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2016 Heart of Philanthropy

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 to Friday, January 29, 2016
La Casa de Maria Retreat Center
800 El Bosque Rd, Montecito, CA 93108
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Participants will attend a three-day, two-night philanthropy leadership retreat at La Casa de Maria, a beautiful retreat center nestled into the foothills of Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara. SCG is glad to offer you this opportunity thanks to a partnership with San Diego Grantmakers and Leading From Within.

Grantmakers often serve the role of a bridge — a human bridge between the harsh reality of “what is” and the bright possibility of “what could be,” between mission and values of grantees and those of the foundation, between being the recipient of advocacy by grantees and advocating on behalf of grantees. How do you creatively and effectively hold the tension between these and other realities year after year?

It helps to have a deep understanding of the field of philanthropy and grant making. It is essential to have skills that enable you to do the tasks and build the relationships that are part of your role. But what is often overlooked is the ongoing development of who you are as a person who leads in this field. It is this kind of professional development that makes you a grounded, energized, focused, and trustworthy leader.

Join us for an exploration into the life of leaders in philanthropy. We will provide a space for you to reflect on central questions in your work and life, and we'll help you identify ways to maintain your integrity and authenticity in the midst of competing demands. You will engage in important conversations with colleagues who share similar challenges and opportunities – learning from one another’s experiences. And you will explore fundamental questions at the heart of philanthropy.

Skilled facilitators will guide you in reflection as you take a journey of personal and professional discovery.


What To Expect

  • Explore practices that can be applied to your work and daily life, helping you to stay true to who you who you are, even in challenging times;
  • Experience a rare opportunity to slow down and to focus without distraction on what matters most to you; and
  • Connect with grantmakers across the region and learn what others are doing and thinking.


About the Facilitators

Marcy Jackson is Co-founder and Senior Fellow for the Center for Courage & Renewal. She served as Co-Director of the Center for 13 years and developed and directed the Courage & Renewal Facilitator Preparation Program for 16 years. Her current responsibilities include supporting the ongoing development of 200+ facilitators in the United States, Canada, UK, Korea and Australasia; leading Courage to Lead retreats for young leaders and activists; and contributing to the dissemination of ideas and writing related to the Circle of Trust® approach. She has been facilitating Courage & Renewal retreats since 1996 with people from a variety of backgrounds and professions, including philanthropy. Marcy has served on several non-profit and community boards. Previously, she worked with individuals, groups, and families as a child and family therapist, grief counselor and group facilitator.


Ken Saxon has facilitated groups for more than 20 years. Following a successful business career as an entrepreneur, he put his skills to work in the nonprofit sector as a Board leader and facilitator. Ken co-founded Leading From Within to invest in and nurture nonprofit leaders, who play such a critical role in the health of our communities. He is an alumnus of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Princeton University. Ken serves on the boards of the Orfalea Foundation and Santa Barbara Middle School. He co-founded the Courage to Lead program for experienced nonprofit executive leaders in 2008, and Leading From Within's Emerging Leaders Program in 2013. Ken was awarded the 2012 Man of the Year Award by the Santa Barbara Foundation for his significant and positive impact on the community.


Testimonials - Your Colleagues on "The Heart of Philanthropy"

I encourage my peers in philanthropy to participate in Heart of Philanthropy. It provides a special forum for reflection, values affirmation, and an opportunity to explore the "why" of our work, both as individuals and as a community.
— Claire Peeps, Executive Director, The Durfee Foundation, Los Angeles

Heart of Philanthropy is a once in a lifetime experience to look deep inside yourself and reconnect and recharge for our work and continued journey.
— Belen Vargas, Vice President-Programs, Weingart Foundation, Los Angeles

The Heart of Philanthropy Retreat is a very unique process that takes a philanthropy leadership retreat to a deeper level, definitely worthwhile!
— Joseph Prevratil, President & CEO, Archstone Foundation, Los Angeles

Heart of Philanthropy helped us get some distance from the day-to-day pressures and demands and have an opportunity for reflection, exploration and bonding with others who share one's mission-driven purpose. I also appreciated the opportunity to connect with other executives wrestling with similar challenges.
— Kim Belshé, Executive Director, First 5 LA, Los Angeles

I attended with a bit of reluctance since I’m not a “retreat” kind of person but the structure, environment and camaraderie with other attendees offered through the Heart of Philanthropy contributed to a rewarding experience. I’ve also followed up on some connections that I made that will benefit my foundation and community
— Al Rodriguez, Vice President-Community Investments, Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara

I attended Heart of Philanthropy with an open mind (and an open heart) because the program seemed to call to me at just the right juncture of my personal and professional life. It did not disappoint and I returned with stronger conviction and sharper clarity about why I am drawn to philanthropy. I learned to listen in a different way, I shared in a way that was uninhibited, and returned feeling deeply satisfied and enriched.
— Margarita Ramirez, Deputy Director of Grantmaking, Liberty Hill Foundation, Los Angeles

Heart of Philanthropy provides an opportunity to reflect on and reimagine your work. This kind of retreat will also be helpful for someone at an inflection pont or at a crossroad in their life/career.
—Cristina Regalado, Board Fellow, The Durfee Foundation, Los Angeles

Participating in the the Heart of Philanthropy Retreat was exactly what I needed but didn't know it - right people, right place, right time, right environment to explore some important questions and get re-grounded.
— Geoff Green, former Executive Director, Fund For Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara (now CEO of Santa Barbara City College Foundation)

Visit to register.


  • The program fee of $850 per person includes tuition, meals, and a private room at La Casa de Maria.
  • Limited financial assistance funds for The Heart of Philanthropy retreat are available, thanks to underwriting from The Angell Foundation. If your organization can’t afford the full cost of the retreat and you want to participate, you can request a 50% scholarship ($425) when applying for the retreat. Once you have completed the application and submitted your deposit, we will reply and confirm the availability of financial assistance for you. We will refund your deposit if we are unable to offer enough financial assistance to allow for your participation

Who May Attend:
SCG member and eligible non-member CEO's, senior leadership team members and Program Officers with a minimum of three years’ experience in the field.

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
Special Initiatives