Leading By Example Conference Provides a Platform to Discuss the Role of Philanthropy in the U.S. and Considerations for the Next Generation of Wealth

October 4, 2018

On Oct. 4, the Boston Foundation, Boston College, and Ropes & Gray hosted the third daylong Leading By Example conference on the latest developments and best practices in charitable giving.

The conference was attended by more than 160 professional advisors, family office leaders, non-profit professionals, and donors, and provided a forum in which they could share their experiences, review recent developments, discuss best practices, learn from other experts, and express their passion for philanthropy.

Themes for this year’s conference included the implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and potential follow on legislation, workforce development, the face of nonprofit leadership, impact investing, social capital, effective philanthropy and alternative giving vehicles, political advocacy, multi-generational philanthropy, and the science of happier spending. Introductory remarks were made by Paul Grogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Boston Foundation. Michael I. Norton, Brierley Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presented the keynote address.

Throughout the day, conference participants attended a number of breakout sessions led by speakers recognized as experts in their fields. Among these sessions were two panels featuring leaders from Ropes & Gray. Private client group partner Martin Hall led a panel discussion titled “Beyond the Private Foundation” that examined alternatives for donors who want to create a fund to realize their charitable giving goals. Additionally, Ropes Wealth Advisors financial planner Frank Sennott moderated a panel discussion titled “Strategic Philanthropy: Current Trends, Challenges and Innovations,” which touched upon generational differences when it comes to giving, among other topics.

The final plenary session of the conference addressed changing the face of nonprofit leadership in the city of Boston. Studies show the percentage of people of color in executive director/CEO roles in nonprofit organizations has remained under 20% for the last 15 years, even as the people they serve and the country at large have become increasingly diverse. Panelists suggested that as senior leaders are retiring in increasing numbers, this a crucial time for organizations to plan for succession and to address longstanding questions about diversity and inclusion in talent and leadership.

In her closing conference remarks, Tiziana Dearing, professor of macro practice and co-director of the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College, described the nonprofit sector as experiencing a “large demographic transformation”. With an aging leadership class, a national redistribution of wealth and income, and innovations in globalization and communication, among other developments, it is imperative that organizations refresh their structure, strategy, operations and values to adapt to this changing environment.

The Leading By Example conference was organized by the Boston Foundation, Boston College, and Ropes & Gray, including private client group partners Martin Hall and Cameron Casey and Ropes Wealth Advisors financial planner Frank Sennott. Selected materials from this year’s conference are available here:

Leading by Example Leading by Example
Leading by Example