complex regional challenges and opportunities go beyond a single institutions or cause and require a more inclusive and collaborative leadership approach. Learn how an aspirational framework for an inclusive civic leadership culture to create more equitable outcomes and tackle our regions most pressing social challenges.
Presented by Civic Consulting Alliance
Collective Leadership: All Hands on Deck
How can nonprofit leaders get better results given the many challenges they face? Real leadership isn’t just about who’s sitting in the captain’s seat—it’s about getting everyone to work together so the boat gets to where it needs to go. Research shows that effective leadership generates three things: direction, alignment, and commitment. Without these three things, your organization or community initiatives could be dead in the water. So who keeps the ship moving? Here’s a hint: It’s not just the captain, it’s the whole crew.
Presented by Center for Creative Leadership
Community Development of the Mind
This session will discuss the importance of shifting your own mindset in order to shift the mindset of others in order to value, love and stand for a community that has a cloud of hopelessness present. I will discuss my journey of shift my mindset of my community which sparked action to be taken that became an infectious culture created that gave voice and vision to residents who reside in a marginalized community.
Presented by Resident Association of Greater Englewood
Creating Common Ground
With increasing migration and rapid demographic shifts across the world, more than ever there is a need for communities to foster belonging, equity and inclusion. Welcoming America works to create these conditions, so that everyone can thrive. In this session, Welcoming America’s Executive Director, Rachel Peric, will dive deeper into the bottom-up movement for inclusion, highlighting the transformative ways that local leaders can come together to build Welcoming Communities for all individuals.
Sponsored by Walmart
Creating Positive Change through Board Advocacy
The best boards know public policy impacts their organization’s work, and leverage advocacy as a way to stand up for their mission and the people they serve. But BoardSource research shows that only 52% of boards actively engage in public policy. If your board doesn’t have an advocacy role, how can you get them engaged? Join Stand for Your Mission to learn about resources that can help you talk with your board about advocacy and public policy, and fully leverage your organization’s capacity to create change.
Presented by BoardSource
ELLAS Pop-up Shop
ELLAS is an initiative by women for women to gain confidence, feel supported, and foster personal growth while helping others. Since it started in 2012, ELLAS has achieved success in developing leaders and overcome language, culture, and economic barriers to preventative care. ELLAS has educated thousands of women about breast cancer prevention, referring them for annual check-ups, and promoting the need for health information and more resources for undocumented and uninsured women. This year ELLAS launched a Pop-up Shop of new or gently used cloths. The proceeds are used to support the women and the program.
Presented by the Resurrection Project
Encouraging Youth Voice in Civic Spaces
Young people aren’t apathetic; they’re uninvited. They care about issues facing their communities and are the experts of their experiences, but they’re rarely engaged in civic spaces in meaningful ways.
Mikva Challenge understands that youth voice and participation matter. Join their Spark Talk to learn how organizations can encourage participation and decrease marginalization and disenfranchisement of young people by addressing youth in ways that are meaningful to them.
Presented by Mikva Challenge
Ending Poverty through Transformational Employment
Finding a job can be tough, and even harder when you’re also struggling with recovery, whether from addiction, incarceration, or simply loss of self – an unemployment dilemma that often can be generational.Cara (Gaelic for “friend”) helps job-seeking adults secure and sustain gainful employment — interrupting generational poverty – by addressing poverty of esteem before poverty of assets, informing the role of socio-emotional skills in Cara’s work. Cara’s self-actualization coaching model builds workplace competencies through experiential and immersive learning – advancing the transforming effect of employment in restoring hope and prosperity to individuals, families, and Chicago.
Presented by Cara
From Exclusive Club to Community Hub: the Arts as Catalysts for Social Change
Arts are a powerful tool for improving lives, bridging communities, and encouraging civic participation. Arts-involved Individuals show an 86% increase in civic involvement, are 40% more likely to have diverse friends, and twice as likely to register to vote. Yet access to the arts remains significantly economically and racially disproportionate. Find out how Hyde Park Art Center’s new “Community Supported School” model of arts participation encourages shared ownership while strengthening communities across generations, socioeconomics, and racial disparities.
