2021 Foundation Leadership Forum: Focus

January 25 – 27, 2021 | Virtual Conference

How can foundations fast forward transformative change?

In the current environment, mere survival may be top of mind. But foundations must look past survival to leading change within a dramatically different environment for long-term success.

The good news is that foundations are nimbler than their institutions and are already paving the way. The 2021 Foundation Leadership Forum will focus on meeting immediate needs facing foundations over the next year and opportunities to restart growth through strategic leadership, innovation, and strong partnership with your institution.

Mergers and Affiliations Strategy and Transformation

Strategic leadership.

AGB is known as a trusted and proven source of governance thought leadership and education. Our research shows that leading successfully starts with a solid foundation in the principles of governance.

This year’s Forum will provide sessions that explore:

  • Why the fundamentals of governance now matter even more
  • How to benchmark your board’s level of governance maturity
  • What should be the first steps on your governance action plan
  • The key role of communication in governance
  • Governance success stories


What are the lessons learned from the crisis? At the 2021 Forum, we’ll highlight how foundations found innovative ways to:

  • Enable staff to work effectively from home
  • Use technology to engage with boards and donors
  • Shift priorities to address institution funding needs
  • Evaluate their endowment policies and funding models
  • Shift fundraising toward student and emergency support

You’ll hear all about these creative responses. But now what? Forum will also cover how foundations are considering innovations to:

  • Transform outmoded business models
  • Sustain funding during an economic downturn
  • Support the costs of reopening
  • Anticipate new risks and liabilities
  • Become even stronger partners for their institutions
  • Move towards restarting growth
  • Engage trustees and donors
  • Develop new partnerships
  • Deploy new workplace environments

Partnership with your institution.

This year, the Forum will include a special session on the relationship between institutions and their related foundations. It will include an interactive session that will cover:

  • The mutual challenges institutions and foundations face
  • The most common issues that may hinder an effective relationship
  • Best practices for establishing trust, communication, and collaboration

Ideally, this will be an opportunity to work on enhancing relationships between your institution and foundation. You can invite your institution president and board chair to join you for just this session and participate with your other attendees. The session will also include breakout discussions organized for:

  • All the attendees from your institution; or
  • Attendees fulfilling similar roles at different organizations

“I bring a member of my executive leadership team to each Forum, and we bring back critically important information that we share across the foundation board and across our division and staffing professionals.”

Jane DiFolco Parker

Former Vice President for Development, Auburn University
Former President, Auburn University Foundation