FIXME alt text

The Learning Conference 2019

Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy Northwest, The Learning Conference 2019 was designed to help participants make the leap from knowledge to action and to integrate learning into all aspects of their work. We offered a range of perspectives and new ideas to go beyond the basics and support funders in engaging in more intentional learning practices both inside and outside of their organizations.

Event Details

Through a mix of session formats, speakers from inside and outside our sector, structured networking, and informal discussions with peers, participants explored ways to design and implement evaluation and learning approaches that generate stronger information, decisions and performance.

Start: Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 AM Pacific

End: Thursday, May 30, 2:00 PM Pacific

Our Regional Partner

Philanthropy Northwest

We hosted the Learning Conference 2019 in partnership with Philanthropy Northwest

Learn more about Philanthropy Northwest
Philanthropy Northwest logo

Program Highlights


The Learning Conference 2019 offered a range of perspectives and new ideas to move beyond the basics, identify ways to weave new elements into learning, and gave take-home actionable tools to help participants turn learning into action. The conference program featured a mix of session formats, structured networking and time for informal conversations with peers including:

  • Breakout Sessions: Participants chose from 14 breakout sessions designed by members of the GEO community, covering topics such as the role of evaluation in social change and reciprocal learning
  • Plenary Sessions: Participants heard from grantmaker and nonprofit speakers on topics related to equitable evaluation and intersection of the neuroscience of learning and creativity
  • Short Talks: These energizing, succinct, 20-minute keynote style sessions offered fresh perspectives from thought leaders within and outside philanthropy.


2019 Learning Conference Program

(pdf, 4.88 MB)

Download the pdf

Networking Opportunities

The conference agenda made space for participants to make new connections and network with other participants. From the Peer Coaching Program to the Welcome Reception, there were opportunities for people to deepen their conference experience and leave with peer support to turn new knowledge into action at home.

Peer Coaching Program. Our Peer Coaching Program was a dedicated opportunity to get support and input from peers on particular questions related to learning. It was also a great opportunity to deepen networking and build new connections.

Welcome Reception. We hosted a reception for an evening of networking, cocktails, food and fun.

Peer-Hosted Events. Peer-hosted conversations took place during unprogrammed portions of the conference. Hosted by partners and GEO members, these conversations allowed participants to continue conversations on topics such as the use of feedback and pipelines for diverse evaluators.

Early Arrivers Happy Hour. We continued our tradition of starting the networking early with a space for participants to join fellow conference participants plus our planning and host committees for drinks and conversation.

Networking Breaks. The conference schedule offered informal and formal networking breaks throughout the three days so that participants could schedule meetings or simply catch up with peers.

Members chat at GEO's 2016 National Conference

Participant Roster

More than 500 grantmakers joined us in Seattle for the Learning Conference 2019.

Click here to download the participant roster
Photo of two people writing

Conference Resources and Videos

Some of our presenters shared resources for participants to continue their learning and reflection. Revisit content and look for resources that inspired you to share with colleagues back home. We also have video available of the conference plenary sessions and Short Talks. See videos from the Learning Conference 2019!

Check out conference resources and videos here!
Session participants


Check out these images from The Learning Conference 2019.

See them here

Follow the Conversation at #GEOLearn!

Conference Planning Process

Interested in GEO's conference planning process?


Conference Planning Committee

  • Ify Mora, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (chair)
  • Nadia Alia, The Tow Foundation
  • Stephen Chan, The Boston Foundation
  • Tracy Costigan, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Lori Fuller, The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
  • Raquel Gutierrez, Hispanics in Philanthropy
  • R. Mimi Iijima, Pennsylvania Humanities Council
  • Arani Kajenthira, Walton Family Foundation
  • Solomé Lemma, Thousand Currents
  • Cheryl Milloy, Marguerite Casey Foundation
  • Anjana Pandey, Philanthropy Northwest
  • Cindy Rizzo, Arcus Foundation
  • Dimitra Tasiouras, Circle of Service Foundation
  • Stephanie Teleki, California Health Care Foundation
  • Erik Torch, Northland Foundation

Conference Host Committee

  • Paul Beaudet, Wilburforce Foundation (chair)
  • Kiran Ahuja, Philanthropy Northwest (partner)
  • Audrey Haberman, Philanthropy Northwest (partner)
  • Anjana Pandey, Philanthropy Northwest (partner)
  • Michael Brown, Seattle Foundation
  • Sarah Buhayar, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Kathleen Edwards, Cedarmere Foundation
  • Melanie Matthews, Campion Advocacy Fund
  • Jennifer Teunon, Medina Foundation
  • Gunner Scott, Pride Foundation
  • Dave LaSarte-Meeks, Vadon Foundation
  • Bonnie Medina, Raikes Foundation
  • Jane Meseck, Microsoft Corporation
  • Marty McOmber, Casey Family Programs
  • Mike Quinn, Washington Statewide Capacity Collaborative
  • Kathleen Steffen, Seattle International Foundation
  • Luz Vega-Marquis, Marguerite Casey Foundation


Thank you to our conference supporters!

Additional Supporters

Akilah Massey


Reach out to our Director of Programs

Email Akilah
Back to top