2021 Foundation Leadership Forum: Schedule

January 25 – 27, 2021 | Virtual Conference


Monday, January 25

10:00 AM ET – 7:00 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

11:45 AM ET – 12:00 PM ET | Welcome Remarks

The Forum kicks off with remarks from Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO, as well as Shauna Ryder Diggs, chair of the AGB Board of Directors. They’ll set the stage for an inspiring and memorable conference experience.

12:OO PM ET – 1:00 PM ET | Opening Plenary: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means For Foundations

The recent events of the global pandemic, economic collapse, and racial justice tensions have exacerbated any challenges that were already in place and have left institutions and their foundations without a road map for the future. The panel of experts and leaders across higher education will cover a suite of issues: 1. External headwinds impacting: enrollment, financial stability, public health and safety; fundraising/campaigns; 2. What does it mean to antiracist? What’s the role higher ed should play? 3. What should we as higher ed be doing to create educated but also workforce-ready citizens? 4. What is the current landscape regarding athletics? 5. What does all of this mean for foundations?

Liz McMillen, executive editor, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Brandon Busteed, president, Kaplan University Partners
Kent Fuchs
, president, University of Florida
Patrick Methvin, director of postsecondary success in the United States program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Devona Williams, chair of the board of trustees and foundation board of trustees, Delaware State University

1:00 PM ET – 1:30 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

1:3O PM ET – 2:30 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

Federal Policy Update: What Do Boards Need To Know?

The year 2021 could be a tumultuous year in national politics—stemming from a deep partisan divide from a contentious presidential campaign and election. The panel will candidly discuss federal policy affecting public colleges and universities and their institutionally related foundations. Despite the likelihood of continued political gridlock, session participants will learn about the outlook for several issues, including: federal higher education funding, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, immigration and international student issues, and new tax incentives that could benefit students, institutions, and foundations. Participants will also gain a fuller understanding of the still-evolving implications of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act on charitable giving and private institution endowments.

Rich Novak, senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB

Brian Flahaven, interim vice president, strategic partnerships, Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Ellyn Perrone, senior associate vice president for research and federal relations, The University of Texas at Austin

Talent Management, Organizational Change, and Some Realities of COVID-19 Future

As we continue to contend with how the pandemic is affecting fundraising and higher education at large, let’s not forget that there is an equal effect on foundation and advancement staff, managing from a distance, the future of hiring, and the realities that we must face about effects to our culture and overall performance. How can we work with some of these challenges, anticipate future ones, and maintain motivation while pushing performance? Part benchmarking, part predicting the future, come join a discussion on where we are.

Shane Jacobson, president and CEO, University of Vermont Foundation

Tahsin Alam, associate vice president for talent management and organizational development, Rutgers University Foundation

Leading on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Board Imperative

Every board enhances its impact by embracing and cultivating the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). DE&I enable leaders to better serve their constituents and anticipate their needs. Strategic boards and foundation leaders have the responsibility not only to elevate the principles of DE&I within their boardrooms and leadership teams, but also to insist that policies of DE&I manifest across the entire foundation and institution. Institutions and foundations can also have a positive impact on the diverse communities they live within and serve. Attendees will hear from a panel of board leaders on their efforts toward building diverse boards and what conversations have been placed on the board agenda. In addition to learning of the benefits of a diversified board and staff to the foundation’s work, attendees will gain specific strategies for diversification of board membership, methodology for recruitment and selection.

Carlton Brown, president emeritus, Clark Atlanta University; senior fellow, AGB Search

Rae Mang, board chair, University of Cincinnati Foundation
Jack Shannon, president, Christian Brothers University
Kimera Way, president, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Foundation; executive director of university advancement, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

Your Most Important Endowment Decision

Stewards of endowments have long been advised that allocating to illiquid investments is critical to achieving long-term returns. Rather than trust conventional wisdom, Commonfund conducted research to quantify the role of illiquid investments. Our proprietary models revealed that the amount of illiquidity, as represented by private investments, was the most important factor that explained differences in performance. Quantifying this overwhelming importance led Commonfund to rethink investment processes, develop new analytical tools, and make more precise illiquid allocation decisions with clients. Commonfund will share the analysis and tools and help you understand how to make this most important decision.

