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2017 Fall Conference: VISION | VOICE | VALUES

Philanthropy Network’s 2017 Fall Conference

November 2, 2017 | Loews Philadelphia Hotel

Philanthropy Network's annual Fall Conference is a one-of-a kind regional gathering that brings together over 400 leaders from the philanthropic, nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors from throughout Greater Philadelphia. The event provides a unique meeting place for those of us engaged in building a stronger sector and region to convene, connect, learn and be inspired to think broadly and boldly about new ways to work together to increase our impact. 

Our conference in 2016 focused on coming together as a region and as a sector, to build a “more perfect union.” Since then, our sector has been besieged by a multitude of challenges; from immigration to education, health to LGBTQ issues, we have had to navigate a new and constantly shifting landscape to advance our work and ensure that the people, organizations and communities we serve continue to be protected, supported and enriched.

In these turbulent and troubling times, it is more important than ever that we, as representatives of the social impact sector, remain steadfast in our vision, voice and values by:

  • staying squarely focused on our organizations’ missions – our north star - while finding new and creative ways to work together in order to amplify our impact;
  • reaffirming and activating the core values that guide us and give our work meaning, both as individuals and organizations; and
  • speaking out about our work to drive positive change that advances a more just, equitable and prosperous region for all.

This year's event promises to be a unique opportunity for representatives of our region's social sector to come together to connect, reflect and learn alongside colleagues and partners, and be inspired to think broadly and boldly about new ways we can act and invest to increase our collective impact.


8:00 - 9:30 am COFFEE & CONVERSATION (beverages and light refreshments will be served)

Plan to arrive early to take advantage of this time to network with colleagues and visit with our sponsors who provide professional services to philanthropy and nonprofits.

9:30 am - 11:30 am MORNING PROGRAM

Welcome & Opening Remarks

• PAUL DILORENZO, President, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia; Senior Director for Strategic Consulting, Casey Family Programs

• SIDNEY HARGRO, Executive Director, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

Keynote Speaker

• DeAMON HARGES, Board Chair, Grassroots Grantmakers; Faculty, Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at DePaul University; and cofounder, The Learning Tree

Hailing from Indianapolis and known as the “Roving Listener,” artist and storyteller DeAmon Harges will speak about how he uses the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) to bring together neighbors and institutions to achieve a shared vision for stronger communities.

Activating Vision, Voice and Values for this Moment

Session Leader
• DAVID BRADLEY, Co-Founder, LiveConnections

Drawing on the imagery of the iconic American “front porch” as a unique gathering place where neighbors come together to discuss important issues in their community, we will together dive into a deeper discussion about the themes introduced by the morning speakers. We are collectively wrestling with times that call on both philanthropies and non-profits to respond with new investments and new strategies. In this town hall-style session, we will have the chance to share examples of new approaches and ask questions of the speakers (and each other) about how our actions in this moment can best embody the values we articulate.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm BREAK and TRANSITION

Further building on themes of Vision, Voice and Values, attendees will choose from three interactive workshops that will offer ideas and techniques to empower your work.

• Shared Vision: Getting to the Heart of Community Engagement

Weaving together highly diverse individuals and networks can spark creativity, uncover intersections and reveal common ground that can lead to groundbreaking solutions to community challenges. In order to foster truly thriving communities, we need to push the boundaries of our traditional circles to engage the widest possible range of stakeholders to create and sustain positive change. Using a human-centered design model, participants will learn the principles and practices that empower cross-sector partnerships built on trust, collaboration, and inclusion, and can lead to a shared, multi-faceted vision for the community.

Workshop Leaders:
Elizabeth Murphy, Director, and Kacy O'Brien, Director of Programs, Creative New Jersey

• Storytelling as Leadership

This interactive presentation will use the basic concepts of storytelling to craft a personal narrative that serves as a leadership tool.

Telling stories leads to a deeper human connection. Use a story from your life to help with your professional communication goals. We'll work with you to strategize what story to tell and
how to lead with it -- whether your goal is to build a team, get funding, or advocate for your organization.

Attendees will leave with the skills to use their authentic voice to cultivate a narrative that best represents who they are as a person, a leader, and the vision they stand behind.

Workshop Leader:
Hillary Rea, Founder, Tell Me a Story

• Inclusive Conversations: Connecting Values, Culture & Identity

Understanding that many of our communication challenges with colleagues, funders, grantees, clients and others are due to differing cultural norms, this session will examine the connection between values and cultural identity and how it affects our work. Participants will explore personal social identities - such as race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender – and through a process of critical self-reflection, assess their social location in relation to others and help identify communication challenges. Using active listening, participants will begin to uncover personal values and learn how to recognize bias that may influence decision-making or result in missed opportunities for trust-building and impact.