Presented by Hyde Park Art Center
Helping Young People Quit Vaping by Helping Each Other
The youth e-cigarette use epidemic created an urgent need for resources to help young people quit vaping. Truth Initiative filled that need by developing a first-of-its-kind program called This is Quitting, which has enrolled over 40,000 teens/young adults since launching in January 2019. Backed by science and powered by people, This is Quitting delivers cessation support by leveraging the advice young people want to give each other, plus evidence-based approaches for treating nicotine addiction. Participants will learn what e-cigarettes are, why they’re dangerous for young people, and innovative ways to help young people quit.
More about this Spark Talk:
How a Funder Is Building a County-wide Equity Movement
After four years of launching an equity movement based on listening deeply and paying attention to people, data, history, and social structures, a new place-based Foundation with $150 million in assets is opening the Center for Health Equity in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Center will be both a physical place and a process focused on closing the equity gap in Pinellas County with policy, research, strategic support, and highly-trained operations to realize the community’s goal of a more civilized, equitable county.
Presented by Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg
How Business and Higher Learning Can Fight Hunger and Food Waste
One in eight Americans struggle with hunger daily, while 30-40% of food produced ends up in a landfill. Food Recovery Network, the largest student-movement fighting food waste and feeding people in the U.S., works to make food recovery the norm, not the exception. They’re scaling their model for businesses with their Food Recovery Verified Program, which recognizes businesses and conferences that donate surplus food to nonprofits in their community – with more than 150 verified businesses to date.
How to Change Your DEI Culture in One Month
Join this Spark Talk for tools and strategies to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in your workplace in one week! While most organizations use the buzzwords “diversity equity and inclusion” as a value, many employees can’t articulate actions by their leadership around this pivotal issue. But you don’t have to be on the leadership team to ignite excitement and purpose around DEI! Find out how a temporary employee sparked immediate change in diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace.
Presented by I Follow the Leader LLC
How to Elevate Your Brand to Your Social Mission
Every aspect of your brand should reinforce your social mission. Join this Spark Talk by Megan Patel to learn how to design your brand so that all components work in harmony to elevate your mission.
Humanize, Don’t Politicize – Making the Policy Personal
What can our stories tell us about the structures and systems that influence our lives, and what happens when we begin to share them? Over the last two years, The People’s Supper has held more than 1,500 suppers nationwide to bring people together across identity and ideological differences. Join People’s Supper co-founder Lennon Flowers for a look at lessons learned, and how those stories — and the truths they elicit and the trust they generate — can fuel policy change at the local level.
Presented by The Dinner Party
I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for URBAN GREEN SPACES
Birds guide the way to the landscapes and communities that National Audubon Society serves. And while their work historically focused on preserving large-scale ecosystems, polling shows that urban residences desire increased access to green space. Stop by Audubon Dakota’s Spark Talk to learn their unique approach to re-establishing natural habitat in concrete jungles, and achieving the mutual goal of enhancing environmental health while filling a community need.
Presented by Audubon Dakota
If You Can Change Your Breath, You Can Change Your Life
One of the greatest deterrents to well-being is the chaos of the mind. But if you can take control of your breath, you truly can tame your mind. The Buddha said, “The greatest enemy of your life will be an untrained mind, but your greatest ally will be a trained mind.” Learn how mastering your breath is the key to learning to meditate successfully. It will teach you to open and be authentically present, available to dwell powerfully in any moment.
Presented by Kashi Atlanta
Immersive Media and Impact
Immersive media has groundbreaking potential for change makers, generating empathetic experiences that can lead to changed minds and commitment to action.
In this Spark Talk, learn how Games for Change is building an XR for Change movement, building bridges between creative media artists, nonprofits and funders, and about 38 Minutes, a co-production with Princeton University and other partners, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, designed to move the needle on public awareness of nuclear risk.