George Suttles, executive director, Commonfund Institute

Kimberly Kvaal, vice president for finance and administration, St. Edward’s University
Susan Scroggins, senior vice president for finance and treasurer of the board, Valparaiso University
Timothy Yates Jr, president and CEO, Commonfund Asset Management

Increasing Fundraiser Collaborations, Forecasting, and Success Through a Proposal Driven System

Are portfolios a thing of the past? By rethinking the traditional portfolio model, you can take your fundraising efforts to the next level and forecast revenues several years out. This session will explore how Utah State University shifted from a portfolio model to a proposal-based system and will contextualize it using EAB’s research and data on fundraiser effectiveness and efficiency. After finding that, on average, 36 percent of the prospects in portfolios at Utah State University had never been contacted, it was determined that portfolios were blocking conversations with top prospects rather than encouraging them. Furthermore, portfolios and prospect stages made it difficult to forecast fundraising production and set goals. Based on these findings, advancement leaders at Utah State made the decision to abolish all portfolios. Their focus changed to proposals, contact guidelines, and principal gift donor strategy meetings to manage prospect coordination. Now everyone has a place at the table during strategy sessions for top donors, active engagement of top prospects, accountability to complete tasks, and effective goal setting.

Jeff Martin, senior director, EAB
Matthew White, president, Utah State University Foundation; vice president for advancement, Utah State University

2:30 PM ET – 4:00 PM ET | Networking: One-on-One or Small Groups

This is time set aside each day to find and connect with other attendees via the web experience. Find colleagues by: name or foundation, role, size of assets under management, foundations with fundraising responsibilities, or foundations that manage real estate. Additionally, you can chat with sponsors, session speakers, AGB staff, and AGB consultants.

4:0O PM ET – 5:00 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

Managing Controversial Gifts and Naming Rights

In these times of rapid and critical social change, foundations must embrace new approaches to vetting and administering gifts. At top of mind is the legacy of donors, sponsors and perhaps the founding institutional leaders regarding their historical treatment of slavery. This may come at a time when the host institution is itself addressing these same issues. Also prominent among concerns are gifts by donors who have been implicated in sexual misconduct, or donors who lead companies that have contributed to the opioid crisis or to the climate crisis. Often, these donor’s names grace buildings on campus and endowed chairs or scholarships. Foundation boards must consider their fiduciary duties and UPMIFA principles when resolving these major reputational and ethical risks. This expert panel will discuss actual case studies and effective strategies for managing these controversial gifts and naming decisions.

Tom Hyatt, specialist and senior fellow, AGB; partner, Dentons

Peggy Boykin, board chair, College of Charleston Foundation
Chris Dyba
, president, East Carolina University Foundation; vice chancellor for university advancement, East Carolina University

Foundation Board Assessments: Unlock the Full Potential of Your Board

Identify strengths and lead to stronger working relationships, mutual trust, and dramatic performance improvements for your board and foundation. Provide a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, gain insights on improving board leadership, build consensus on next steps. Improve governance and performance. Understand the key areas of an assessment: mission and strategy; leadership and shared governance; institutional sustainability; educational quality; board performance; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and board culture. Hear directly from board leaders who successfully have led board assessments and how this has improved their boards.

Lynnette Heard, former executive director of foundation board relations and secretary of the board, University of Cincinnati Foundation; senior consultant, AGB Search

Carl Costanza, board president, Oakton Community College Educational Foundation
Scott McKinney, assistant vice president, donor and volunteer engagement, Kent State University
Katherine Sawyer, executive director, Oakton Community College Educational Foundation; associate vice president of marketing & communication and chief advancement officer, Oakton Community College
Michelle Thomas, board member and governance committee chair, Kent State University Foundation

Enterprise Risk Management: Developing a Plan That Suits Your Foundation

The work of foundations is crucial in supporting and advancing the mission of their host institutions.  Some measure of risk is inherent in that work.  Managing risk is imperative to preserving the foundation’s ability to accomplish its mission.  Through an effective Enterprise Risk Management plan, the foundation board and staff can assess and manage foundation-wide risks, considering both the internal and external forces that influence the risk environment for the foundation and its host institution.  Like every aspect of a foundation’s work, the risk management plan should contemplate the scope and complexity of the individual foundation’s activities.  In this session, you will hear from a panel of foundation experts who will share their various ERM plans and will discuss the approach to  appropriately scale your approach based on your foundation’s role.

