We’re thrilled to share the first wave of ambitious, inventive, and even unconventional workshops that will be led by your fellow brilliant changemakers this fall in Chicago. The workshops come in two forms: shorter ones focused on big ideas and Deep Dives that spend a few hours intensely exploring issues and skills.

Check back often because there’s a lot more on the way!

Accelerating Change through State and Local Advocacy

Feeling concerned about the political climate in Washington? Maybe you should shift your focus. In local and state government, elected officials are passing breakthrough legislation, introducing innovative policy, and enacting meaningful change. We’ll examine how tens of thousands of children across the country gained access to school meals through a strategy of state and local advocacy — and brainstorm ways that a similar approach could advance your cause and your mission.

Presented by Share Our Strength

Accelerating Collective Impact Through Shared Data & Knowledge

Imagine a world where the leading foundations put their collective minds, ideas and knowledge together in service of accelerated impact. What if we told you that world is closer than you think? Join IT leaders from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Technology Affinity Group to share insights, research, and a vision for building the impact infrastructure within and across foundations.

Presented by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Bamboozled – The False Promise of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

Deep Dive

Enormous sums of money are spent on diversity and inclusion initiatives. So why do we see such little return? Why do most initiatives operate as a defensive mandate for organizations rather than as tool for genuine transformation? And why do most efforts center on assimilation to white norms?

This workshop is designed to emphasize what many people of color know through experience: the pervading model of diversity and inclusion is superficial – and fundamentally flawed. Let’s roll up our sleeves and work together to evolve it.

Becoming Big Bettable

Pioneering changemakers have shown increasing ambition and ability to move the needle on today’s critical challenges. At the same time, a growing number of philanthropists are stepping up to support these efforts with extraordinarily large gifts. These big bets have the potential for enormous impact. This interactive workshop will help you refine a theory of change so you can show donors why you are big bettable.

Presented by The Bridgespan Group

Building Empathy and Empowerment Through Storytelling

Confronting individual bias and increasing empathy to build inclusive communities and enable individuals of all backgrounds to contribute and thrive has never been more important. And first-person storytelling furthers understanding better than facts alone. Learn how the power of storytelling can build trust and advance productive dialogue from Tea Rozman Clark, Executive Director of Green Card Voices. You’ll also gain insight into fostering understanding and inclusive communities through the group card game, “Story Stitch.”

Presented by Green Card Voices

Changing Policy Through Storytelling

While the United States has witnessed a recent wave of activism among youth, many of us still feel powerless to create change. Combat this “engagement paralysis” by learning how to empower yourself or others through the power of storytelling. You’ll discover real-world examples of personal struggles that translated into policy remedies, learn the steps for crafting a compelling narrative, and walk away feeling empowered to create change in your community.

Presented by Young Invincibles

Closing the Death Gap on Chicago’s West Side

Lack of access to education, employment, and community investment are at the root of a death gap in Chicago, with life expectancy for West Side residents up to 16 years less than those living in the Loop just seven train stops away. Join this interactive workshop led by West Side United, a collaborative of hospitals, community organizations, and residents, to learn how they’re working to improve health and economic vitality in the city’s 10 West Side neighborhoods. You’ll have the chance to experience the Root Learning Map © exercise and discuss how to catalyze cross-sector change in your community.

Presented by Rush University Medical Center

Community Movement to Public Policy

With an increase in civic awareness and participation, movements such as Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives grew out of communities that raised their collective voice. For many, what began as grassroots protests and organizing evolved into a policy platform that reshaped the narrative in the national discourse around systemic racism, gun safety, police brutality, and voting power. This workshop will help you see how your community engagement can drive policy change and hold the government accountable.

Presented by Higher Heights

Creating a Capacity Building Ecosystem

Deep Dive

When it comes to capacity building, making the right choices is no easy task. But what if there was a comprehensive ecosystem of support that takes the guesswork out of capacity building and tailors approaches to the specific needs of each organization?

Join The Kresge Foundation and a group of innovative capacity builders for an inside look at how they are aligning approaches, co-delivering services, and training each other so they can accelerate nonprofits’ ability to integrate and sustain racial equity in their talent and leadership development work.

Presented by The Kresge Foundation

DEI (Don’t Exclude Indians)

Despite our efforts, stereotypes, and misconceptions of Native Americans are present in philanthropy. These issues contribute to invisibility and further marginalization of Native communities, but there are tools and strategies that philanthropy can use to be more inclusive. This workshop will allow you to dialogue around equity, inclusion, and power sharing and expand on practical ways that foundations can authentically engage Native communities.

Presented by First Nations Development Institute

Designing Equitable Events that Spark True Engagement

Many organizations host amazing events – but are still missing the mark on understanding their audience, planning around their needs, and designing the conditions for meaningful engagement. Getting the most out of gatherings means creating environments where people feel seen, valued, and invited in. You will learn tangible ways to build a norm of equity and inclusion, so you can get past barriers and into the real purpose of events. This workshop is for anyone who wants to get better at bringing people together.

