Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change


10th Annual Nonprofit Management Institute

Executive Education for Social Sector Leaders

Building Resiliency: Yourself, Your Organization, Your Society

September 9-10, 2015
With optional post-conference intensives: September 11, Stanford campus

Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center
326 Galvez St.
Stanford, CA

Coproduced by Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Quick Links
Conference Overview | Sessions | September 11 Intensive Sessions | Speaker Bios | Rates and Registration | What Previous Attendees Liked | What Your Conference Fee IncludesConference Facility and Location | Lodging | Sponsors | Privacy Policy | Cancellation PolicyContact Information 

Conference Overview

To celebrate the 10th annual Nonprofit Management Institute, the theme of this year’s conference is building resiliency.   

The concept of resiliency has captured the imagination of growing numbers of people in the field of social innovation because it helps answer pressing questions such as these: Why do some societies bounce back so quickly after a disaster while others don’t? Why do some organizations grow and innovate when others falter? Why are some people able to push forward even in the face of adversity? 

This year’s Nonprofit Management Institute—Building Resiliency: Yourself, Your Organization, Your Society—will explore these and similar questions, examining the role that resiliency plays at the personal, organizational, and social levels.

Yourself: Our communities, organizations, and companies need leaders who are resilient, who can stay the course of social change even after being knocked down, and who can sustain their work and themselves over the long haul. You will learn the characteristics and skills that define a resilient leader, and the ways that you can develop those characteristics and skills yourself and in members of your team. 

Your Organization: What are the qualities and attributes of organizations that can scale up and have a positive social impact have in common? Many of those qualities can be grouped under the term resilience. At this year’s Nonprofit Management Institute you will learn how to turn your organization and its culture into one that is resilient, adaptable, and equipped to “bounce forward.” 

Your Society: Resilience is an important factor that helps explain why some communities weather crises and emerge stronger than before and why others do not. Based upon tenets that are grounded in research, experts will explore and share with you the key attributes that resilient societies share, and explain how you and your organization can help to build resiliency into all parts of society. 

Register soon! The Institute's 10-year celebration is sure to sell out.



More sessions will be added soon—check back!

Building Resilient Organizations and Networks
Heather McLeod Grant, founder, McLeod-Grant Advisors
Alexa Cortes Culwell, founder and managing director of Philanthropy Futures

How can we create resilient nonprofit organizations and networks? Now more than ever, nonprofit leaders need to know how to build adaptive nonprofits and resilient networks in order to sustain and increase their social impact. This session will be lead by two experts in nonprofit and network development: Heather McLeod Grant and Alexa Cortes Culwell. They will draw upon the best-selling book Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits co-authored by Heather, along with a Framework for Impact, developed by Alexa first with the Sobrato Family Foundation for their Thriving Nonprofit Sector program, and later for webinars, an institute, and a nonprofit management class taught at Stanford University. What Heather and Alexa have learned in their 20+ years in the sector: success in nonprofits requires developing the core components for creating greater impact with a relentless focus on continuous improvement AND creating larger systemic change by building resilient networks. This session will provide new insights from Heather and Alexa's on-going consulting work building leadership, organizations, networks and movements for social change. Participants will leave with new insights about important trends in the field, and new ways of thinking about increasing their own effectiveness. 

Lean Experimentation for the Social Sector: Build Smart to Learn Fast
Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, educator, and author
Chase Adam, founder, Watsi
Alethea Hannemann, vice president of product and national programs, Taproot Foundation
Giff Constable, CEO, Neo

Resilience depends on agility: learning as quickly as you can about what works, so you can scale the right investments. The popularity of Lean Startup principles in the nonprofit sector is helping to bring that agility, so that organizations can build and sustain successful programs without huge up-front investments that sometimes lead in the wrong direction. Imagine you have a limited budget, a disruptive idea for a social-innovation product or service, and a short timeline to get your vision built and launched. How do you know if your idea will work--without burning through all your time and money? In this session, we’ll take a deep dive into a recent project to see how we went from idea to successful launch in just under four months—on time and on budget—by using a Lean Startup inspired approach. Product development teams often use prototyping to explore new products, but in social-networking systems, prototyping will only get you so far. In other words: some kinds of innovations just need to be launched to test. Come hear the story and learn when this Lean Startup-inspired approach makes sense, and hear a detailed case study on how a small team of designers, developers and product managers did it—carefully launching and developing in a way that minimized spend and risk, and maximized the chances that this new venture will succeed. In this session, we’ll discuss some of the most important principles of lean experimentation, hear from a couple of organizations using lean principles to build and scale new platforms, and explore how you can start using lean in your work tomorrow.

