CANCELLED: 2020 National Conference

Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts, the 2020 National Conference provides participants with information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

Event Details

Update – Wednesday, March 18, 2020

It is with regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 National Conference scheduled to take place April 27-29, 2020 in Boston. This difficult decision was made out of deep concern for the health and well-being of our participants, speakers, staff, partners, and the broader community. GEO has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus). Based on the latest guidance from federal and state officials, it has become clear that cancellation was the right course of action in response to this global health crisis. We don’t want to put our community or those you care about in danger or risk adding to the spread of this disease.

This decision has been heartbreaking to our team of staff and member volunteers who were eager to bring that participants together to exchange the information, connections and experiences we need to foster smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofits and communities. Our National Conferences are the largest gatherings of the GEO community and we always look forward to hearing about innovative work leading to lasting change in the world. We had been holding out hope that things would take a more positive turn, but recent news has made it clear that it’s not possible for us to hold the conference.

In the coming weeks, we will be engaging GEO members to find alternative ways to share some of the content participants would have experienced in Boston. We also look forward to providing other virtual programming throughout 2020, including member calls, webinars and remote learning series. Member networks like the Capacity Building Champions, Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship and Strategic Learners Network continue to connect.

Looking ahead, we urge you to cancel your airfare and hotel reservations. We are incredibly thankful to registrants who have already reached out to let us know that they want to donate their registration fees to GEO as a form of support. We appreciate this gesture, which will help us offset conference costs already incurred over the past year of planning and cancellation fees, as well as support alternative programming. We understand that not everyone is in the position to do so, so please complete this form to indicate your refund preference by April 8, 2020. We also thank you for extending our staff patience as they respond to your inquiries in the coming weeks, especially as GEO, like many organizations, has transitioned to working remotely right now as another response to the pandemic.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your commitment to the success of this conference. We deeply appreciate the nearly one thousand of you who registered to participate, the volunteer planning and host committees, presenters, sponsors, our regional partner Philanthropy Massachusetts, and peer event hosts who shared their time, perspectives, collaboration, and leadership to put together what we know would have been an inspiring program. We are sad not to be with you next month.

As we all adjust work schedules and routines in response to the pandemic, we encourage you to consider how you can support nonprofits in ways that let them do their important work even better. The organizations and communities you support are no doubt already responding to the needs arising from this situation, along with the systemic gaps and inequities crises exacerbate. We encourage grantmakers in the GEO community to make that easier for them to do. How to do so is not a mystery: the practices our community has advocated are the right ones to employ now: centering nonprofit and community needs discovered through trust-based relationships; streamlining and speeding processes to reduce administrative burdens and let nonprofits focus on the work; making larger, more flexible and longer-term grants; understanding historic and contemporary forces that will lead to differential impacts for marginalized communities; and supporting organizational, network and movement capacities for the long haul.

As you continue to seek transformational change for individuals, communities and the world, we will look forward to continuing to find ways to convene and connect you.

Thank you for being part of the GEO community,

The GEO Team

Thank you to Philanthropy Massachusetts for their partnership on this conference.

national conference 2020

Start: Monday, April 27, 7:30 AM Eastern

End: Wednesday, April 29, 2:00 PM Eastern

Please review our Conference Policy

Conference Schedule

Additional session details will be made available soon. To get a sense of what our National Conferences look like, check out this program from a recent GEO National Conference!

Sunday April 26, 2020

Time Event Type
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Peer Events
3:00 – 6:30 p.m. Registration Available
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Early Arrivers Social Hour

Monday, April 27, 2020

Time Event Type
9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Pre-conference Workshops
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Opening Session Luncheon
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Networking Break
2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions Round A
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Active Hour
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Peer Events
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Welcome Reception [Off-site]

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Time Event Type
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Networking Breakfast w/ peer hosted roundtables
9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Networking Break
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions Round B
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Networking Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions Round C
12:15 – 12:30 p.m. Networking Break
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Plenary Luncheon
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Networking Break
3:00 – 4:45 p.m. Short Talks (3 speakers featured in each round)
  • Round 1: 3:00 – 3:25 p.m.
  • Round 2: 3:40 – 4:05 p.m.
  • Round 3: 4:20 – 4:45 p.m.
  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Social Hour
    7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Peer hosted or self-organized dinners

