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A GEO member speaks at a recent conference.

2018 National Conference

Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy California, the 2018 National Conference will provide participants with the information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

Event Details

We rely on our peers for fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about tough challenges. That’s why GEO’s 2018 National Conference is the perfect opportunity for grantmakers of all backgrounds to come together, explore the most relevant topics in the field and problem solve with like-minded peers. A drive to learn from one another first brought the GEO community together in 1998. And it has fueled our success every step of the way since. Working together over the past 20 years, we’ve challenged each other to think differently, focus on what matters most to nonprofits’ success, and find ways to live out our values in our daily work.

Recent events may have inspired you to question what role philanthropy plays in creating change — and what your individual role is in advocating for shifts in the field. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from diverse voices in a variety of formats and engage with the perspectives, stories and experiences of grantmakers on the same journey to improve. Help us celebrate our 20th anniversary by contributing your voice to the conversation and walk away with information, connections and experiences that enhance your path to more effective grantmaking.

Start: Monday, April 30, 8:00 AM Pacific

End: Wednesday, May 2, 2:30 PM Pacific

Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

The 2018 National Conference has reached capacity, and registration for this event is currently closed.

Join the wait list

Please note that the hotel block is full, and the Hyatt Regency is unable to offer additional rooms. Learn about other nearby accommodations here.


The 2018 National Conference has reached capacity, and registration for this event is currently closed. Interested individuals may add their names to the wait list.

Join the wait list

Before you attend the 2018 National Conference, take a few moments to review the conference policies.

Registration Rates

Priority Registration
(GEO Members Only)

January 16 - February 12

GEO Members $850

Early Bird Registration

February 13 – February 19

GEO Members $850

Philanthropy California Members $1,050

Early Bird Registration
(All Eligible Participants)

February 20 – February 28

GEO Members $850

Philanthropy California Members $1,050

Nonmembers $1,350

Regular Registration

March 1 – April 20

GEO Members $950

Philanthropy California Members $1,150

Nonmembers $1,450

Late Registration

April 21 – Conference

GEO Members $1,050

Philanthropy California Members $1,250

Nonmembers $1,550

Program Highlights

The 2018 National Conference will push participants to think critically about changes they can make to their work to advance smarter grantmaking practices. The conference program will feature a mix of session formats, structured networking and time for informal conversations with peers including:

  • Pre-Conference Workshops: These two-hour workshops will provide a deeper dive into topics related to equity and evaluation practice, creating a culture focused on equity, crisis management for funders and getting to know the GEO community.
  • Breakout Sessions: Participants will choose from 38 breakout sessions, designed by members of the GEO community, covering topics such as equity; culture; organizational change; capacity building; collaboration; flexible and reliable funding; learning and evaluation; and strengthening relationships.
  • Plenary Sessions: Participants will hear from grantmaker and nonprofit speakers on topics related to exploring the evolving definition of effectiveness and what it might require us to leave behind, the necessity of racial equity in effective grantmaking and how we can come together around our shared vision for the future.
  • Short Talks: These energizing, succinct, 20-minute keynote style sessions will offer fresh perspectives from thought leaders within and outside philanthropy.
  • Site Visits: Explore the vibrancy of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors of San Francisco.

Sunday, April 29

4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Early Arrivers Happy Hour

Monday, April 30

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pre-Conference Workshops
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Opening Session Luncheon
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions Round A
(choose one of ten options)
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Active Hour
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Welcome Reception

Tuesday, May 1

6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Active Hour
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8:30 – 10:45 a.m. Site Visits
9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Break
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions Round B
(choose one of 10 options)
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions Round C
(choose one of 10 options)
12:15 – 12:30 p.m. Break
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Plenary Luncheon
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 – 4:45 p.m. Short Talks
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Social Hour with Short Talk Speakers
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. CEO/Trustee Reception
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dine Arounds

Wednesday, May 2

6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Active Hour
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Plenary Breakfast
10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions Round D (choose one of 8 options)
11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Closing Session

Scroll down to see session titles, descriptions and resources listed in chronological order

Or click here to view the printed conference program.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

How to join us

There's a lot to see and do in San Francisco, and we're excited to see you there.

Find out about travel details

Networking Opportunities

Through both formal and informal activities, GEO conferences offer a great opportunity for participants to make connections with their peers, hear fresh ideas and ask questions related to shared challenges.

Check out all the opportunities
Members catch up before the plenary at GEO's 2016 National Conference

Participant Roster

See who will be attending the 2018 National Conference

View all participants

Our Regional Partner

Philanthropy California

Philanthropy California is an initiative of Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), San Diego Grantmakers (SDG), and Southern California Grantmakers (SCG).

Learn more about Philanthropy California
Philanthropy California Logo


Conference Planning Committee

  • Grace Hou, Woods Fund Chicago (co-chair)
  • Stacy Van Gorp, R. J. McElroy Trust (co-chair)
  • Gillian Darlow, Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Erika Seth Davies, formerly of Baltimore Community Foundation
  • Christina Garcia, Consultant; formerly of The James Irvine Foundation
  • Neel Hajra, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Curtis Holloman, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg
  • Hanh Le, Weissberg Foundation
  • Daniela Pineda, First 5 LA
  • Phuong Quach, Northern California Grantmakers
  • Chera Reid, The Kresge Foundation
  • Jacqueline Erickson Russell, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Gage Weekes, Hollingsworth Funds, Inc.
  • Tim Wilmot, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
  • Hanh Cao Yu, The California Endowment

Conference Host Committee

  • Judy Belk, The California Wellness Foundation (co-chair)
  • Carol Larson, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (co-chair)
  • Berit Ashla, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Carrie Avery, The Durfee Foundation
  • Dawne Bear Novicoff, Jim Joseph Foundation
  • Alexandra Caraballo, Kaiser Permanente
  • Kara Carter, California Health Care Foundation
  • Jody Chang, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
  • Nicky Conroy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Pamela David, Walter and Elise Haas Fund
  • Karie Dewan, Stupski Foundation
  • Christine Elbel, Fleishhacker Foundation
  • Deanna Gomby, Heising-Simons Foundation
  • Kendall Guthrie, College Futures Foundation
  • James Head, East Bay Community Foundation
  • Britanny Imwalle, Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Surina Khan, The Women’s Foundation of California
  • Barbara Kibbe, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • Larry Kramer, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Ellen LaPointe, Northern California Grantmakers
  • Daniel Lee, Levi Strauss Foundation
  • Jennie Lehua Watson, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
  • Allison Magee, Zellerbach Family Foundation
  • Ash McNeely, Sand Hill Foundation
  • Diane Parnes, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
  • Jennifer Rainin, Kenneth Rainin Foundation
  • Lateefah Simon, Akonadi Foundation
  • Alex Sloan, Tides
  • Claire Solot, Bigglesworth Family Foundation
  • Bob Uyeki, Y & H Soda Foundation
  • Dinah Waldsmith Dittman, Kaiser Permanente
  • Carolyn Wall Sakata, Sunlight Giving
  • Rick Williams, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Nancy Wiltsek, van Loben Sels/RembeRock Foundation


Additional Supporters

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