Catalist Conference 2020: Announcing New Plenary Speakers

Catalist, Power Up, WA Women's Foundation banner

As conference co-chairs, we’re thrilled to share our excitement for the fantastic speakers lined up for the Catalist 2020 National Conference, PowerUP! The Spark That Ignites Change.  We are expecting that 350 women, who are engaged in collective giving and grant making all over the United States, will come to Seattle to learn and network. The affiliates of Catalist, an organization that supports the creation, development, and expansion of women’s collective giving, come from 29 states and more than 70 organizations. WaWF’s role as host coincides with our 25th Anniversary year, and we’re counting on the membership of Washington Women’s Foundation to welcome and engage with your sister organizations that our Foundation helped spark.  If you are attending the Grant Award Celebration on June 11, look for us as we would love to introduce you to members of the Catalist Board of Directors., who represent Catalist affiliates from across the country.  They will be celebrating with us following their annual retreat, which is taking place in Seattle this year.

Seattle’s soggy reputation dominates our worldwide image, so we think it’s appropriate our conference timing allows visitors to see us as we really are, warts and all, February 23-25, 2020. While we can’t repel the rain, with your help, we can collectively dispel the notion of the disgraceful Seattle freeze.

Fortunately, Seattle’s notoriety also includes being a city full of progressives, writers, and philanthropists, so it’s fitting we have these thoughtful and insightful plenary speakers lined up:

Headshot of Vu Le

Vu Le, Executive Director of Seattle-based Rainer Valley Corp (2015 Education Merit Award winner), is a nationally noted humorist who explores the “fun and frustrations of nonprofit work” through his blog. Vu’s uses humor to disrupt the status quo and invites philanthropists to stop taking themselves too seriously while doing serious work.  Rainier Valley Corp received a Merit Award from Washington Women’s Foundation in 2017.

Headshot of Ijeoma Oluo

Writer Ijeoma Oluo’s columns and articles appear in a wide variety of publications.  She is best known for her New York Times bestseller is So You Want To Talk About Race, which was the 2019 Member Engagement Committee Book Selection for WA Women’s Foundation.  A thought-provoking read led to a great facilitated discussion among Foundation members.

Headshot of Tricia Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation

If you’ve been following Catalist, you’ll know that our keynote is Tricia Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, a Seattle-based family foundation focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness and improving the quality of after-school programs in our state. The Raikes Foundation has recently also stepped up its commitment to homelessness and has taken a hard look at the Foundation’s practices to reduce bias and increase equity in funding. We invite you to read more about all the speakers here.

If hearing these speakers address the topics of philanthropy’s role in reducing inequity in our community excites you, put July 1 on your calendar so you can register for the full conference right away. Early bird for members of Catalist affiliates will only be open for a limited time, and on August 1 we will open registration to the public. We are planning for a sell-out crowd, so look for more exciting announcements and the registration link in your WaWF newsletter.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to spend time talking and listening, learning and unlearning, creating and disrupting, with women from all over the country who devote time, talent, treasure, and testimony to improve our communities using collective giving as our vehicle for change.

Laura Midgley and Bo Lee, Catalist Conference 2020 co-chairs

Laura Midgley and Bo Lee
Catalist 2020 Conference Co-Chairs

2 responses to “Catalist Conference 2020: Announcing New Plenary Speakers

  1. Hi Laura and Bo
    Thank you for the update!

    You’re developing a great list of speakers for the conference and building momentum- well done.

    It’s good to honestly ‘own’ Seattle’s soggy weather, we know the city has so much else to offer conference attendees it’s great you will be telling that story too.

    Keep up the good work!
    Cheering from Melbourne, Gillian

  2. Gillian, Thanks for the shout out from Australia!
    We’re excited to have you return to your other roots for this event. You and the Melbourne Women’s Fund are proof of the reach and impact of the collective giving movement.
    All the best,
    Laura and Bo

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