It Goes to 11: Communication Matters 
Sean Gibbons, executive director, The Communications Network

Organizations that communicate well are stronger, smarter and vastly more effective at creating change. So, how do you build an  extraordinary communications department? The secret is: you don't. Sean Gibbons, executive director of The Communications Network shares how fostering a culture of communication across your org can yield outsized impact. 


September 11 Intensive Sessions (Optional, Additional Fee)

Join Stanford Social Innovation Review and experts for a third day of workshop sessions. Pre-registration is required and must be purchased during your online registration. All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stanford University campus. The additional fee per workshop is $275. 

Developing Mindful Leadership
Mindful leadership is a way to create the space in one’s life to cultivate self-awareness and compassion, and to use that insight to lead with authenticity in a way that inspires others. Mindfulness not only provides leaders with calmness, clarity, and tranquility, but it helps leaders develop more authentic and resilient organizations. In this four-hour intensive session, attendees will learn about new research that supports the mindful leadership approach, along with the practical techniques that will help them transform their lives, their organizations, their communities—and their world.

Creating Strategic Communications
All too many nonprofit leaders fail to make communications a true priority. To be successful, leaders need to develop and constantly reinforce an internal culture that values effective communications as a programmatic strategy. In this intensive four-hour workshop, attendees will explore how investments in communications can pay enormous dividends! Attendees will learn about a variety of tools, media platforms, and practices where capacity, metrics, content, listening, and engagement can take their organizations to the next level.

Tapping into the Millennial Mindset
This year, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers to become America’s largest generation. There are also signs that Millennials may match and even surpass Boomers in their efforts to change society for the better. Nonprofit organizations can’t afford to ignore this energetic and creative generation. This four-hour session will provide research, strategies, and tactics to organizations that want to learn how to engage millennial donors, volunteers, and employees. Attendees will learn how to:

  1. Appeal to Millennial preferences.
  2. Create ways to help Millennials be personally engaged in the cause.
  3. Show Millennials specific examples of how their gifts of time and money will affect people in need of help.
  4. Leverage the peer influence of Millennials to spread the word about a cause.


Confirmed Speakers

More speakers will be added soon—check back!

Chase Adam, founder, Watsi

Chase Adam is the founder of Watsi, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that connects medical patients who can’t afford the procedures they need with donors through an online platform. Before the age of 21, Adam traveled, worked, or studied in more than 20 countries around the world. He spent time in private sector intelligence in Washington, helped start a national health program in Haiti, and served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. He’s rarely the smartest person in the room, but he’s usually pretty good at figuring out who is.

Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, educator, and author

A retired eight-­time serial entrepreneur‐turned-­educator and author, Steve Blank has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. He is author of the bestselling The Startup Owner’s Manual, and his earlier seminal work, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. His May 2013 Harvard Business Review article on the Lean Startup defined the movement. Steve is widely recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation. His books and blog have redefined how to build successful startups; his Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia has redefined how entrepreneurship is taught; and his Innovation Corps class for the National Science Foundation forever changed how the U.S. commercializes science. His articles regularly appear in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic and Huffington Post

Barbara Bush, CEO and cofounder, Global Health Corps

Barbara Bush is CEO and cofounder of Global Health Corps (GHC), which mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC was founded in 2009 by six twentysomethings who were challenged by Peter Piot at the aids2031 Young Leaders Summit to engage their generation in solving the world’s biggest health challenges. Since that time, GHC has placed nearly 600 young leaders with nonprofit and government health organizations in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and the United States. Prior to GHC, Bush worked in educational programming at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She has worked with Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa and UNICEF in Botswana, and has traveled with the UN World Food Programme. Bush is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and the UN Global Entrepreneurs Council. She sits on the board of directors for Covenant House International, PSI, Friends of the Global Fight for AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Bush graduated from Yale University with a degree in Humanities in 2004.

