The 2016 election ushered in sweeping changes to government policies, political realities and social justice flashpoints. Many foundations found their funding landscape altered abruptly and intensely as grantee priorities shifted in response to legislative action and community reaction. Over the past year, convenings have been held for funders on proposed and enacted policy changes on immigration, the environment, health care, arts & culture, and democracy and civil liberties.
We plan to explore whether funders have changed funding strategies and processes under a vastly different presidential administration. We will center group discussion and panel presentations on how philanthropic strategies have changed in the last year either proactively or responsively, whether grant making processes have adjusted to incorporate collaboration or new approaches by Board/Staff, and what priority learning and action agendas are planned going forward into 2018.
This funder-only discussion is jointly sponsored by Philanthropy Massachusetts and Exponent Philanthropy. The session is designed to be valuable to trustees, donor advisors, and staff of funders throughout the region.
Myron Miller, Trustee, Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation
Myron Miller is Trustee of the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation, a charitable foundation started in 1997, honoring his parents. Its mission is to empower disadvantaged communities in Greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts. The Foundation supports civic engagement, advocacy, and grassroots community organizing, primarily in communities of color, immigrant communities and other disadvantaged groups. The Foundation is also dedicated to improving the infrastructure and collaborative organizations that support local community advocacy activities. Myron is responsible for direction of Foundation policy, collaboration with other funders and nonprofits, and management of financial assets. He spends considerable time and energy in interaction with applicants and grantees, before, during and after grants are made. A special arm of the Foundation, the Miller Innovation Fund, was started in 2011 to support new or experimental approaches, tools and practices leading to improvements in community life. In his professional work, Myron is an architect and planner, founder and principal of MDS/Miller Dyer Spears Inc. in Boston. He has three adult children and three young granddaughters.
Melissa Spatz, Program Director, Piper Fund
As Director of the Piper Fund, Melissa brings over 25 years’ experience as a community organizer, non-profit executive, and attorney. Prior to joining Piper in 2012 (and assuming the director role in 2014), she led two award-winning Chicago-based organizations and national organizing campaigns through the National People’s Action network. Her work has addressed a wide range of issues including media justice, housing rights, police accountability, health care, and gender equity. Melissa has founded and co-founded numerous projects and organizations, including the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, the Women’s Rights Project at Human Rights Watch, the Chicago Freedom School, Chicago Youth United, and the Center for Emerging Leadership. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and a JD from Columbia Law School.
Denise Porche, Executive Director, The Island Foundation
Denise Porché is the Executive Director of the Island Foundation in Marion, MA. Prior to this position, she was a fellow at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School where she worked on inclusion projects and briefs. She was also a member of the Harvard Diversity Working Group. Denise also directed the Office for Child. Denise founded the National Safe Environment Leadership Conference, which convenes directors annually across the United States to address sex abuse prevention in the Catholic Church.
Denise participated in the EGA China Distance Learning Program and went on the learning tour to China in 2014.