Jane Parker, former president, Auburn University Foundation; former vice president for development, Auburn University

Greg Lohrentz, senior vice president, operations and finance, Kansas State University Foundation
Heather Myers, partner and non-profit solutions leader, Aon
Christine Smith
, board member and secretary, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Foundation

Changes Ahead Facing Foundations

Higher education is facing unprecedented challenges, and will likely need to rethink how it meets the public’s expectations going forward. In public higher education, in particular, institutionally related foundations and their boards will likely see their role change and expand, as financial models and reputational challenges reframe the sector’s priorities for the next decade and beyond. Among the many issues confronting the academy going forward, foundations and their boards need to examine two central themes: 1) The environmental conditions in which public institutions are meeting their mission—and how foundations must be aligned to be essential partners, and 2) How the work of foundations can safeguard (and advance) the higher education value proposition through innovation, sound funding models and endowment practices, and risk management. This panel discussion will focus on the opportunities and risks foundations face in this dynamic and uncertain higher education environment.

Richard Legon, immediate past president and CEO, AGB

Gretchen Buhlig, CEO, Arizona State University Foundation
Donna Vuchinich, president and CEO, Simon Fraser University Foundation; senior executive director, advancement, Simon Fraser University
Greg Willems, president and CEO, Kansas State University Foundation

5:0O PM ET – 6:00 PM ET | Virtual Reception

Join your fellow attendees, sponsors, AGB staff and consultants for virtual mingling and networking. Following opening remarks, you can join small virtual chat rooms to meet your fellow Forum attendees and engage on a variety of topics.

Tuesday, January 26

10:00 AM ET – 7:00 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

11:00 AM ET – 12:00 PM ET | Plenary: Innovative Board Leadership

How has board leadership changed as a result of the crisis? How should boards function now and what will board service be like in five years? What does that mean for identifying and onboarding new members, preparing for the next generation of leaders? What are cultural issues facing boards today, how are those different from yesterday’s issues, and how should boards adapt?

Plenary will feature a panel of board chairs discussing what they’ve learned and what they see beyond the horizon. Panel will include the foundation recipients of the AGB John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership.

Topics this panel will address include: How should boards govern more effectively? How has board governance changed as a result of this crisis? Increasing board diversity, equity, and inclusion – and being a champion for those efforts across the foundation/institution; board member recruiting, retention; what are the attributes of a good trustee?

Shauna Ryder Diggs, member and former chair, University of Michigan Board of Regents; board chair, AGB

James Faulkner, board chair, University of North Georgia Foundation
James Martell, board chair, Colorado State University Foundation
Michael Powell, board chair, William & Mary Foundation
Diane Seder
, board chair, University of Vermont Foundation

12:00 PM ET – 12:15 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

12:15 PM ET – 1:15 PM ET | Facilitated Roundtables

If you’ve ever wondered if yours is the only foundation that’s faced a particular challenge, chances are – it isn’t! Convene with peers from similar foundations who span the U.S. in group discussions created to generate knowledge exchange through facilitated conversation.

Groups to include: Asset Size, Real Estate, Alumni Relations, and others.

1:15 PM ET – 1:30 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

1:3O PM ET – 2:30 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

What It Takes To Be A Great Foundation Member

It has never been more important to have every board member understand their role and contribute their best to help fulfill the work of strategic boards. AGB is creating a set of principles of trusteeship that will help individual board members understand and develop the attitudes, mind-sets, and behaviors that they should bring to their work—and recognize what to avoid. These principles can inform the work of the board chair and governance committee in the selection, orientation, and assessment of board members and help every board member serve as a vital asset for their institution and foundation.

Merrill Schwartz, senior vice president, content strategy and development, AGB

Jim Lyons, trustee, Dillard University and Alliant International University; senior consultant, AGB
Leonard Raley
, president and CEO, University System of Maryland Foundation
Bob Sherman, board member and governance committee chair, University of North Texas Foundation

Surveying the State Policy Landscape and What It Means for Foundations

Echoing the effect of the 2008 recession, the pandemic has forced state governments across the country to reevaluate their budgets and funding priorities. At times, states are choosing to cut appropriations and other investments in higher education. At the same time, public colleges and universities are in dire need of additional funds to meet today’s challenges. As a result, foundations are taking on an ever-larger role in supporting students and institutions while also championing institutional needs to lawmakers and the public. In doing so, they sometimes face increased scrutiny and even skepticism. Join a conversation about the pressures on foundations and their plans and suggestions for effective partnerships and advocacy.

