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Driving Change

When business leadership, entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy intersect, it can accelerate progress where it’s been stalled for decades.

To effect real and significant change, it takes more than good intentions—it takes vision and talent. That’s where you come in. If you let the same qualities that made you successful in your professional life inform your philanthropy, you can accelerate progress where it’s been stalled for decades.

In the business sector, many of the most exciting and profitable enterprises come from revolution, not evolution. Philanthropy, like business, is also ripe for disruption. There’s no shortage of challenges to tackle, but conventional methods of giving—soliciting grant applications from nonprofits and awarding funding to whomever writes the best proposal—can have limitations.

Entrepreneurial philanthropy is a different approach to solving social problems that is especially effective for business leaders and change agents who want to create lasting change in the world and build a legacy for themselves, their families and their communities. 

In its simplest form, entrepreneurial philanthropy allows you to select the problem you want to focus your efforts and resources on, and then leverage all your skills to figure out the best ways to attack the problem and carry out your agenda.

If you are inspired by the idea of merging your personal values and business acumen to improve the world around you, here are six suggestions to get you started.

Conduct Your Pre-trip Inspection: What are the advantages that could make you a successful social innovator? Where are you uniquely qualified to make a difference? Many small funders with business know-how and professional connections are often able to accomplish goals that would elude the staff at multi-billion-dollar foundations.

Turn on the Ignition: What are the issues that build upon your passion and strengths? How you spend your money is ultimately more important than how much you spend. Championing an issue that emanates from your life experiences could help bring attention to “orphaned” issues that have been overlooked by other philanthropists or are too controversial for governments to tackle.

Find Your GPS Coordinates: Do research to understand the contours of your chosen issue—and solicit input from people impacted by the problem: nonprofits dedicated to a related mission, consultants and other philanthropists. Knowing who else is working on the problem, what’s already been done and what impact that work has had can help you avoid wasting money and could yield some important allies.

Check Travel Conditions: Like success in business, success in philanthropy is dependent on situational factors. To what degree is the environment receptive and ready for change? If issues are ripe for action, think about assessing social urgency, feasibility and stage to understand how much attention and support you can expect—and where more efforts might be required to increase awareness and prioritization.

Know Your Destination: Before you begin work or commit a single dollar, define your ultimate goal in detail. If you have, say, a 20-year solution horizon or longer, think of specific mileposts that will help you mark progress. This will focus attention and efforts on what can be reasonably accomplished and help keep you energized by working toward attainable near-term goals.

Use All Your Gears: Once you know what you want to do, how are you going to do it? With a private foundation, there are a wide range of tactics at your disposal that support innovation and efficacy including: advocacy, media campaigns, awards and scholarships, mission-related investments, research and polling, litigation, demonstration projects, coalition building, documentary film and direct charitable activities, among many others. Find the approaches that match your problem, its stage and the conditions on the ground. 

In sum, be the entrepreneur that you are and leverage your strengths to drive change. To learn more about entrepreneurial philanthropy or private foundations, visit


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    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.