Neill Coleman, vice president, global communications, The Rockefeller Foundation

As vice president, global communications, Neill Coleman leads the foundation's global communications team in New York, Bangkok and Nairobi. The team uses a broad range of communications tools to publicize The Rockefeller Foundation's work to build resilience and more inclusive economies. Coleman is focused on how the foundation can pioneer new ways to hear and share innovative ideas and perspectives on serving the needs of poor or vulnerable people in a time of rapid change. Prior to joining Rockefeller Foundation, Coleman served as chief external affairs officer at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development where he helped communicate the Obama Administration's response to the housing crisis. Before assuming the leadership of HUD's Office of Public Affairs in 2009, Coleman served as assistant commissioner for communications at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and as director of communications for the New York League of Conservation Voters. He also managed North American communications for the global architecture firm RMJM. Coleman is a native of Glasgow, Scotland and has a master's degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He serves on the board of the Stonewall Community Foundation, the only public foundation focused on the needs of New York’s diverse LGBTQ community.

Giff Constable, CEO, Neo

Giff Constable is CEO of Neo, an innovation consulting firm that builds digital startups for others and for themselves. Constable is an entrepreneur and product designer with 20 years in the technology space. His eclectic background bridges six software and Internet startups, and includes dalliances in the art world and doing technology M&A. He wrote the book Talking to Humans, now used at Harvard, MIT, Berkeley and entrepreneurship programs around the world. His next book, titled The Innovation Studio, is focused on recurring innovation capabilities for large organizations.

Alexa Cortes Culwell, founder and managing director of Philanthropy Futures; visiting practitioner, Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

Alexa Cortes Culwell is the founder and managing director of Philanthropy Futures, a strategic advisory firm that works alongside leaders to chart the course for creating positive social change. The firm develops vision, strategic direction, and business models, energized by effective meeting design and facilitation, as well as leadership coaching to support implementation. Cortes Culwell also serves as a visiting practitioner at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. For nearly two decades, Cortes Culwell served as a foundation chief executive officer guiding philanthropic investments focused on building capacity and scale, first at the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and then at the Stupski Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from the University of San Francisco. 

Sean Gibbons, executive director, The Communications Network

Sean Gibbons is the executive director of The Communications Network, which supports foundations and nonprofits to improve lives through the power of smart communications. Prior to joining The Communications Network, he held a series of leadership roles at Third Way, a public policy think tank in Washington. D.C. and served as director of media strategy at the Center for American Progress. Before his career in public policy, Gibbons was an award winning producer at CNN. He was recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his role in the network’s live coverage of the September 11th attacks. His commentary and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Washington Post, ABC News & the BBC. An honors graduate of Colby College, he was a Hansard Scholar at the London School of Economics.

Alethea Hannemann, vice president of product and national programs, Taproot Foundation

Alethea Hannemann leads the product team at the Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit that is changing the social sector by making pro bono—including board service—ubiquitous, reliable, and rewarding in all professions. Hannemann speaks regularly on product design and cross-sector partnerships. Before joining Taproot, she worked in product and content management for Bay Area technology firms, and as a college instructor.

Erin Hart, managing director, Spitfire

Erin Hart believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change. She’s worked with foundations, nonprofits, government agencies and more to help them engage their audiences and develop programs that make a difference for people’s health, the environment and social justice. Before coming to Spitfire, Hart served as Fenton’s chief client officer and built the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s first communication department. During her time at the Foundation, she refreshed the organization’s identity and built an online presence to help people better communicate the Foundation’s focus and forge partnerships in science, patient care and the environment. At her own firm and GolinHarris, Hart worked with the American Legacy Foundation—and its popular truth campaign—and state and local health departments to develop tobacco-control campaigns that would prevent youth from starting to smoke. She also developed communications and marketing plans for smoking cessation campaigns across the country.

