Program Overview: Money and Power in Post-Election America


February 11, 2013 – New York University Kimmel Center

5:00-7:00pmReception and Dinner
7:00-8:30pmWhy I Do It: Prominent Donors Discuss Why and How They Participate Philanthropically and Politically
An After-Dinner Dialogue

What motivates Americans from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to passionately contribute to both philanthropy and politics? In this after-dinner conversation, journalist and civic advocate David Gergen interviews high-profile philanthropists and political donors on why they give, what has motivated their actions, how they give, how they know they’ve been successful or not and what they intend to do differently in light of their experiences in the last several political cycles.

  • Interviewer: David Gergen, Professor of Public Service, Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Senior Political Analyst, CNN
  • Abigail Disney, Filmmaker and Philanthropist
  • David Rubenstein, Co-CEO and Co-Founder, The Carlyle Group
  • Jonathan Soros, CEO, JS Capital Management LLC


February 12, 2013 – New York University Kimmel Center

8:30-9:30amThe Uneasy Relationship between Philanthropy and Politics: What A Century of History Suggests for the Future of Our Field—and Democracy
Opening Plenary

American philanthropists from Carnegie to Rockefeller to Gates have long engaged in social change activities, advocacy and politics. Congress and other institutions have as well, often investigating and acting on philanthropy’s tax exemptions, political prerogatives and freedom to advocate. Relationships have been both acrimonious and cooperative, sometimes both at the same time. Princeton historian Stanley Katz ties together the events in politics and philanthropy over the past century, highlights where the old and the new align, diverge or clash and what this suggests for the future.

  • Stanley Katz, Professor and Director, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
9:45-11:15amExercising Philanthropy’s Political Muscle: What’s the Role of Philanthropic Investment?
Concurrent Breakouts

Three discussions take place around subjects where philanthropy is deeply engaged, affected, challenging and challenged.

Education K-12

Activist funders have sought to reform education. But to what end? Have outside funders and their agendas made things better or worse? Where do educators and governments come in? Are we in a place of perpetual experimentation and conflict offering few scalable and sustained benefits to students, families and communities? Where are the new opportunities for philanthropy—and society?

  • Producer/moderator: Stanley Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM, President, IBM’s Foundation
  • Michele Cahill, Vice President, National Program, Program Director, Urban Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Mitchell Chester, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Anthony Miller, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education
  • Dennis Walcott, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Health Reform

Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s narrow decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the outcome of the 2012 elections, the ACA’s implementation remains in question and subject to continued public debate and legal and funding challenges at the state and federal level. What lessons do past philanthropic efforts tell us about how philanthropy might promote better health policy and more effective health systems? What constructive role can philanthropy play in implementation and service delivery? How will the new environment of politics, power and influence affect foundation grantmaking and the providers and consumers of care?

  • Producer: David Morse, Senior Fellow, and former Vice President for Communications, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Co-Producer/moderator: James Knickman, President and CEO, New York State Health Foundation
  • David Blumenthal, M.D., President and CEO, Commonwealth Fund
  • Sheila Burke, Faculty Research Fellow, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • Mark Smith, M.D., President and CEO, California Healthcare Foundation

Poverty, Equity and Access

What can foundations do on their own, in new types of collaborations and jointly with government, to expand equity and access and shrink the economic divide? Are there coalitions to be fostered? Can we finally talk about race and class? To what end?

  • Producer/moderator: Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
  • Peter Edelman, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center, Faculty Co-Chair, Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy
  • Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director, Gamaliel
  • Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies and Co-Director, Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution
  • Félix Matos Rodríguez, President, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College
11:30am-12:45pmThe Changing Political Landscape: Is Philanthropy Keeping Up?
Agora-Style Discussion

Philanthropy’s role in civil society has shifted dramatically over the last 30 years. In a world with three television networks as gatekeepers to the news, traditional philanthropy used to be able to forge consensus on key policy agendas. Like the old media environment, or the bipartisan comity that often reigned in DC and most statehouses, that world is gone. Except to the extent that the sector’s direct interests are involved, philanthropy’s voice is relatively absent from many key policy debates, while other funders, from super PACs to mega donors, have become more active and engaged. What is at stake if philanthropists do not become more effective policy players? How can old and new funders improve their policy game?

In this session, speakers and the audience will engage in a dialogue about how philanthropy can better impact policy change within America’s increasingly polarized political culture. Bring your cell phone and participate electronically in this interactive discussion.

  • Moderator: Gara LaMarche, Senior Fellow, New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, former President and CEO, Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Donna Edwards, Congresswoman, Maryland’s Fourth District, U.S. House of Representatives, former Executive Director, Arca Foundation
  • Heather McGhee, Vice President, Policy and Outreach, Demos
  • William Schambra, Director, Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal
1:00-2:00pmNetworking Lunch
2:00-3:30pmPhilanthropy in Post-Election America: What’s Next?
Rapid-Fire Observations and Closing Discussion

Inspiring leaders with philanthropy experience—but not philanthropy insiders—will offer 10-minute rapid-fire talks intended to spur new thinking on movement building, technology and communications, political engagement and other critical issues that may well alter philanthropy in the near future. Speakers will share 10-minute provocative talks on what philanthropy should look like in our next political cycle, including how donors should (or should not) strengthen political and governmental relationships for the common good. An interactive, facilitated conversation will follow, pulling together highlights from the presentations and, with audience participation, focus on philanthropy’s ability and willingness to leverage its money and power.

  • Andrew Rasiej, Founder, Personal Democracy Media, Chairman, NY Tech Meetup
  • Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York State