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Being the Change: Foundations Transforming for Greater Impact

Friday, September 28, 2018
9:30am - 12:00pm PDT
The Joan Palevsky Center for the Future of Los Angeles
281 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $100.00
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Today, many foundations are re-examining the role they can play in addressing society's most challenging problems. As foundations embrace more ambitious and complex approaches for creating social change, they are taking an intentional approach to rethinking their own makeup to achieve the greatest impact. They recognize that you can’t make change “out there” if you don’t make change “in here.” Foundations are experimenting with new practices and sharing what they are learning in order to create dialogue about emerging ideas and effective practice.

FSG will present examples of new approaches that some foundations are using across four areas of practice—staffing philosophy, structure and design, skill development and supportive culture—to foster greater connectivity, vibrancy and engagement both internally and externally, ultimately opening up new avenues for impact.

Join us to:

  • Learn how peer foundations are rethinking their goals for creating social change and the role that the foundation and its staff members play in achieving those goals
  • Hear examples of peer foundations that have transformed staff size, structures, skill development and cultures to support its strategies
  • Interact with and explore ideas with your colleagues and peers


This session will build on research conducted by FSG with the support of six funders. It will include distilled themes from conversations with 114 leaders and staff from 50 funders and 8 philanthropic services organizations. 

The Being the Change report outlines 12 ways foundations are transforming themselves for greater impact, through their staffing philosophy, structure and design, skill development and organizational culture. In addition, this session will provide time to connect with other local foundation staff to discuss lessons learned and challenges in adapting approaches to staffing.

Check out Being the Change for a sneak peek of the research findings. 



Session Leader

Abigail Stevenson, Director, FSG

Abigail Stevenson is a Director at FSG’s San Francisco office with over ten years of work experience in the healthcare and consulting fields. She has worked with a number of leading health foundations and hospitals systems, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, The California Health Care Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. She has also helped build collective impact efforts to address childhood obesity, diabetes and childhood asthma. She graduated with honors from the joint MBA and MPH program at UC Berkeley. She earned a BA, magna cum laude, in Economics from Dartmouth College and was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico.





Fred Ali, President and CEO, Weingart Foundation

Fred Ali has more than 40 years of senior management experience with philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government. He began his career in 1972 as a volunteer teacher and counselor in a small western Alaska village. Over the next 19 years, Fred held a number of leadership positions in Alaska with nonprofit organizations, state government and higher education. Fred was appointed President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation in 1999. He serves on the boards of Covenant House California, the MLK Health and Wellness Community Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. Fred also chairs the board of advisors for the University of Southern California's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and co-chairs the Center’s national advisory committee for the Irene Hirano Inouye’s Philanthropic Leadership Fund.




Thomas Brewer, MSW, MPH, MBA, Director, Finance & Administration, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

In May 2013, Thomas Brewer joined the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and is the Director, Finance & Administration. Thomas brings over 20 years of human and health services and philanthropic experience to the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Thomas worked as the Director of Programs for the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust and Archstone Foundation. During his tenure with both the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust and Archstone Foundation, Thomas managed grantmaking strategies and the program teams. Previously, Thomas worked for Alliance Healthcare Foundation, the Healthcare Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and practiced clinical social work at Scripps Hospital – Chula Vista and at Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Earlier, Thomas worked as a social worker with incarcerated youth at King County Juvenile Detention Facility and Echo Glen Children’s Center, the Washington State institution for incarcerated youth. He is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare. He also received a Master in Social Work and a Master in Public Health from San Diego State University, College of Health & Human Services and Graduate School of Public Health. In 2006, Thomas obtained a Master of Business Administration at the University of California, Irvine.


Tamara Lewis, Vice President, Talent and Culture, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Tamara Lewis oversees the Talent and Culture initiatives at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. In this role, she leads the Foundation’s efforts to create an inspiring and engaging atmosphere for its employees. Prior to joining the Hilton Foundation, she led the global talent management efforts at CARE USA. There she was responsible for directing the organization’s long term vision, strategy and operational initiatives in the area of global compensation, talent management, leadership succession and inclusion. Tamara holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Dowling College and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hunter College.





Event in partnership with:


SCG members: No cost to participate
Non-members: $100

Who May Attend
SCG members and non-members, leadership and staff of private, corporate, community, public and family foundations

SCG members, please log in to your SCG account to register. 
Non-members, please email [email protected].

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.


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