    Wednesday, April 29, 2020

    Time Event Type
    6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Active Hour
    7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Peer Events
    8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Plenary Breakfast
    10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions Round D
    11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Closing Session Luncheon
    1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Peer Events

    2020 National Conference

    Registration Dates/Rates

    Priority Registration
    (GEO Members Only)

    Wednesday, January 15 - Wednesday, January 22

    GEO Members $850

    Early Bird Registration

    Thursday, January 23 – Wednesday, January 29

    GEO Members $850

    Philanthropy Mass Members $1,050

    Early Bird Registration
    (All Eligible Participants)

    Thursday, January 30 – Wednesday, February 5

    GEO Members $850

    Philanthropy Mass Members $1,050

    Nonmembers $1,350

    Regular Registration

    Thursday, February 6 - Friday, March 20

    GEO Members $950

    Philanthropy Mass Members $1,150

    Nonmembers $1,450

    Late Registration

    Saturday, March 21 – Conference

    GEO Members $1,050

    Philanthropy Mass Members $1,250

    Nonmembers $1,550

    • Friday, March 27 - payment deadline; no refunds after this date
    • Friday, March 27 - all individuals on Wait List notified of status


    Conference Planning Committee

    • Mailee Walker, Claneil Foundation (chair)
    • Lori Bezahler, Edward Hazen Foundation
    • Michelle Foster, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
    • Raymond Foxworth, First Nations Development Institute
    • Gladys Hairston, John Rex Endowment
    • Michael Ibrahim, Massachusetts Cultural Council
    • Susan Johnson, Lumina Foundation
    • Wendy Lewis, McCune Charitable Foundation
    • Jamaica Maxwell, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
    • Alex McCray, Philanthropy Massachusetts
    • Karla Miller, Northwest Area Foundation
    • Nwando Obele, TSNE Mission Works
    • Lindsay Ryder, Neighborhood Funders Group

    Conference Host Committee

    • James Canales, Barr Foundation (co-chair)
    • David Moy, The Hyams Foundation, Inc. (co-chair)
    • Miki C. Akimoto, Bank of America
    • Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, (formerly) Solidago Foundation
    • Lydia Bergen, Fidelity Foundation
    • Kathryn Everett, The Lynch Foundation
    • Nicholas Donohue, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
    • Elizabeth Francis, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
    • Paul Grogan, The Boston Foundation
    • Barbara Harman, Harman Family Foundation
    • Aimee Hendrigan, The Melville Charitable Trust
    • Marianna Islam, The Schott Foundation for Public Education
    • Joanna Jacobson, One8 Foundation
    • Jay Kim, Foundation for MetroWest
    • Liana Krupp, The Krupp Family Foundation
    • Melissa Luna, GreenLight Fund
    • Elizabeth Lynn, van Beuren Charitable Foundation Inc.
    • Kirsten Martin, Red Sox Foundation
    • Laura McCargar, Perrin Family Foundation
    • Mike Monopoli, DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement
    • Elaine Ng, TSNE MissionWorks
    • Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim, Ruderman Family Foundation
    • Amanda Northrop, State Street Foundation
    • Kelly Nowlin, Surdna Foundation
    • Christopher O'Keeffe, Greater Worcester Community Foundation
    • Kim Philbrick McCabe, The Klarman Family Foundation
    • Anne Phillips, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
    • Mary Phillips, GMA Foundations
    • Jeffrey Poulos, Philanthropy Massachusetts
    • Geeta Pradhan, Cambridge Community Foundation
    • Dian Quinn, Doree Taylor Charitable Foundation
    • Jay Ruderman, Ruderman Family Foundation
    • Bekah Salwasser, Red Sox Foundation
    • Diana Samarasan, Disability Rights Fund
    • Audrey Shelto, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, Inc.
    • Peter Taylor, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
    • John Vasconcellos, Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts
    • Charlotte Wagner, Wagner Foundation
    • Mary Walachy, Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation
    • Tim Wilmot, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
    • Andrew Wolk, Root Cause
    • Katie Zobel, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts


    Thank you to our conference supporters!

    Additional Supporters

    Akilah Massey


    Reach out to our Vice President of Programs

    Email Akilah
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