2020 Foundation Conversation 10/19/2020 10/19/2020 10/19/202010/19/202010/19/202010/19/2020 Virtual Event

About the Conversation

Download the final program.

Download the presentation slides.

Philanthropy and Independent Higher Education: Trends and Opportunities

NOTE: This conference will now be presented as a virtual meeting through Zoom.

This biannual meeting provides an occasion for CIC college and university presidents from across the nation to engage in candid conversation with senior foundation officers. The 2020 Foundation Conversation will take place on Monday, October 19, starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time and ending at 1:15 p.m. The Conversation will include four sessions, with time for discussion during each session as well as during a final session of roundtable. CIC has found that college and university presidents are better equipped to guide both academic affairs and development offices in making thoughtful approaches to foundations when they think about the hard issues well before a particular grant idea surfaces. This annual discussion is CIC’s contribution to nurturing those habits of thought at the leadership level.


  • Elizabeth Alexander, President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Amelia Bond, President, St. Louis Community Foundation
  • Edward Burger, President, St. David’s Foundation
  • Amy Holmes, Director, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Michael Murray, President, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
  • Mariko Silver, President, Henry Luce Foundation
  • Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President, Spencer Foundation

Who May Participate

In order to preserve the candid nature of the Foundation Conversation, only CIC member presidents and state executives are invited to participate; development and other campus officers may not attend. CIC also encourages effective interaction by keeping the meeting small, limited to approximately 100 presidents. For that reason, your early registration is encouraged.




Keynote AddressKeynote Address3<p> <strong><em>Elizabeth Alexander</em></strong>, President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation</p>
Opportunities for Private Colleges and UniversitiesOpportunities for Private Colleges and Universities5<p> <strong><em>Mariko Silver</em></strong>, President, Henry Luce Foundation<br><strong><em>Na’ilah Suad Nasir</em></strong>, President, Spencer Foundation<br></p>
Roundtable DiscussionsRoundtable Discussions8<p>Breakout 1<br>Breakout 2<br>Breakout 3<br>Breakout 4<br></p>
The Role of Regional Foundations in Philanthropy for Independent Higher EducationThe Role of Regional Foundations in Philanthropy for Independent Higher Education7<p><strong><em>Edward Burger</em></strong>, President, St. David’s Foundation<br><strong><em>Amelia Bond</em></strong>, President, St. Louis Community Foundation<br></p>
Trends in Philanthropy for Independent Higher EducationTrends in Philanthropy for Independent Higher Education4<p> <strong><em>Amy Holmes</em></strong>, Director, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors<br><strong><em>Michael Murray</em></strong>, President, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations<br></p>
WelcomeWelcome2<h3>​WELCOME</h3> <strong><em>Elizabeth Davis</em></strong>, President, Furman University, member, CIC Board of Directors<br><br> <h3>INTRODUCTION</h3> <strong><em>Richard Ekman</em></strong>, President, Council of Independent Colleges

Hotel Reservations

​If you registered earlier and made a hotel reservation at the Westin New York Grand Central Hotel, you will need to call the hotel to cancel your reservation: (212) 490-8900 or (866) 961-3782.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Location and Hotel

The 2020 Foundation Conversation will take place at the Convene Conference Center in New York City (237 Park Avenue), from 7:45 a.m. until 1:40 p.m.

For those needing hotel accommodations, a block of rooms is being held at a discounted rate at the Westin New York Grand Central.
212 East 42nd Street
New York, NY, 10017
Phone: (212) 490-8900 or (866) 961-3782

Room Rate: $369 per night plus state and local taxes (currently 14.75% plus $3.50 daily occupancy fee) for single or double occupancy. Please refer to CIC when calling to make your reservation or you may reserve your room online.

Reservation Deadline: Thursday, September 17, 2020.
(Please note: The room block may fill up before this date and any available rooms after the block is full may not be at the discounted rate of $369.)

The Westin New York Grand Central is located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan (at 212 East 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue) and just a six-minute walk from Convene’s 237 Park Avenue location. The hotel is ideally situated just a few short blocks from renowned landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, the New York Public Library, and the United Nations Headquarters. The Westin is easily accessible from New York’s three area airports and is about a seven-minute walk from New York’s Grand Central Station.

Check-in is at 3:00 p.m. and check-out is at noon. Please note that cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to arrival. Any reservation not canceled or any no-shows will be charged one night’s room rate plus applicable sales tax.

If you have questions, please contact David Brailow, CIC’s vice president for development, at (202) 466-7230 or dbrailow@cic.nche.edu.

Registration Information

There is no registration fee for the 2020 Foundation Conversation. If you registered for the meeting and paid the $150 fee, it will be refunded to you in full.

Confirmation of your registration will be sent by email. Please send cancellation requests, in writing, to Tabitha Truscott, CIC conference and program coordinator, at ttruscott@cic.nche.edu.