Bridging the Divide: Building Community in Illinois

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Forefront is hosting Bridging the Divide: Building Community in Illinois, a statewide conference for members of Illinois’ diverse nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to network and learn with colleagues, content experts, and nationally known speakers. Participants will explore how to collaborate and to leverage their collective perspectives to improve lives and strengthen communities across Illinois. The conference will take place in Springfield, IL, October 18 + 19, 2017.

We're thrilled to announce that our keynote speakers include Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits, and Beth Kanter, a nationally recognized innovator in networks, learning, and social media. 

Details about the schedule, breakout sessions, and reception can be found using the links to the left. 

Questions about the event?

Please contact Sarah Tapscott (217-572-1866) with any questions about the conference or if you need help registering.


Speaker Highlights

Keynote: Beth Kanter

Beth Kanter has over 35 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, and capacity and has facilitated trainings for nonprofits all over the world. At Bridging the Divide, Beth will present realistic strategies for leaders looking to optimize organizational achievement while avoiding the common nonprofit burnout based on her book, The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit. Nonprofits are driven to do more, more, more, often with fewer and fewer resources; there comes a breaking point where passion dwindles under the weight of pressure, and the mission suffers as a result. Beth will discuss how to revamp your organization to do more and do it better, by putting cultural considerations at the heart of strategy.

Beth is trained and experienced in participatory facilitation techniques, such as design thinking, open space, and world café online, and face-to-face book and hybrids. She is an in-demand keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. Named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and one of the BusinessWeek’s "Voices of Innovation for Social Media," Beth was Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation 2009-2013.

Her past and current clients include Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, Gates Foundation, Brainerd Foundation, Knight Foundation, Knight Digital Media Center, Edutopia, HHS, and others. She currently serves as adjunct professor at Middlebury where she prepares graduate students for their internships at international nonprofits and how to use online networking tools to advance their careers.


Opening Keynote: Jan Masaoka

Jan Masaoka is the Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits. She is a thought leader on nonprofit organizations with particular emphasis on boards of directors, business planning, and the role of nonprofits in society.



Asset Framing: BMe Network

Benjamin Evans BMe NetworkThe increasingly volatile climate concerning race, communities, and America's future makes taking no position highly conspicuous and taking the wrong position extremely costly. Adaptive executive leaders and managers in social innovation, philanthropy, and major associations overcome that immobilizing fear by applying an award-winning cognitive frame that engenders understanding, confidence, and inspired constructive action. It's called "Asset-framing". BMe Network's interactive session will engage participants with knowledge from national and global authorities on cognition, racial narrative, social innovation, and engagement. This session will enable participants to:

  • Open more dignifying relationships with staff and communities of color
  • Make a much more convincing case for 'equity' and funding
  • Surface opportunities where others may only see problems
  • Learn about actionable assets of the US black community



Stay connected with the conference through social media using #BridgeTheDivide and following @MyForefront on Twitter.


Forefront is committed to providing a space for professional networking and education, therefore we ask that all registrants respect the learning environment of the conference and refrain from soliciting funds or business during this event.