Cristin Toutsi Grigos, senior director of public policy and strategic communications, AGB

Vita Pickrum, president, Delaware State University Foundation; vice president for institutional advancement, Delaware State University
Catherine Potter, associate vice president and general counsel, Virginia Tech Foundation
Tony Williams, board member, Oregon State University Foundation

Harnessing the Power of Affinity Groups: Maximizing Data and Dollars

Private support for public institutions and their programs is no longer a goal – it is now a necessity. With the support of graduates and friends segmented across countless interests, the collective potential they represent can be harnessed for your institution. But with limited resources, how do you maximize the impact they possess? In this session, learn from an executive director and board member about how the University of Central Missouri updated over 550 alumni records, raised over $100,000, and created an opportunity that ultimately resulted in a $1.5 million donation for an NCAA Division II program.

Gary Abram, board member, University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation
Courtney Goddard, vice president of advancement, University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation

Practical Implementation: Removing Barriers to Integrating Sustainable and Responsible Investing

The will to adopt sustainable investing in college and university endowments is gaining momentum.  There is a growing group of stakeholders and a long list of reasons endowments are considering incorporating sustainability in their investment process.  If done thoughtfully, endowments creating a sustainable investing program can facilitate positive stakeholder engagements; build portfolios more resilient to systemic risks;  and establish a more integrated approach to expressing commitments to diversity and long term sustainability throughout the value chain. That said, there remain a variety of hurdles endowments must overcome on the path to adopt, develop, and implement a comprehensive sustainable investing approach.  In this session we will highlight a variety of common barriers faced by endowments and examine practical ways committees and investment staff can address them as they move forward with implementation.

Emily Lawrence, senior specialist for sustainable investing, Northern Trust
Samuel Michalove, director of investment strategy & portfolio management, Arizona State University Enterprise Partners

Is Your OCIO On The Forefront of Innovations Across Investments and Enterprise Risk?

No organization is the same as it was years ago. Client needs have evolved and the pace of change has accelerated in the marketplace. To remain competitive, OCIO’s must continuously maintain a laser focus on what will drive the best outcomes for clients. Join Ned Rosenman (Blackrock) and Chris Philips (Vanguard) as they discuss how innovation and technology are changing how nonprofits assess risks and opportunities and manage evolving client expectations.

John Griswold, senior consultant, AGB

Christopher Philips, principal and head of Vanguard Institutional Advisory Services, Vanguard
Ned Rosenman, director, head of OCIO for endowments and foundations, healthcare, and family offices, BlackRock
Keith Sauls, board member, College of Charleston Foundation Board; board member, Board of Governors of the College of Charleston Business School

2:30 PM ET – 4:00 PM ET | Networking: One-on-One or Small Groups

This is time set aside each day to find and connect with other attendees via the web experience. Find colleagues by: name or foundation, role, size of assets under management, foundations with fundraising responsibilities, or foundations that manage real estate. Additionally, you can chat with sponsors, session speakers, AGB staff, and AGB consultants.

4:0O PM ET – 5:00 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

Leading and Managing Through Disruptive Change

All foundation boards will face unanticipated crises of varying magnitude and duration that threaten the organization’s reputation and financial strength. How does a board see around corners to anticipate, manage, and lead through severe disruptions and ethical failure? This interactive session will focus on strategies and interventions that boards and leaders may use to identify and prepare for potential threats and create outlines to identify, manage, and lead through them. Terrence MacTaggart, PhD, the author of the recent book Crisis Leadership for Boards and Presidents (AGB 2020), will be a featured guest.

Jim Lanier, former vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO, East Carolina University Foundation; senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB
Terry MacTaggart, former chancellor, University of Maine System and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB

Inside the Amazon HQ2 Decision: A Foundation Story Continued

Amazon’s HQ2 initiative in Arlington, Virginia, is already having a major impact on the economy of Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. A key component of the success of the initiative is access to talent and Virginia’s public universities are implementing bold strategies to meet Amazon’s needs. Virginia Tech, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Foundation, is playing a pivotal role and is launching a multimillion-dollar innovation campus in Alexandria. A panel of university and foundation leadership will provide a progress report on the major project.

