2020 Foundation Conversation 10/19/2020 10/19/2020 10/19/202010/19/202010/19/202010/19/2020 Convene Conference Center New York, NY

About the Conversation

Philanthropy and Independent Higher Education: Trends and Opportunities

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 at the Convene Conference Center in New York City on Monday, October 19. The Conversation will include seven presenters, with time for discussion during each session as well as during luncheon roundtables and informal networking opportunities. 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.

The meeting is made possible through generous support from TIAA.


  • 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.




Boxed Lunches and Roundtable Discussions with Foundation ExecutivesBoxed Lunches and Roundtable Discussions with Foundation Executives10
Breakfast BuffetBreakfast Buffet1
Current Priorities for Private Foundations (Part I)Current Priorities for Private Foundations (Part I)5<p> <strong><em>Mariko Silver</em></strong>, President, Henry Luce Foundation</p>
Current Priorities for Private Foundations (Part II)Current Priorities for Private Foundations (Part II)6<p> <strong><em>Michael Murray</em></strong>, President, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations</p>
Foundations and the State of Higher EducationFoundations and the State of Higher Education7<p> <strong><em>Na’ilah Suad Nasir</em></strong>, President, Spencer Foundation</p>
How Regional Foundations Support Independent CollegesHow Regional Foundations Support Independent Colleges8<p>​<strong><em>Edward Burger</em></strong>, President, St. David’s Foundation</p>
Keynote AddressKeynote Address3<p> <strong><em>Elizabeth Alexander</em></strong>, President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation</p>
The Role of Community Foundations in Philanthropy for Independent Higher EducationThe Role of Community Foundations in Philanthropy for Independent Higher Education9<p>​<strong><em>Amelia Bond</em></strong>, President, St. Louis Community Foundation</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</p>

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

The registration fee for the 2020 Foundation Conversation is $150.

Confirmation of your registration will be sent by email upon receipt of payment. Please note that CIC requires full payment by credit card at the time of registration. Full refunds of the registration fee will be given for cancellations received no later than September 17, 2020. Cancellations received after September 17 are ineligible for a refund. Please send cancellation requests, in writing, to Tabitha Truscott, CIC conference and program coordinator, at ttruscott@cic.nche.edu.