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Heart of Philanthropy Leadership Retreat

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - 4:00pm to Friday, January 30, 2015 - 12:00pm PST
La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center
800 El Bosque Rd., Montecito, CA 93108
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This program is sold out!

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 grantmaking. It is essential to have skills and 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.

At the retreat, you’ll engage in an exploration into the life of leaders in philanthropy and explore fundamental questions at the heart of our field. Skilled facilitators will guide you in reflection and a journey of personal and professional discovery:

  • 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
  • connect with grantmakers across the region and learn what others are doing and thinking

This will be a space for you to reflect on central questions in your work and life. The retreat will help you identify ways to maintain your integrity and authenticity in the midst of competing demands. Join this special opportunity to engage in important conversations with colleagues who share similar challenges and opportunities, and learn from one another’s experiences.


Cindy Johnson
Founding Director, Courage & Renewal North Texas

Cindy Johnson was the Founding Director of Courage & Renewal – North Texas for 13 years and has offered courage and renewal experiences locally and nationally to leaders from many sectors since 1998. She co-designed and facilitated the initial Heart of Philanthropy Retreats for Northern California Grantmakers. A social worker by training, Johnson has provided executive leadership to nonprofit organizations and community initiatives for more than 30 years. Her passion is creating space for people to remember who they are, reconnect with their work in the world, and create organizations and communities that are life-giving and create positive change.

Ken Saxon
Founder and President, Leading from Within
Facilitator, Courage to Lead
Facilitator, Emerging Leaders Program

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. Saxon 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. Saxon 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. Saxon was awarded the 2012 Man of the Year Award by the Santa Barbara Foundation for his significant and positive impact on the communities.

Participant Testimonials - Your Colleagues on The Heart of Philanthropy:

"I had the privilege of attending a Heart of Philanthropy retreat in Northern California, and have been longing for the program to come to Southern California. It's here at last!  I encourage my peers in philanthropy to participate. 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

"It was unlike any other conference I had attended in my more-than-twenty years in philanthropy.  I left with a better understanding of the powerful — and almost unspoken — dynamics between and among funders, non-profit leaders, and the community at large.  Even more important, I gained both a greater awareness of self and a more nuanced appreciation of my personal role in those dynamics.  And I can not leave out that I walked away with a lightness in my step and wearing a big smile."
— Ron Gallo, President & CEO, Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara

Heart of Philanthropy creates an invaluable space for reflection on one’s core values and a renewal of purpose, passion and commitment to our work.  Just as important, the retreat program provides the opportunity to strengthen connections with peers and provide mutual support.
— Vera de Vera, Director (Community Building Initiative), California Community Foundation, Los Angeles

"In our role as a grantmaker, we are required to make choices which require that we have a very clear sense of who we are and what impact we are trying to make in the world.  Taking time to reflect and reaquaint ourselves with "why" we do this work helps us remain passionate about the vision we are pursuing.
— Janine Mason, Executive Director, The Fieldstone Foundation, San Diego

"This retreat gave me an energizing opportunity for deep self-reflection, to remind me of my aspirations, and my personal and professional choices and needs.
— Catherine Brozowski, Vice President, The Orfalea Foundation, Santa Barbara

This program is sold out.

$750 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 ($375) 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:
CEO's, senior leadership team members, and program officers with a minimum of three years of experience in the field from SCG member organizations and eligible non-member organizations


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