John Dooley, CEO, Virginia Tech Foundation

Liza Morris, assistant vice president for planning and university architect, Virginia Tech
Catherine Potter, associate vice president and general counsel, Virginia Tech Foundation
Brandy Salmon, associate vice president for innovations and partnerships, Virginia Tech

Fundraising Campaigns in Higher Education: A Practical Guide for Governing and Foundation Boards

With the ever-increasing need for support from private philanthropy, board members must look to comprehensive fundraising campaigns to help ensure their institution’s success—and sometimes its survival. These campaigns are highly sophisticated efforts that require experienced staff and the full commitment and active participation of all board members. It is crucial that board members understand this type of fundraising effort, involve themselves deeply at the outset, lead the way in giving, promote the campaign to all constituents, and play a major role in ensuring the success of the effort. This session features authors from the new publication from AGB, who will discuss how best to approach a campaign, even now under these different circumstances.

Anita Zucker, trustee and former board chair, University of Florida

John Lippincott, past president, Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Tom Mitchell, vice president for advancement, University of Florida; executive vice president, University of Florida Foundation

The Role of Governance in the Pursuit of Mission-Aligned Investing

Is your board considering a mission-related realignment of its investment strategy? Are you are interested in a road map for the process? The decision to align an endowment or foundation’s investments with the mission and values of the institution is important. Choosing the people who will be involved as well as the questions you should answer require thoughtful consideration to balance institutional identity, subject matter expertise, stewardship / fiduciary responsibilities, and intergenerational equity. Strategic has worked to develop considerations for the composition of an evaluation committee, as well as the questions each board should consider when going through this process to arrive at the right answer for your institution. In our experience, even two institutions with the same core values can wind up in different places.

Nikki Kraus, managing director and global head of client development, Strategic Investment Group

Christine Devocelle, senior vice president for financial & administrative operations, chief financial officer, and board treasurer, University of Illinois Foundation
Michael Kahn
, trustee, Grinnell College
Ken Shimberg
, managing director, Strategic Investment Group

Why Invest in Farmland Now?

Considered a safe haven investment, farmland has proven to be a reliable store of long-term value through times of economic tumult – exhibiting durable valuations and attractive levels of income, uncorrelated to compelling assets. Independent of the benefits farmland offers to portfolios in light of the impacts of COVID-19, it is a compelling time to invest in farmland with innovative technology driving productivity gains and the associated farmland returns.

Edward Creedon, director or private markets, University of Illinois Foundation
Martin Davies, president and CEO, Westchester Group Investment Management, an affiliate of TIAA

Wednesday, January 27

10:00 AM ET – 7:00 PM ET | AGB Experience Open

11:00 AM ET – 12:00 PM ET | Plenary: Cultivating the Institution-Foundation Partnership

Partnerships between institutions and their affiliated foundations are evolving as government funding decreases, tuition increases, and pressures on enrollment mount. In many cases, foundations are fundraisers, entrepreneurial partners, and drivers of innovation for their institutions, which in turn are needing to constantly adapt their advancement models. The value of a strong partnership becomes especially important in times of crisis. This panel will feature leaders from foundations and institutions discussing how they established a habit of trust and collaboration to produce a more robust and highly functioning partnership.

Carol Cartwright, president emerita, Bowling Green State University and Kent State University; senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB

Mike Goodwin, former president and CEO, Oregon State University Foundation; senior fellow, AGB
Bruce Harreld, president, University of Iowa
Lynette Marshall, president and CEO, University of Iowa Center for Advancement
Edward Ray, president emeritus, Oregon State University

12:00 PM ET – 12:15 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

12:15 PM ET – 1:45 PM ET | Workshop Group Sessions

Join workshop-style group sessions to hear from experts in these areas, and others, but also develop your own action plans to address these areas. These lively, facilitated sessions will reveal best practices and innovations in governance and examples of effective strategies from other foundations. Although presently under development, look forward to the following as some of the exciting sessions during this time:

Leading Boards and Committees

Chairing the board or a committee comes with its own set of expectations, challenges – and sometimes, the need for new skills and attributes. Whether you are established in your role, or an aspiring Chair, join this comprehensive, interactive workshop to learn about the leadership challenges, responsibilities, and good practices of foundation board leaders. Engage with peers and experts through roundtable discussions and presentations about effective work at the full board and committee level. Opens with a large group session followed by breakouts by primary board committees for a deep-dive into specific challenges for each committee.