Workshop Leaders:
Hillary Blecker and Susanna Gilbertson, Co-Founders, The Blue Door Group

1:30 - 1:45 pm BREAK and TRANSITION
1:45 - 2:30 pm CLOSING PLENARY

In this final session, three members of our community will share personal stories about how the principles of Vision, Voice and Values have influenced and inspired their work to create positive change

  • Miss Nandi Muhammad
  • Chinwe Onyekere
  • Omar Woodard

Final Thoughts

• SIDNEY HARGRO, Philanthropy Network

2:30 pm ADJORN

Speaker biographies



Hailing from Indianapolis, artist and storyteller DeAmon Harges employs the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) to bring together neighbors and institutions to discover the resources that are already in place to help them achieve their vision for a stronger community.

As an artist, DeAmon uses his art for social change and community building. He is the original “Roving Listener” as a neighbor and staff member of the Broadway United Methodist Church, in Indianapolis, where his role is to listen and discover the gifts, passions and dreams of citizens in his community, and to find ways to utilize them in order to build community, economy, and mutual “delight.” DeAmon’s characterizes his work in general as the practice of “deep listening” and “positive deviance” from the typical models of neighborhood organizing.

He serves on the faculty of the Asset Based Community Development Institute, and is a founder of The Learning Tree, an association of neighbors in Indianapolis that uses ABCD principles to build community. In February 2017, he was named Board Chair of Grassroots Grantmakers, a network of place-based funders in the United States and Canada who supporting active citizenship and building civic capacity at the block level in their communities with scale-appropriate grants, a highly relational style of grantmaking, and a learning orientation.

In Philadelphia, DeAmon has worked on community projects with Partners for Sacred Places and The Village of Arts and Humanities.

» See DeAmon’s TEDx Indianapolis talk: Making the invisible visible

Morning Plenary

Session leader:
David Bradley 
Founding Director & Education Curator, LiveConnections

David BradleyDavid is a co-founder and curator of educational programming at LiveConnections, whose mission is to create unique programs that inspire learning and build community through collaborative music-making. He brings decades of experience as a producer, theater director, writer and arts educator to his work with LiveConnections. Throughout his career he has specialized in boundary-crossing artistic collaborations which frequently explore civic and community themes.

He is a long-time member of the resident ensemble at People’s Light, where his more than 30 productions include The Diary of Anne Frank, Row After Row, Of Mice and Men, The Crucible, A View From the Bridge, Young Lady From Rwanda, Doubt and The Giver. He’s the director of A Fierce Kind of Love by Suli Holum, commissioned by Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities. The play tells the story of Pennsylvania’s intellectual disabilities rights movement, had a sold-out run in Philadelphia and continues to be presented. He was playwright and director of Voices of Voting, commissioned by the Committee of Seventy as part of events surrounding the Democratic National Convention. He is Artistic Director of Living News which since 2006 has dramatized Constitutional issues at the National Constitution Center, where he also directed the exhibition/theater hybrid Fighting for Democracy. For Philadelphia Young Playwrights, he directed The Lost Hour at the Kimmel Center for the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. David has been a participating artist with Outside the Wire, which creates theater projects addressing public health and social issues, and has led and facilitated projects for them at conferences and military bases across the country and in the Middle East. David is a recipient of the Brighter Futures Historical Award from Philadelphia’s Intellectual Disability Services for his work with LiveConnections and A Fierce Kind of Love. He teaches at Arcadia University and is a graduate of Yale University.


Workshop Presenters

Hillary Blecker
Co-Founder, The Blue Door Group

Hillary BleckerHillary is a trainer and facilitator with 15 years’ experience designing and facilitating community-building trainings. Hillary has developed and facilitated trainings on workplace health and safety, community health and nutrition, diversity and conflict, and legislative advocacy and civic engagement. She has worked for labor unions, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and universities.

Hillary received her B.A. in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and her M.P.H. in Community Practice from the University of Washington. Hillary earned a Graduate Certificate in Diversity Leadership at Temple University, through which she learned the skills of Transformational Social Therapy (TST). TST is founded in the belief that, without creating space for conflict to arise and be addressed, there is violence. She is passionate about harnessing the power of conflict and dialogue to build relationships between and among people of diverse class, race, and gender identities.


Susanna Gilbertson
Co-Founder, The Blue Door Group

Susanna GilbertsonSusanna Gilberston is a founding partner of The Blue Door Group, a training, facilitation, and consulting group using interactive and participatory approaches to help clients deepen their impact. Susanna teaches in the Behavioral Health and Human Services program at the Community College of Philadelphia, and previously taught courses in Harcum College’s Human Services program. 

Her previous work includes both supervision and direct service counseling and advocacy on crisis hotlines, in domestic violence and homeless shelters, in an intimate partner violence counseling agency, in schools, and providing medical social work services in people’s homes. Susanna has designed and facilitated interactive trainings on intimate partner violence, sexual health, suicide prevention, ethics, and oppression for youth, professional, and community groups for over 18 years. 

