2020 Annual Conference

Program Dates 
August 3, 2020 - April 8, 2021

Save the date for our signature event, now virtual! Registration opens in July.

Centered on improving outcomes for every learner, our annual conferences are designed to challenge education philanthropists as they adapt to a rapidly evolving field that is ever more interconnected. 

Highly rated year after year, our conferences unite funders and experts in exploration of the deep and sometimes thorny education and philanthropic issues on the horizon.

Keeping Our Promises to the Next Generation: Education and Democracy

Our democracy—both its people and its systems—has reached an inflection point. More than half of students enrolled in public education are learners of color, and the United States will soon have no clear racial or ethnic majority. The needs of learners are constantly, quickly evolving as a complex future unfolds that few can predict. Civic, community and family engagement are particularly important as we feel divided by politics, identity and technology.

  • Is our education system prepared to serve a student populace that differs significantly from when the system was developed?
  • Are we preparing young people to participate in a society that looks and acts profoundly different from the one we grew up in?
  • Will today’s learners be ready and able to meet the promise of fulfilling work and meaningful contribution to society?
  • What essential capacities will learners need in order to support a strong democracy?

As priorities, demographics and technologies change, our education system must be responsive to the changing needs of students. An inclusive democracy depends on it.

We invite you to venture into big and brave thinking on these issues. Join with hundreds of education funders, experts and partners to explore the role of philanthropy in shaping and supporting a resilient democracy and vibrant public education for the next generation.


Along with Grantmakers for Education members, we have planned an engaging and ongoing set of virtual offerings:

  • Conference Week. October 12 – 16: a series of high-profile speakers, case studies, virtual site visits and networking that emulates the elements of the conference that are highly valued by members.
  • Conference Year-Round. August 3, 2020 - April 8, 2021: a curated array of learning sessions led by GFE members on relevant and timely topics a regular basis.
  • New Research and Ongoing Collaboration. During the conference period: a survey and new GFE report on the big vision for education in the recovery to launch conversations about how grantmaking priorities have evolved during the year's events and help chart a course for collective action.