Jim Lanier, former vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO, East Carolina University Foundation; senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB

Lisa Calvert
, CEO, Washington State University Foundation; vice president, university advancement, Washington State University
Kirk Schulz
, president, Washington State University
Robert Strong, board chair, University of Maine Foundation
Anita Zucker
, board chair, Trident Technical College Foundation; trustee and former board chair, University of Florida

Institutional and Foundation Leadership Transitions: Succession Planning and Executive Search for Successful Outcomes

This workshop will address succession planning and the executive search process for both institutional and foundation president/chief executive officers. Designed to be interactive, it will provide guidance and facilitate dialogue on the role a foundation could and should play when its related institution undertakes a leadership search for a new president. It also will provide guidance and facilitate dialogue on foundation leadership searches and the key considerations foundation boards and their chief executives should have in mind as they plan for a current leadership transition or anticipate one in the coming years. The workshop faculty includes a former college president who currently serves as the president of the University of Alaska Foundation (and chief development officer for the system) and will bring his experiences to the conversation, as well as AGB Search principals who advise clients on institutional and foundation leadership succession planning, search, and transition.

Tod Burnett, president, University of Alaska Foundation; former president, Saddleback College
Roderick McDavis, managing principal, AGB Search
Kimberly Templeton, principal, AGB Search

Ensure Your Foundation is Built to Last

To be successful as a partner in supporting the mission of the host institution, foundations must be mature, highly effective organizations with well-governed boards as well as vibrant and sustainable operating models. The foundation must be funded and fiscally sound, or it cannot fulfill its mission. The tried and true annual budgeting process may not be sufficient in testing or assuring resilience. In this workshop, senior foundation executives will review actual funding sources used by foundations and the associated risks with each. Participants should expect to be challenged to discuss and evaluate both revenue and expense strategies within the risk tolerance and culture of your respective foundation. This session is meant to provide you with the tools to accurately evaluate and assess your foundation’s financial model to ensure a sustainable future.

John Carter, former COO, Georgia Tech Foundation; former vice president and executive director, Georgia Tech Alumni Association; senior consultant, AGB

Elizabeth King, president and CEO, Wichita State University Foundation
Rickey McCurry, vice president of philanthropy and alumni engagement, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Shannon Mease, COO and CFO, The Citadel Foundation

Strategic Planning and Alignment

Although all would agree that a thoughtful strategy is essential to the financial, operational, and long-term health of a foundation, the traditional strategic planning process can pose special challenges – especially to those foundations that are not wholly autonomous and/or whose organizational, investment, fundraising, and operational priorities are largely informed by institutional objectives. This workshop will touch on various approaches to planning, clarification of mission, identifying appropriate goals and objectives and – most importantly – assuring strategic alignment. Bring your ideas and your own strategic thinking experiences/challenges and join veteran institutional/foundation leaders in mapping out the right approach for your foundation and your board.

Sally Mason, president emerita, University of Iowa

Monica Delisa, CEO, Georgia College and State University Foundation
Danita Nias
, CEO, Florida Atlantic University Foundation; vice president for institutional advancement, Florida Atlantic University
Susan Stewart, board member and former board chair, Georgia College and State University Foundation

1:45 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

2:00 PM ET – 3:00 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

The Board Chair and CEO: Partners in Governance

The most important relationship for effective governance in a public university/college foundation is that between the board chair and the chief executive officer/executive director. To succeed, both must work as partners not only to assure high organizational effectiveness, but also for the sake of the institution their foundation serves. In this session, two resident faculty members from AGB’s Institute for Foundation Board Leaders and Chief Executives will facilitate an interactive session touching on the many aspects of a highly effective institution-foundation partnership, with emphasis on the necessary roles of the board chair, CEO, and foundation board in making it work.