Presented by Games for Change
Impact Volunteerism: A New Way for Companies to Spark Change
Impact is a common and often elusive goal in today’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) landscape. Research suggests employees and consumers expect corporations to maximize public good and provide meaningful paths to action, yet corporate citizenship, philanthropy, and employee engagement models often fall short of promised impact. Impact Volunteerism, an emerging best practice can help evolve strategies to develop shared objectives, relevant community service, and long-term civic relationships that maximize impact and spark long-term change.
Presented by Chicago Cares
Leveraging Longitudinal Data to Transform Philanthropic Community Investment
Individuals and companies are engaged in and taking stands on social issues more than ever. But what if we could identify and address emerging social issues before they negatively impact individuals and society? What if we better understood individual and family needs and targeted resources more effectively? Stop by United Way’s Spark Talk to find out how they’re leveraging data across 1200 worldwide locations to build longitudinal data capabilities that bridge existing data systems for better predictive and evaluative capabilities.
Presented by United Way Worldwide
Lighting the Fire of Your Inner Heart: Igniting Your Passion and Purpose
As agents of change in the world, you must learn to keep the fire of your heart ablaze. This is the fire that inspires you to do work of meaning and purpose. As a dedicated changemaker in our world, your personal contemplative work becomes imperative so that you can use everything you experience – with those you serve, with your co-workers and in the world – as fuel for that ongoing fire. This is the fire of transformation, for here you can lay down your conflicts, challenges and woes, and connect to your authentic heart. Once you reach that realm of unchanging depth, the qualities of love, compassion and gratitude are revealed. These innate heart qualities light the way to your passion and purpose.
Presented by Kashi Atlanta
Love and Rage to Disrupt Dehumanization and Dream Our Liberation
RYSE Center in Richmond, CA, was born from people of color (YPOC) organizing to shift conditions of structural violence, distress, and dehumanization. We do this by centering the lived experiences of YPOC. We lead with love and righteous rage to cultivate healing and justice. We take risks as an essential part of transformation and justice. In this talk, RYSE will share key aspects of our approach and impact, including how we link liberation to land stewardship, power-building and power-sharing. Come hear and feel how we are are working to build loving relationships to build loving power to build loving systems!
Presented by RYSE
Making Way for Next-generation Legal Changemakers
When I was young, I thought lawyers were white, old, worked in fancy offices, and did more harm than good to communities of color. But the truth is that lawyers have the potential to be social justice change makers. They write, defend, and challenge laws. They right historical wrongs in our courtrooms and beyond. But in order to unleash their social justice power, we must redefine what it means to be a lawyer, and make way for the next generation of legal changemakers.
Presented by California ChangeLawyers
Managing Through Tough Times
No one can predict the future, though it is clear we are heading into a time of market volatility and political uncertainty. What is certain is that the need for strong, effective nonprofits will continue to rise. This Spark Talk will elevate lessons learned from the last recession and draw from Bridgespan client work in the years since, sharing examples and practices that have emerged to highlight how organizations not only survive, but thrive in tough times. Mission-driven leaders will leave this Spark talk with strategic management tools you can use to gain greater control over your business – in good and difficult times.
Presented by The Bridgespan Group
Moms Leading Change and Creating Impact in Chicago Schools
What’s happening in Chicago schools? You’ll find out in this Spark Talk, where parents from diverse Chicago communities share their experiences as leaders of change and impact in their local schools.
Presented by United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
On Narrative and the Equity Gap
Join this SparkTalk to explore the role narrative, society’s deeply held beliefs, plays in advancing equity.
More about this Spark Talk:
Propelling Financial Dreams for Low-income Families
Poverty in America is a problem, and we have failed to create viable solutions. Our current welfare system uses punitive measures that discourage families from seeking higher wages or more employment. Additionally, while welfare programs might cover a portion of food and housing costs, families have other basic needs like children’s school expenses and putting gas in their car to get to work. The Magnolia Mother’s Trust is a guaranteed income pilot supporting low-income African American mothers in Jackson, Mississippi disrupt this system by providing $1,000 of monthly unrestricted, no-strings-attached cash for 12 months to 20 different mothers. Don’t miss this Spark Talk to learn how the pilot helps these families meet their economic needs, while reinforcing trust in their ability to be the authors of their own lives.
