What We Learned Under One Sky

September 19, 2016

Updated November 9, 2016 with reflections from Montana funders! Scroll down past the slideshow.

If you joined us for our 2016 conference, Under One Sky in Missoula, Montana, you're probably still mentally unpacking all the conversations — particularly around supporting democracy and advancing equity in philanthropy.

As we return to our communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, we look forward to sharing detailed notes, professional photos and recaps from our staff, consultants and engaged members on our website, in our programs and through Philanthropy Northwest's October and November e-bulletins. In the meantime, check out our smartphone photos on the #PNW40 Facebook album and please enjoy this Storify slideshow of #PNW40 social media activity during the conference. (Hover your mouse over the images to see the accompanying text and links. If you're using a phone, better to view the slideshow as a list instead.)


Reflections From Montana Funders

For Mike Halligan, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation executive director, the conference provided an opportunity to dive deeply into philanthropy's role in our democracy. The TED talk-style presentations and breakout sessions led to powerful discussions with his peers around diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy, and how such concepts can be lived out in daily life and grantmaking.
“I was blown away by the personal stories participants shared and came away from the conference inspired to take what I had learned and build it into the culture of our foundation and the grantees we support,” he said.
Meredith Printz, Missoula Community Foundation director, said the themes of greater equity and inclusion have already impacted the direction of her board. “The conference sparked a discussion of how we can build a more inclusive organization that is better equipped to serve everyone in our community,” she explained. “Representation is the first step. We need to be sure that diverse voices are at the table influencing our work.”
Printz added that she felt inspired by larger foundations like Meyer Memorial Trust, Northwest Health Foundation and others taking “bold and necessary steps” to promote equity and inclusion by recruiting and training young people of color to thrive in the philanthropy field through Philanthropy Northwest’s Momentum Fellowship.

Mary Rutherford, Montana Community Foundation president and CEO, expressed gratitude for the practical examples and resources to actually put principles of diversity, equity and inclusion into practice at her foundation.

“We appreciated the opportunity to connect with others in our field where we could learn from and share with colleagues,” she said. “We’re thankful to be involved with Philanthropy Northwest.”

Celebrating Our 40th Anniversary

Under One Sky also celebrated Philanthropy Northwest's 40 years as a regional learning network. Established in 1976 as the Pacific Northwest Grantmakers Forum, we have spent four decades connecting a diverse group of philanthropic organizations over a shared vision: Northwest communities have vibrant, healthy futures that honor our past, our people and our cultures.

In case you missed it, here's a message from Nancy Nordhoff, our last living original board member, recorded on Whidbey Island, Washington a few weeks ago.

We Welcome Your Feedback

What did you learn at our conference that you're excited about applying to your work? Which topics should we continue exploring together in the coming year? Please share your own takeaways in the Comments section below, on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #PNW40 or by reaching out to a Philanthropy Northwest staff member.

Nicole Neroulias Gupte is Philanthropy Northwest's senior communications manager. She can be reached at ngupte@philanthropynw.org.