Cheri O’Neill, president and CEO, Colorado State University Foundation
George Watt, former executive vice president of institutional advancement, College of Charleston; former executive director, College of Charleston Foundation; senior consultant and senior fellow, AGB

Cyber-Risk: Understanding All the Implications for Higher Education

Higher education institutions, relying on open networks that encourage collaboration and learning, are extremely vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. In addition, institutions and their affiliated foundations often have decentralized IT networks that contain a plethora of valuable and sensitive student, staff, alumni, and donor data. Additionally, many foundations have entrusted their key fundraising, stewardship, financial and investment data to third-party vendors. Find out what the foundation board needs to know about cyber risk, what cyber risk management questions the board should consider, and how foundation leaders can reduce the impact of this growing threat.

Debye Alderman, assistant treasurer, College of Charleston Foundation; executive director, finance and administration, College of Charleston

Larry Clinton
, president, Internet Security Alliance
Tom Gilbert, CFO, University System of Maryland Foundation
Tracie Grella, global head of cyber, AIG

Rethinking Development Officer Metrics

Measuring and motivating development officers is a perpetual topic of conversation among advancement leaders. In this session you will learn how one institution determined the right KPIs for development officer evaluation (the science!). You will then see a case study of applying that knowledge in a way consistent with organizational culture (the art!). You will get a summary of lessons learned along the way, useful takeaways for those evaluating their own metrics, and next steps in applying analytics to development metrics.

Sheila Baldwin, vice president, health sciences development, University of Iowa Center for Advancement
R. Kent Clark, vice president, main campus development, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Today’s Obstacle, Tomorrow’s Milestone: Turning Endowment Challenges into Opportunities

Over the past year, endowments and foundations have faced some of the most significant challenges ever seen. However, these same challenges have brought myriad opportunities for transformational change. In this three-part session, we will discuss how to turn obstacles into milestones by exploring three cornerstones of effective endowment management: investing, engaging with donors, and governance. Each 20-minute segment will feature a conversation and a brief Q&A with subject matter experts across three university foundations:

  • Part 1: Portfolio Management with Alan Hartley of the University of North Florida Foundation
  • Part 2: Donor Relations with Mark Koenig of the Oregon State University Foundation
  • Part 3: Governance with Jack Finlaw of the University of Colorado Foundation

Join us for the full session to explore diverse perspectives across all three topics, or take a 20-minute deep dive into the focus area most relevant to you. This interactive panel is designed to provide valuable, practical insights in a format that makes the most of your time.

Chris Bittman, partner, CEO, and CIO, Agility
Amita Schultes, partner, client portfolio manager, Agility
Trey Thompson, partner and president, Agility

Jack Finlaw, president and CEO, University of Colorado Foundation
Alan Hartley, investment committee chair, University of North Florida Foundation
Mark Koenig, vice president of technology and CIO, Oregon State University Foundation

3:00 PM ET – 3:45 PM ET | Networking: One-on-One or Small Groups

This is time set aside each day to find and connect with other attendees via the web experience. Find colleagues by: name or foundation, role, size of assets under management, foundations with fundraising responsibilities, or foundations that manage real estate. Additionally, you can chat with sponsors, session speakers, AGB staff, and AGB consultants.

3:45 PM ET – 4:45 PM ET | Concurrent Sessions

A Unique Model for a Small Shop

In turbulent times many smaller institutionally-related foundations (IRF’s) are seeking alternative economic models to be fully self-sustaining. The Kean University Foundation’s economic model is unique and, we believe, cutting edge. As we enter our third year in our restructuring plan, the Foundation employs all staff and absorbs the costs associated with staff benefits, human resources, information technology, legal, etc. This presentation summarizes the funding and spending plan for the Kean University Foundation as well as the organization’s competitive cost per dollar raised. While all conference attendees are welcome to attend, this session is geared toward the smaller shop (assets less than $100M).

William Miller, CEO, Kean University Foundation
Mark Urban, director of special projects, Kean University Foundation

Building University, Alumni, and Foundation Relationships Through Focused Fundraising

In 2016 The Ferris Foundation experienced a significant financial event that precipitated the conversations to start a comprehensive campaign. The Board of Trustees, The Ferris Foundation Board and the Alumni Board came together to discuss and launch the first ever, comprehensive campaign for Ferris State University that included a unique and accessible opportunity for donors to double their gift and create their own endowed scholarship fund for the University. The Ferris Futures initiative resulted in 218 new endowments for the University to date and played a key role in bringing the largest ever campaign for Ferris State University to near completion. All of the boards have been engaged in the success of the comprehensive campaign, as connectors as well as visionaries for the projects needed to keep Ferris State University in a trailblazing position for the future.