Presented by Springboard to Opportunities
Re-framing a Shared Approach for Change
How we position our messages determines whether our ideas cut through or get swallowed up. It also can make the difference between progress and a backslide into greater injustice. But how do we harness the power of this realization to affect the policies that are made and create space to advance a social justice agenda across issues? Are the same challenges holding all of our issues back? And what if the only way to overcome these challenges – is all together?
Presented by FrameWorks Institute
Reinventing Government and Community Partnerships
Each year trillions of dollars are spent on human services but often the way they are allocated prevent them from reaching their full potential.
By creating well-defined outcomes that are pursued in deep partnership with the people being served, governments, service providers and their partners can create a radically more inclusive approach to addressing social issues that advances people’s lives.
More about this Spark Talk:
Rekindling and Reconnecting through a Year of Service
Service to country isn’t a new idea, but with societal divides overshadowing the values that unite us, and trust at an historic low – the urgency for it has never been higher. Service Years is encouraging more of us to commit to a year of service to reconnect and rekindle a sense of shared responsibility and purpose, to empower communities by connecting people of different backgrounds to solve public problems together, and to inspire the next generation of young Americans to become the leaders our nation needs.
Presented by Service Year Alliance
Relationships and Healthy, Equitable Communities
We pay lots of rhetorical homage to the importance and impact of relationships in our lives. But is our focus obscuring our ability to think about our relationships structurally and systemically, and how they factor into ensuring safe and thriving communities for our young people? David Shapiro will share insight into how to leverage your relationships and social capital with rigor and intentionality to solve stubborn problems associated with healthy and equitable development of our young people.
Presented by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
The Business of Changing the World
Nonprofit is a tax status — not a business model. We will discuss how adopting a social enterprise can help nonprofits create sustainability and increased impact. By the way, so can corporations!
Presented by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
The RISE of New Power in Community Giving at Walmart
Across the world, New Power has changed the way that society functions. This community-centered democratic approach is altering the way that organizations and businesses are structured, operate and engage with their stakeholders. In the last year, Walmart has been on a mission to harness New Power in their community engagement in an effort to better serve the unique needs of the over 5000 communities they serve in the United States. During this session, Kabir Kumar, Senior Director of Community for Wamart.org, will discuss Walmart’s journey to transform their giving and community work to a New Power approach.
Sponsored by Walmart
The Value of Why: Reflections on the Journey to and out of Gang Life
Life’s journey is not always a straight line, but it can be a bridge between a destructive life on the streets to one with purpose, empathy, and community impact. That is the journey of Jesse Herrera, chief visionary at Urban Theory, who’ll share how his experience influences his work and how organizations can illuminate and address the complexities of their challenges. You’ll leave this session with insight into:
- How Jesse’s journey can inspire you and other changemakers to consider how oppression transcends generations
- How society can force bad decisions, and the importance of the question, “Why?”
- How your organization can illuminate complex challenges.
- How you and your organization can help advance innovation and community well-being
Presented by Urban Theory
Transformational Suffering & the Power of Unconditional Love
A changemaker is someone who can transform suffering into hope through the power of unconditional love. We all suffer, but it is how we use our suffering that differentiates a changemaker from others. Because we all suffer, we all have the capacity to be a changemaker.
In this Spark Talk, James will share his experiences of personal suffering, the people who gave him unconditional love, which then allowed him to transform his suffering into hope and become a changemaker. This insight, along with his early work, led him to develop a new theory of social change called Ripples of Hope.