Heather McLeod Grant, founder, McLeod-Grant Advisors

Heather McLeod Grant is founder of McLeod-Grant Advisors; she’s a consultant, advisor, speaker, trainer, and entrepreneur with more than twenty years experience in the social sector. Her current work focuses on creating transformative leadership and networks for social change. McLeod Grant is helping launch several new leadership programs: the Irvine New Leadership Network (in the San Joaquin Valley of CA) and Catalyst Corps, a network of high-impact board leaders. She is also currently helping facilitate several issue-based networks in California: the iZone Silicon Valley, Housing California, and writing case studies of the Pioneers in Justice leadership network (Levi Strauss Foundation). She is the coauthor of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, and numerous other articles. Formerly she worked at McKinsey and Monitor Institute. McLeod Grant holds a master's in business administration from Stanford and a bachelor's degree from Harvard.


Rates and Registration

Early Bird Rates (Effective through July 31, 2015):

  • $995: Early bird rate for SSIR subscribers* and AFP members
  • $1,220: Early bird rate plus addition of AFP membership
  • $1,395: Early bird rate for non-subscribers and non-members

Regular Rates (Effective August 1 through September 8, 2015):

  • $1,175: Regular rate for SSIR subscribers* and AFP members
  • $1,400: Regular rate plus addition of AFP membership
  • $1,595: Regular rate for non-subscribers and non-members

On-Site Rates:

  • $1,375: On-site rate for SSIR subscribers* and AFP members
  • $1,600: On-site rate plus addition of AFP membership
  • $1,875: On-site rate for non-subscribers and non-members

*A US/Canada Print PLUS Digital subscription to Stanford Social Innovation Review is $49.95. To qualify for the discounted subscriber rate to the Nonprofit Management Institute, you must be a subscriber with a current, paid subscription. If you are not yet a subscriber, or if your subscription has recently expired, you can qualify for the SSIR discount if you subscribe or renew now at the web rate of just $49.95 ($69.95 International) for one year at If you are not sure if your subscription is up to date, you can check by going to and clicking on “manage my subscription.”

Group Discount
We also offer a group discount: Register three people from your organization and the fourth colleague attends for free! To register a group, please email Kristina Roberts at or call (202) 213-2477. 


What Previous Attendees Liked


  • "Once again, the Institute hit a 'home run' in terms of knowledge transmission, provocative thinking, and excellent speakers. This educational activity is truly transforming."
  • "Overall, this was an excellent valuable experience. It was the perfect event for me and my colleagues for this moment in our evolution as an organization."
  • "Terrific conference. A week out, I'm still digesting the information and will devote a lot of time to communicating it to my organization. Bravo!"
  • "One of the best conferences I have ever attended. Nice thoughtful mix of speakers, content—both theory and case examples, and delivery. The people I met at the conference were interesting, engaged and great to meet. Thank you so much for organizing! I look forward to more engagement with Nonprofit Management Institute and SSIR."


What Your Conference Fee Also Includes


  • Two full days of sessions and networking
  • Opportunity to sit with other registrants in affinity groups or around discussion topics
  • A list of conference attendees with contact information
  • A program guide with details about the presentations and other useful information
  • A post-conference website for additional resources
  • Optional add-on intensives the day after the conference ends (additional fee)
  • For all attendees, attendance qualifies for CFRE credits
  • Free internet service at the conference center and access to business center
  • Free shuttle from the Palo Alto transit center to the conference location
  • Opportunities to buy books written by speakers
  • Certificates of completion at the end of the conference
  • You will also enjoy delicious, primarily organic and locally grown food:
    • Welcoming poolside reception at the Sheraton hotel the night before the conference opens
    • Networking reception in Ford Gardens at the conference center after the first day
    • Continental breakfast both conference days
    • Delicious lunches in the outside garden
    • Coffee and refreshments at the end of the conference


Conference Facility and Location


Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center
326 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6105

The September 9-10 program will be held at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, a state-of-the-art facility located on Stanford University's campus. More information about the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, including public transportation, directions, and parking, is available here.

