AGB to Host 26th Annual Foundation Leadership Forum in Orlando, Florida, at Critical Time for Higher Education

By AGB November 17, 2021 Press Releases
Press Release

For Immediate Release
Morgan Alexander

WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2021)—The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier organization advocating strategic board leadership in higher education, will convene college, university, and institutionally related foundation leaders in Orlando, Florida, for the annual Foundation Leadership Forum, January 30–February 1, 2022. At a critical time for higher education, and when many conferences are being held virtually, the Forum will bring leaders together in person to develop leading practices for advancing the strategic priorities of their institutions, enhance the foundation-institution partnership, discuss methods for navigating current and emerging challenges, and strengthen governance. 

The conference program will feature key sessions that focus on this year’s theme, “Foundations of the Future.” As higher education continues to address COVID-19 challenges and other micro- and macro-level trends, institutionally related foundations must strategize for a future that may look very different than anticipated. Forum attendees will engage in discussions about salient issues, exploring how foundations and their boards can be essential partners with their institutions.

The agenda features the following sessions: 

  • Carlton Brown, PhD, former president of Clark Atlanta University and Savannah State University, will moderate an esteemed cross-sector panel of experts and highlight trends in transformational giving over the past decade, including “venture philanthropy” and donor focus on return on investment. The panel also will explore how higher education leaders anticipate these changes could affect the work of foundations in years to come. Speakers will include Noah D. Drezner, professor of higher education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and founding editor of Philanthropy & Education; Alfred E. Harrell III, CEO of Southern University System Foundation and The Valdry Center for Philanthropy at Southern University; and Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University, trustee emerita of Rice University, former trustee of Princeton University and Howard University.
  • Kathy Schmidlkofer, CEO and president of the University of Minnesota Foundation, will moderate a robust discussion with endowment professionals as they dive into the endowment portfolio in a post-COVID era. Speakers include Amy O’Brien, executive vice president and global head of responsible investing of Nuveen, a TIAA company; Deborah Spalding, co-chief investment officer of Commonfund Asset Management; and Mary Stokes, managing director and market investment executive of Bank of America.  
  • Tony Williams, trustee of Oregon State University Foundation, will moderate a discussion on the state of public higher education and ongoing questions concerning public investment in higher education, especially in the midst of a national debate on equity and racial justice. Panelists will include Michelle Cooper, PhD, deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education; Sue Cunningham, president and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University and former chancellor of the State University System of Florida; and Anita Zucker, chair of the University of Florida Foundation Board of Directors, trustee of the University of Florida and Trident Technical College. 
  • Lynnette Heard, former executive director of board relations and secretary of the board, University of Cincinnati Foundation, and Council of Board Professionals ambassador and senior fellow at AGB, will examine the aspirational “Leadership Quartet,” where board chairs and chief executives of four diverse institutions and foundations will offer insights from their collective experience and knowledge as exemplars in this era of new foundation-institution realities. The quartet will include Joyce McConnell, president of Colorado State University; Nicole Washington, vice chair of the Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees and trustee of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University; Vita Pickrum, president of the Delaware State University Foundation; and Terri Cofer Beirne, chair of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees. 

“We look forward to convening in person in 2022,” said Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO. “Our members appreciate the timeliness of the Forum as institutions and foundations continue to overcome challenges in the face of COVID-19 and position for the future. In response to our members’ needs, we are pleased to add even more opportunities for sharing insights and networking among peers.” 

Full details on the meeting, including the conference agenda, registration information, location/hotel information, COVID-19 safety protocols, and more, can be found on the conference website. The list of participating foundations and institutions can be found here.


About AGB
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the premier membership organization that strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. Through our vast library of resources, educational events, and consulting services, and with 100 years of experience, we empower 40,000 AGB members from more than 2,000 institutions and foundations to navigate complex issues, implement leading practices, streamline operations, and govern with confidence. AGB is the trusted resource for board members, chief executives, and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership. 



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