Jean Elder, board member, The Ferris Foundation
Susan Jones
, director, The Ferris Foundation

David Eisler, president, Ferris State University
Kurt Hofman, board chair, The Ferris Foundation
Mike VanDiepenbos, alumni board chair, Ferris State University

The Financial Case for Mission-Aligned Investing

Over the past decade, endowment fiduciaries have been reframing their questions about mission-aligned investing from Why should we? to Why aren’t we? Why aren’t we assessing and addressing climate risk and social risks in our portfolio or asking our managers to do so? When we know how important diversification is to reducing volatility, why don’t we consider diversity of manager backgrounds as a key aspect of diversification? There are many drivers of this shift, but the main reason is the financial case. Investment strategies that effectively integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into the decision process have proven their worth especially through the recent downturn. This session will challenge participants to question their perceptions of responsible investing and modern portfolio theory and move past a simplistic understanding of mission-aligned investing as screening out a few ”bad apples.” The session will explore issues related to investing in racial equity, climate risk, net zero portfolios, and how broad trends in sustainable investing are reshaping the investment management landscape. Hear from industry professionals and foundation board trustees about a road map for developing your own approach, deploying your strategy, and achieving results that can enhance investment returns while aligning with the mission of public higher education.

Alice DonnaSelva, managing director, Intentional Endowments Network

Tracy Gray, board trustee and treasurer, California State University, Dominguez Hills Foundation
Keith Wirtz, board member and investment committee chair, Arizona State University Foundation and Arizona State University Enterprise Partners

What’s the Value of Private Equity in an Endowment Portfolio? How One University Tried to Address that Question

Private equity continues to increase in popularity among institutional investors and has experienced substantial growth. Its advocates see it as a way to enhance returns in an environment which appears to offer low forward-looking returns from traditional investments. Its detractors claim it’s a high fee asset class, are skeptical its managers add value, and are concerned about forward-looking returns due the industry’s growth in assets. This session will focus on whether private equity really adds value to investment portfolios, the key considerations for investors, potential impacts from the COVID crisis and whether private equity can deliver risk-adjusted returns going forward. A case study example will be presented showing how a university endowment’s trustees:

  • Analyzed their various legacy private asset investments and modeled out what potential future cash flows would be by determining expected capital calls, distributions and growth in unrealized investments (i.e. NAV).
  • Determined an under-exposure to certain sub-strategies and made direct investments into underlying funds with those specific strategies.
  • Continues to match up expected cash flows and NAVs of legacy investments with a future funding strategy which will provide the best chance of reaching their targeted allocation to private assets while avoiding being over-committed to any single vintage year, maintaining sub-strategy diversification and avoiding being over-committed to private equity in the event of significant negative markets.

Andy Daly, managing director, investment strategist, SEI
Spencer Duin, investment committee chair, North Dakota State University

4:45 PM ET – 5:00 PM ET | AGB Experience & Networking Break

5:00 PM ET – 6:00 PM ET | Closing Plenary: Beyond Covid – The Future of Endowment Management

The year 2020 wreaked havoc on the market and challenged the traditional endowment model. Beyond high equity valuations and very low or negative interest rates, challenges include tactical and strategic asset allocation, the role of alternatives, ESG and impact investments, spending rates, administrative fees, and the volatile resource needs from the institution. Hear from a panel of industry experts who will offer their perspective on what may be coming next and how best to position the endowment as a source of perpetual value for your institution.

Horacio Valeiras, member, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Board of Visitors; member, AGB Board of Directors

Brian Nick, chief investment strategist, Nuveen
Deborah Spalding, co-chief investment officer, Commonfund Asset Management
Michael Strauss, managing director and senior institutional portfolio consultant, institutional investments group, ‎Bank of America Private Bank

“The value of the membership components is significant across the spectrum. One of the most important components of this is the foundation leadership forum – bringing together, key volunteer leaders from institutions across the country, bringing together board professionals from across the country who share their insights, share their wisdom, share the challenges that they are facing.”

Jane DiFolco Parker

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