More about this Spark Talk:
TURN to Faith And Community Leaders for Real Community Change
More than 4,900 people have been murdered in Chicago since 2012, excluding those shot or wounded. Unfortunately, trauma goes unaddressed and many community residents are uninformed about it. The result? Many black and brown people go without counseling, and hurting people tend to continue to hurt people – creating a vicious cycle of violence. Pastor Chris Harris and Bright Star Community Outreach are countering the system of street justice through the TURN Model – The Urban Resilience Network.
Presented by Bright Star Community Outreach, Inc.
Turning “Crowds into Choirs” to Build Joy and Cultural Connection
Put your voice, body, and entire being into the work of reconnecting with the rhythmic, call-and-response griot traditions that celebrate liberation, justice, and freedom, particularly from institutional and systemic oppression. Join Jonathan Lykes as he uses freedom music from the Movement4BlackLives to tap into the healing, joy, and spirit work of our time, embodying the liberated world we aspire to as a collective compass for the future for which we fight.
Presented by Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network
Viewing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through an Organizing Lens
Organizers – the glue for social change – are often confronted by the challenges of thoughtfully considering diversity, equity, and inclusion in their daily work. How does implicit bias affect organizing? You’ll find out during Young Invincible’s Spark Talk, along with how to work with communities of color, amplify DEI work within your organization, and incorporate safety into your organizing work.
Presented by Young Invincibles
Walking the Talk: Using Research to Drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In 2018, a Starbucks employee called the police on two African-American men, who were waiting for a friend. The resulting uproar led the company to close 8,000 US stores for a mandated day of bias training. It may have been a smart PR strategy, but did it work? The lasting impact of bias training is mixed, according to research. While we can’t easily “de-bias” our brains, we can reduce how bias creeps into our organizations. At this Spark Talk led by Christina Hachikian of Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, you’ll learn what research can teach us about creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations.
Presented by Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth
What Did the World Look Like for You When You Were 18?
Being 18 can be grueling. Imagine being that age and having no support system, no stable place to sleep but the same wants and dreams of any 18 year old. You watch the opportunity gap get greater but the spark is still inside you. Where do you go? Ignite believes all young people deserve the opportunity to live into their potential and not held back by their circumstances. Utilizing an innovative housing model – we provide the support young people desire. With the audacious hope that Ignite is the last program they need but the family they will always keep.
Presented by Ignite
What if Liberals and Conservatives Aren’t so Different?
Liberals and conservatives often disagree, but not because they have different moral minds. Pop psychology claims that the “roots of morality” differ across politics, but new scientific discoveries point to a more hopeful truth: liberals and conservatives share the same moral cognition. Join this talk to learn more about these findings and their potential for understanding—and bridging—real-world divides.
Who Has Never Led You?
In 1994 college graduation rates for black and latinx populations were 12% and 13 % respectively. Today, 33% of Black and 23% of Latinx populations hold a 2 or 4 year degree. There have been tremendous gains in the world of education reform over the last 25 years but something isn’t translating beyond college. There are less than 5 Black CEOs of fortune 500 companies, just 4 Latinx U.S Senators and the median net worth of white households is still 13x that of Black households and 10x that of Latinx households.
Yes We Can! Youth with Disabilities and Civic Engagement
Individuals with disabilities reflect all and no political parties, reside in every community, and are much less likely to vote and engage in civic behaviors than peers without disabilities. As we look toward one of the most important elections of our lifetimes, it doesn’t have to be this way. This Spark Session will consider the challenges that dissuade young people with disabilities from civic participation, and re-imagine how our education system can prepare them to seize power and agency in the civic space.
Presented by National Center for Learning Disabilities
Yoga Philosophy 101: Bhagavad Gita + the Eight Limbs
Both Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were devoted students of one of the greatest pieces of literature on earth: the Bhagavad Gita. It is a guide on how to live a life of resounding meaning and purpose. Within it, countless tools for transformation unfold and these ancient practices are wildly applicable to our modern, chaotic times. Learn about the foundation of the mindfulness movement and why training your mind into stillness in meditation is imperative for your fulfillment in both your work and your life.
Presented by Kashi Atlanta