The September 8 welcoming reception will be held at the Sheraton Palo Alto. The September 11 post-conference intensives will be held on campus and exact locations will be available in August.

View a Google map of the Stanford campus with the conference venue pinpointed. 

Stanford is located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. The campus's 8,100 acres reach from the rural foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Stanford is conveniently located between two major airports—25 miles south of San Francisco International Airport and 20 miles north of San Jose International Airport. Mass transit is available from both airports to the Stanford campus and area hotels:

Find information about the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle here.
Find information about Caltrain here.
Find information about Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) here.

The campus and surrounding areas offer a myriad of opportunities for recreation and sightseeing. World-class shopping and dining are located only a mile away at the Stanford Shopping Center. A half hour drive north brings you to San Francisco. A two hour drive south brings you to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. To find out more, visit Stanford’s Visitor Information Services.



Sheraton Palo Alto
A room block has been reserved for Institute attendees at the Sheraton Palo Alto, which is conveniently located across El Camino Real from Stanford University and is next to the Palo Alto Transit Center. Rooms are available September 8-11 at these rates:

  • Double-bedded Room: $309 + tax
  • King Bed Room: $309 + tax

Book a room at the Sheraton Palo Alto online here, or call (800) 325-3535 and mention "2015 Nonprofit Management Institute" to receive the rates given above. These rooms and rates are available until the room block is fully booked or until August 17, whichever comes first. Any reservations received after the cut-off date will be taken on a space-available basis and the group rate will no longer be guaranteed. 

Cardinal Hotel
A room block has also been booked for Institute attendees at Cardinal Hotel—a charming, vintage hotel in downtown Palo Alto. If you want to stay here, you'll have to act fast. The room block offers 25 rooms a night, September 8-10, for these room types and rates:

  • Standard Room with Private Bath: $269 + tax
  • Room with Shared Bath: $139 + tax

Book a room at the Cardinal Hotel online here, or call (650) 323-5101 and mention the promo code "NPI2015" to receive the rates given above. 

These rooms and rates are available until the room block is fully booked or until August 8, whichever comes first. After August 8, conference attendees may still book a room using the room block reservation link and receive the rates listed above based on general hotel availability. Find more information about the hotel, including parking options for guests, at

View a list of other nearby lodging with a variety of price ranges. We do not have room blocks at these locations.



Interested in becoming a sponsor of this event? Contact Carrie Pogorelc at for more information. 


The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Since 1960, AFP has inspired global change and supported efforts that generated over $1 trillion. AFP's nearly 30,000 individual and organizational members raise over $100 billion annually, equivalent to one-third of all charitable giving in North America and millions more around the world. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information or to join the world's largest association of fundraising professionals, visit


Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) is an award-winning magazine and website that covers cross-sector solutions to global problems. SSIR is written for and by social change leaders in the nonprofit, business, and government sectors who view collaboration as key to solving environmental, social, and economic justice issues. Published at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, SSIR bridges academic theory and practice with ideas about achieving social change. SSIR covers a wide range of subjects, from microfinance and green businesses to social networks and human rights. Its aim is both to inform and to inspire.


Privacy Policy

Stanford Social Innovation Review and Association of Fundraising Professionals are committed to your right to privacy and to the ethical use of information online. We adhere strictly to the following privacy practices. We do not rent, sell, give, exchange, or otherwise share contact information with unrelated third parties.

This conference may be audio or video recorded, podcast, photographed, published, and archived. As such, participants and speakers grant SSIR and AFP permission for recording and use of images.


Cancellation Policy

A refund charge of twenty percent of the registration fee will be assessed for any cancellations received through August 28, 2015. After August 28, there will be no refunds for cancellation. A registration fee for a program may be transferred to another person one time with no penalty. Refund requests must be submitted in writing and will not be processed until after the event.


Contact Information

For questions about the program and logistics, please contact: 

Carrie Pogorelc
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Phone: (650) 724-3309

For questions about registration, please contact: 

Kristina Roberts
Association of Fundraising Professionals
Phone: (202) 213-2477


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