Presented by Bush Foundation

A Digital Policy Roadmap for Civil Society

Civil society increasingly depends on digital data and infrastructure. This reality creates new “fences” for civil society action by everything from regulations on data privacy and ownership to corporate concentration across media. Despite efforts to improve digital security and data governance, civil society infrastructure groups have not adequately addressed the policy needs of nonprofits in a digital age. You will explore how digital public policy shapes civil society and how to build practical connections between civil society and digital policy experts.

Presented by Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

Empowering Community Residents to Become Agents of Change

American laws traditionally have been shaped by donors, lobbyists, and others with the deepest pockets or best connections. So it comes as no surprise that public policies often neglect or deny equal opportunity to certain communities of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. In this workshop, you’ll learn a community-driven approach to advocacy that can be used to build the political power of historically neglected groups.

Presented by The Alliance for a Better Community

Enough Talk — How Foundations Can Live Their Racial Equity Strategy

Equity in philanthropy is a hot topic as many organizations develop strategies to increase funding and impact in communities of color. But is there a difference between giving and living? Can philanthropic organizations ever truly achieve equitable giving if equity is not reflected in their everyday operations, practices, and values? Join us for this candid discussion of embracing equity from the inside out and building equitable practices internally that drive equitable outcomes externally.

Presented by Memphis Music Initiative

How to Build a Culture of Equity and Results

Deep Dive

Education, healthcare, community development – for kids of color, these critical systems (and many more) perpetually create stagnant outcomes. We need better results. With a network of cross-sector thinkers and doers, StriveTogether has created a positively disruptive blueprint for cradle-to-career systems change that will lead to a more equitable future.

In this workshop, you’ll learn and test new skills for developing shared results, owning and aligning your contributions, and using data and community perspectives to drive decisions that measurably advance racial equity.

Presented by StriveTogether

How to Create Resilient Systems Change

Deep Dive

It might be tempting to worry that our best efforts to fix society’s worst problems will eventually give way to the status quo. But fear not! By learning how to shift the very conditions that hold inequities in place, you can create systems changes that is resilient and lasting.

Guided by the success of Thrive Chicago, you’ll practice using an action learning guide to assess systems change conditions and develop tactics that go beyond programmatic solutions to systems-level interventions.

Presented by Thrive Chicago

How to #ShiftThePower in Community-Driven Grantmaking

While most organizations today want to put more decision-making power into the hands of the communities they serve, some aren’t sure where to begin or are discouraged by setbacks. At this workshop, we will share practical lessons on how to empower the people who know their communities best to make decisions about where resources should go. You will get tested tactics and best practices and create a space for sharing practical advice and success stories to inspire change.

Presented by Pillars Fund

How to Overcome Your Fear of Advocacy

As phobias go, talking to elected officials can rank right up there with spiders, snakes, and heights. But advocacy doesn’t have to be scary. By simply telling your own story, coupled with the latest research and data, you can engage naturally with decisionmakers at all levels. Whether you are a community organizer, philanthropist, nonprofit leader, or a dynamic changemaker in your own right, this session will equip you to be the best advocate you can be.

Presented by Americans for the Arts

How to Talk about Race and Ethnicity

This workshop is an opportunity to pick up on a conversation from Upswell LA about the practice of Living Room Conversations with a specific focus now on race and ethnicity. The unique structure and safety of this practice, as well as the deep power of storytelling, comprise a productive and sensitive approach you can practice at Upswell Chicago, then use in your own community to discuss a subject of extreme importance, nationally and personally.

Presented by Living Room Conversations

Identifying and Managing Power in Social Change Work

There’s so much exciting work happening in the social sector on the topics of equity and creating sustainable change for communities and systems, but that work doesn’t always explicitly address power. This workshop will help you identify ways that power may be manifesting in and affecting your work within your organization and when collaborating with external partners. We’ll pull examples and ideas from academic theory, practice, and the audience’s experiences. You’ll also have a chance to learn and practice strategies for managing power in a way that helps you build stronger, more authentic relationships and reach desired outcomes.

Presented by Arabella Advisors and Antioch University

An Intersectional Approach to Disability Inclusion

People with disabilities (PWD) make up 20% of the population, but our needs are often overlooked. This creates real harm and exclusion for PWD, many of whom are also members of other marginalized groups. Diversity and inclusion efforts must include PWD, and in turn, disability rights work must include the leadership of multiply marginalized PWD. We will discuss intersectionality and ableism, ableism’s inherent connection to white supremacy, and how this relationship must inform our approaches to changework.

Presented by World Institute on Disability

Leading and “Living” Community-Led Initiatives

United Way works deeply in 10 communities in the Chicago-land area, each with its own distinct ecosystem comprised of a variety of stakeholders and decision makers. For six years, United Way of Metro Chicago has been implementing a community-led collective impact strategy simultaneously in the 10 communities to align the numerous community partners around a common agenda that is authentic to community voice. Don’t miss this workshop by United Way and lead agency, Austin Coming Together, to learn about their efforts to amplify the work of collective impact through place-based initiatives and identify methods of collaboration and authentic partner/stakeholder engagement.

