Trust and Legitimacy—Solving Problems Together

The efficacy and legitimacy of institutions and processes of decision-making and governance have been called into question. Under pressure, states fail and state systems fray. Even in democracies, a pervasive loss of trust tests our ability to solve large problems. During our time together we will consider the ways philanthropy and civil society can help rebuild social capital and restore societal cohesion, including by modeling collaborative problem-solving across disciplines, sectors, cultures—and even ideologies.

  • We start with the child and explore ways to invest in his or her capacity to adapt, rebound, invent and even thrive under the stresses of scarcity, poverty and struggle.
  • We then move to societies in the midst of change, and consider the ways in which a culture of pluralism may be built—for that may be the test of their viability.
  • We will consider inputs and influencers like the media—high-tech and low—when either hate or reconciliation travels over the web, the airwaves, through whispers and dog whistles.
  • And finally, to the norms, processes and institutions that are the platforms for governance, justice and shared problem solving—how to build, monitor, and participate in them, and, when necessary, how to work around them.

Case studies will include the Colombian experience in forging peace with the FARC, rejecting and then embracing it. And there will be more; for most of the innovations we’ll consider will come from the Global South, as will some cautionary tales. But we will also draw on problems and solutions found in the North, for the decentralization of decision-making and authority and concurrent loss of legitimacy and trust is a global experience, almost universally felt.


Conference Format

The Conference format includes opportunities for GPF members to learn from and engage with our speakers during plenary panels and theme-focused working groups in which to roll up our sleeves and solve problems together. In addition, our opening speed networking event, breakfast table talks and evening cocktail receptions will provide additional time for members to meet, collaborate and take action on topics discussed.

Plenary Panels 

Throughout the three-day Conference, plenary panels in the form of moderated conversations will feature experts and leaders of philanthropy, civil society and international organizations from around the globe.

Working Groups

At the heart of the Conference are problem-solving working groups on specific topics, which allow participants to engage with the programmatic content more deeply, confront problems together and identify opportunities for action. The working groups are chaired by skilled facilitators and seeded with key on-the-ground actors and innovators who are close to the problem under discussion. These practitioners are called on during different parts of the sessions to frame segments of the discussion, but Working Groups are platforms for you to engage comfortably, candidly and spontaneously.

Participants will discover, experience, intuit and reason together on the following working group tracks. Each track will have three sessions throughout the conference that focus on a specific topic within that track.

[As of this writing, Plenary Panels and Working Groups are being finalized.]


About the Global Philanthropy Forum

Since its founding in 2001, the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) has grown into a diverse community of purpose-driven philanthropists, grantmakers and social investors from all over the globe. Each spring, we have an opportunity to come together – alternating between Silicon Valley and Washington, DC – to celebrate our collective successes, learn from our failures and discuss solutions to our most pressing challenges.

At GPF, the person sitting next to you is as informed, engaged and committed as the person on stage. GPF members come prepared both to teach and learn. There will be plenty of time to assess strategies, share lessons learned explore creative partnerships that will advance your social goals.

Event Information

Conference Eligibility 

Conference invitations are not transferable. This gathering is intended for individuals who have made a significant commitment to philanthropy, donors who have established family foundations and executives of corporate, private or public foundations based in the US and overseas. For these individuals, conference includes membership to the Global Philanthropy Forum.

Conference attendees are established and emerging philanthropists and investors who seek to advance individual opportunity globally and to improve the quality of life through strategic giving and investing. The conference has been designed to create a safe environment where attendees may learn from one another and share best practices.

If you would like to nominate someone to attend based on the eligibility guidelines above, please fill out this application or contact Meghan Kennedy: [email protected], +1.415.293.4657.

Register Online

All conference attendees must register online and we encourage you to register early. Registrations are confirmed once registrants receive a confirmation letter from the APF with further detail about the Conference.

Conference Pricing

$2,200 Early Bird Registration - available through 1/20/17 only
$2,450 Conference Registration

Cancellation and Wait List Policy 

Conference fees are fully refundable through 2/28/17 and 50% refundable between 3/1–3/31/17. Conference fees are not refundable after 3/31/17. Conference space is limited. If we are unable to accommodate you at the time of registration, your name will be added to our wait list and we will contact you if space becomes available.

Hotel Accommodations

GPF 2017 will be held at The Fairmont, Washington, DC. To make hotel reservations, call +1.800.257.7544 within North America or +1.506.863.6310 internationally. Please make your reservations early. Use “GPF17” to benefit from the group rate, available until 3/21/17, or when the rooms sell out. GPF cannot guarantee the special rate once rooms have sold out.

Visa Information

GPF participants and speakers are expected to secure their own visa to gain admission into the United States. Please consult the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy closest to you at your earliest convenience in order to avoid any last minute delays. Should you need a letter confirming your participation at the GPF Conference please contact Meghan Kennedy at [email protected] or +1.415.293.4657.