The Learning Conference 2015
Members listen to Fail Fest presenters at The Learning Conference 2015.

The Learning Conference 2015

GEO’s The Learning Conference 2015 convened 300 leaders in philanthropy who recognize that learning in partnership with others leads to better results.

Event Details

This conference explored how grantmakers can learn more collaboratively, ensuring that nonprofits and other partners have the information they need to drive decisions that improve their work. Through a mix of session formats, structured networking and informal conversations with peers, participants explored ways to build trusting relationships to generate stronger information, decisions and performance.

Start: Wednesday, June 10, 9:00 AM Eastern

End: Thursday, June 11, 2:00 PM Eastern

Hosted in partnership with Associated Grant Makers.

Get more travel details here

Participant Roster

More than 300 grantmakers joined us in Boston to uncover how we can most effectively learn together.

Program and Resources

Detailed Program

You can find the full program — and resources from every session — here.

Click through on the individual titles at that link to access and download resources from each session.

Share what you learned

Share your conference ideas and takeaways with your teammates by hosting an informal lunch and discussion. Use and adapt this PowerPoint template to give a presentation on what you’re most excited about!

Learning with others gives us greater assurance that we are asking the right questions, allows for a deeper understanding of our work, and shares learning among a broader group of partners. Sessions addressed topics such as:

  • Engaging stakeholders: How do we ensure our foundation’s strategy and learning agenda reflect the knowledge, learning interests and priorities of people outside of the organization?
  • Boosting grantee capacity for learning and evaluation: What should we be doing or changing to support the evaluative capacity nonprofits need to acquire and make use of relevant performance information?
  • Embracing transparency and failure: Do we give ourselves, our grantees and our colleagues permission to experiment, fail, talk about why things got off track and try again?
  • Building internal capacity to sustain learning: What are practical models for creating time and space for staff reflection and real-time learning for improvement?

Session Videos

Watch what happened

GEO recorded a number of the sessions from The Learning Conference 2015, ranging from short talks to full-length plenary sessions. Get a taste of the conference and, especially if you were a participant, consider sharing these videos with your colleagues.

Check out all videos
Reflection wall at The Learning Conference 2015.


Check out these wonderful images to see everything participants did at The Learning Conference 2015.

See them all here

Conference Planning Committee

  • Danielle Breslin, Blue Cross and BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation (Chair)
  • Marty Campbell, College Futures Foundation
  • Joshua Joseph, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Melody Keim, Lancaster County Community Foundation
  • Cheryl McAfee, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Travis McCready, The Boston Foundation
  • Ify Mora, Barr Foundation
  • Kelci Price, The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Brian Quinn, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Ramani Sripada, Associated Grant Makers
  • Rosanna Tran, California HealthCare Foundation

Our Regional Partner

Associated Grant Makers

Founded in 1969, AGM is a diverse and vibrant membership association of highly engaged philanthropic organizations and individuals with interests in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. As a leading and influential voice and advocate for effective philanthropy, AGM provides access to knowledge and cooperative action that enables our members to create extraordinary value for each other, their grantees and to collectively shape the future of a healthy and vital region.

Learn more about AGM
Associated Grant Makers

Thank you to our sponsors!

$25,000 and up

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Barr Foundation
  • Bruner Foundation
  • The Klarman Family Foundation
  • The Walton Family Foundation

Additional Supporters

  • The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation
  • The BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation
  • The Boston Foundation
  • College Futures Foundation
  • The Colorado Health Foundation
  • DentaQuest Foundation
  • Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
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