Presented by United Way of Metro Chicago

Learning to Let Your Community Lead

Deep Dive

If we want to create lasting social change, we have to take cues directly from people closest to the issues. But often, we don’t know how – so this workshop will teach you! You’ll learn practical skills for listening to community members and building strong partnerships.Then, take part in an experiential mock community engagement session where you’ll gain a deeper understanding of mindsets, pitfalls, and concrete tactics to better partner with your community.

Presented by Wells Fargo Regional Foundation

A Made-in-Chicago Model for Collaboration

Driving meaningful community change through cross-sector collaboration can seem nebulous. Why do some partnerships sap time and resources, while others are instrumental to driving transformative change? A place-based initiative in the predominantly Mexican Marshall Square community of Chicago will share the model for helping organizations achieve exponential impact in the community they serve, while also strengthening their resources, skills, and knowledge. This workshop will give you a framework for how to help your community thrive through collective action.

Presented by Latinos Progresando

Oh, Behave! The Science of Behavior Change

Deep Dive

People behave in peculiar ways. We plan to exercise in the morning, but when the alarm goes off for the fourth time…well, maybe tomorrow. And we know that flu shots save lives, but somehow we just never get around to getting one. Humans are supposed to be rational. But everyday experience tells us that’s simply not true!

Behavioral science offers a powerful framework for conceiving new solutions across all kinds of changework. Dive in and cultivate your inner behavioral scientist!

Presented by ideas42

Operationalizing Equity

Funders and consultants have offered their insight on “doing the work” of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but this workshop will take those conversations to the next level. You will learn how to embed DEI principles into your organization, and what that really looks like from an operations perspective. Hear from several nonprofit COOs who sit at the intersection of strategy, people management, and resource allocation who have used their roles to advance DEI practices.

Presented by Capital Partners for Education

The Power of Relational Organizing

The movement for racial and economic justice is often oriented towards campaign tactics and short-term victories. These tactics are rooted in strategies and narratives that demonize the other and hinge on funding models that turn volunteers into contractors, and community organizations into vendors. In this workshop, you’ll learn how relational, grassroots organizing can enhance personal formation and structural change. Learn how this approach can transform dialogue across difference and accelerate civic engagement.

Presented by PICO California

Taking the Bias Out of Social Impact Research

How can the social impact sector level the playing field and address unintended research bias? Learn how from a robust publication released by Chicago Beyond called “Why Am I Always Being Researched?” The guidebook is intended to help shift the power dynamic between community organizations, researchers, and funders and how they uncover knowledge together. This equity-based approach to research offers one approach to restore communities as authors and owners of evidence and data that can truly impact societal change.

Presented by Chicago Beyond

Understanding the Language of Democracy

Almost everything we do in changework is predicated on the ability to talk about what we believe and why it matters. And how we talk about democracy has become as charged as the complex issues at the heart of it. This is the basis of a new project aimed at understanding what our language means to everyday Americans. Join Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) for an immersive discussion about this project and what the findings mean for your work.

Presented by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)

Using Data and University Partnerships to Help Address Poverty

Many university faculty members conduct projects that excite them and focus on their research interests. Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan and the Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network have flipped this on its head, partnering with communities and governments to use rapid response data and analysis to define problems, research questions, conduct evaluation, and inform efforts to enhance mobility and reduce poverty.

Presented by Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

What Does a Modern Social Enterprise Look Like?

Sure, the world is always changing and changemakers have always had to adapt. But in the Digital Age, things can change literally at the speed of light. As more companies are quickly adapting, expanding, and broadcasting their social impact efforts, how can a social enterprise differentiate itself and flex its muscle in the social good space?

This workshop will teach you how a social enterprise can adjust itself around the contours of ongoing changes to the marketplace by sharing its story with new audiences, supporting and serving current issues, and funding its mission in new and innovative ways.

Presented by Consumer Reports

When Design Collides with the Social Sector

Deep Dive

By now, you’ve heard a lot of talk about “human-centered design” in the social sector. But what, exactly, is it? What value does it hold for social impact work? What does it look like when practiced in an ethical and equity-centered way? Through dynamic conversations, interactive exercises, and real world scenarios, expert practitioners will guide you as you learn a new way to bring those with the least power closer into the center of your work.

Presented by Greater Good Studio

A Year of Resistance, What We’ve Learned, and What’s Next

The November 2016 election was a catalyzing moment for the U.S., and a moment of reckoning for the philanthropic community. The Roddenberry Foundation, in particular, was among the first to invest in and support activists and organizers at the forefront of resistance and our most pressing issues through its Roddenberry Fellowship. Hear from foundation staff and Roddenberry Fellows about their insights from the front lines, lessons learned, and their evolving work.

Presented by The Roddenberry Foundation