Susanna received her Bachelor’s Degree from Haverford College in 1998 and earned her Masters of Social Work from San Francisco State University in 2004.


Elizabeth A. Murphy
Director, Creative New Jersey & Principal, The Murphy Group, Inc.

Elizabeth MurphyElizabeth A. Murphy is a recognized strategic thinker and facilitator with over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector (primarily in the arts, healthcare, philanthropy and disaster philanthropy).  As an Executive Director, Elizabeth successfully rebuilt two organizations which were nearly defunct, and led two others in achieving their greatest period of sustained financial growth and programmatic success.   Her consulting practice (The Murphy Group, Inc.) specializes in designing and facilitating dynamic stakeholder engagement meetings; creating innovative, original projects for philanthropy and nonprofits; program & resource development; and strategy retreats for optimizing missions and visions.

Since 2012, Elizabeth has led the development and execution of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s statewide initiative Creative New Jersey which focuses on “building better communities through creativity, collaboration and inclusivity”.  She has developed and facilitated community engagement programs in 12 cities and towns resulting in innovative cross-sector solutions taking hold.  In January 2016, she launched The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a two-year joint project of the Council of NJ Grantmakers (CNJG) and the Washington DC-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy (

Much of Elizabeth’s career has been spent working in the theatre.  She has produced over 125 theatrical productions throughout New York City; New Jersey; Belfast & Dublin, Ireland; the UK (London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Glasgow); and Sydney, Australia. Elizabeth served for four years as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ; in addition to teaching as a Guest Instructor at Hofstra University’s School of Continuing Education, NY, and at the University of Nevada (Graduate School – Masters Playwriting Program).  An active nonprofit Board Member for almost twenty years, she presently serves as the Board Vice President of Passage Theatre (Trenton, NJ), and on the national Creative Economy Coalition. 

Born and raised in New York City, Elizabeth holds dual citizenship – Irish and American, and from 2008 to 2012 she lived and worked in Ireland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College, University of Notre Dame.


Hillary Rea
Founder, Tell Me A Story

Hillary ReaHillary Rea is an award-winning storyteller and founder of Tell Me A Story. She is the host of Fibber and Tell Me A Story's live show. Hillary is a New York City Moth StorySlam winner and has performed her stories since 2009. Past shows include How I Learned Series, Story Collider, The Soundtrack Series, Real Characters, Speakeasy DC and more. Hillary is a 2016 Independence Foundation Fellow in the Arts and was a 2011 Artist-in-Residence for Elsewhere Artist Collaborative in Greensboro, NC. In 2013, Hillary assistant directed 1812 Productions’ It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project, an interdisciplinary storytelling and theater piece. She recently performed in 1812's Tribute to Joan Rivers. 

In addition to performing and running her own business, Hillary is an independent audio producer. She is currently working toward a certificate in Audio Documentary from Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies. You can listen to her work on Soundcloud and PRX.



Miss Nandi Muhammad

“Miss Nandi” Muhammad and her husband Khalid are among a handful of residents in the Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood of North Philadelphia who have taken it upon themselves to create a better community for their fellow citizens. The Muhammads opened the Penny Candy Store out of their home at 12th and Cumberland in 2001 to provide a safe space for kids in the neighborhood.  As an informal after-school community center, Penny Candy teaches kids about addition and subtraction, lines of credit, black history, and respect of all kinds. As Miss Nandi says, “Kids are gonna pay attention to candy, so you teach them with candy.”



Chinwe Onyekere

Hailing from West Philadelphia, Chinwe’s community-based work has focused on reducing health care disparities and identifying innovative ideas for breakthroughs in health care delivery. She has held a variety of roles in nonprofits and philanthropy, including Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Executive Director for Health Leads New York and Vice Chair of the board for HealthSpark Foundation. She currently serves as Associate Administrator at Lankenau Medical Center, where she led the development of Deaver Wellness Farm aimed at connecting patients with fresh produce. Chinwe believes, “The role of the provider is not only to address health care, but to address social issues.”

Omar Woodard


A North Philadelphia native and resident, Omar is a highly-accomplished leader with expertise in public affairs, philanthropy, and corporate/nonprofit governance and management. Since January 2016, he has led GreenLight Fund Philadelphia, which brings the most promising, ground-breaking programs to Philadelphia to address some of our most challenging poverty-related issues. Omar’s Greenlight: “To end the extreme poverty that affects 200,000 Philadelphians by investing in transformative – and collective – efforts across the government, business, and nonprofit sectors.”


Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107










View the hotel location on Google Maps

Driving directions to the venue, as well as information on parking and public transportation, can be found on the hotel website. 

If you have additional questions about the conference venue, please contact the Loew's directly at 215-627-1200.

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