Past Symposiums

The 13th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium

"What Can I Do?" 

January 13-14, 2017

2017 Governance Symposium Program

What Can I Do? is the latest in a long series of uplifting songs from the Grammy Award winning gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama and their producer Chris Goldsmith. The song implores people to become more involved in helping a friend, or a group or a community, in any way they can. 

Governing well is one of the most profound ways to help our communities. And when it's exceptional, it has the biggest reach of all. The Blind Boys and their co-writers want to be part of a movement that catalyzes more people. To this end, they gave us this anthem to use in our work here and across the country.

This Nonprofit Governance Symposium focused on how we can grow exceptional boards, engage our communities and use "What Can I Do?" to support our work.  Going into the 13th year, this conference was designed to help nonprofits and philanthropies govern more effectively. Its objectives were simple:  to educate participants about the sector; inspire them to make positive changes to their organizations, and connect them with one another so that all can better understand the regional context that they operate within.

The 12th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium

Exceptional Governance Days

January 7-9, 2016

2016 Governance Symposium Program

The 11th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium

CommonSense Governance

January 8 - 10, 2015

The Eleventh Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium, held January 9-10, 2015, at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice reached over 550 individuals and resulted in over $50,000 being raised for the nonprofit leadership and management master’s program scholarship fund. Close to 70 percent of survey respondents said that they were already using information gained at the symposium and 90 percent of respondents were satisfied with the event overall.

With more than 35 workshops, fascinating keynotes by Dean Paula Cordeiro and Marjory Kaplan as well as Jan Masaoka, plus a plenary with the San Diego Opera, many felt that it was the best Symposium ever!

"I thought the [Symposium] was EXCELLENT.  I just wish I could have attended more workshops."

"I have attended for the last 4 years, but this one was the best. Jan Masaoka was the highlight for me: both her keynote and her plenary sessions were inspiring, fun, and packed with info."

Kids Included Together (KIT) was the recipient of the Ninth Annual Kaleidoscope Award for Board Excellence. Each year the Kaleidoscope Award committee, comprised of faculty and alumnus of the nonprofit leadership and management master’s program, honor a nonprofit organization who exemplifies excellent board governance.

2014 Governance Symposium Cover      Image of USB

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The 10th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium
Connecting the Dots: The Social Architecture that Undergirds Exceptional Governance

January 10 - 11, 2014

More than 330 participants showed up over two days to learn, network and get reenergized at the 10th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium.  

The 2014 symposium focused on practical and coherent design, best practices and successful examples of exceptional governance. An outstanding group of field experts shared best practices for building and sustaining exceptional governance.      

Here's what participants of the 10th Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium had to say about their experience...

“Outstanding! I have recommended [the symposium] to other boards I serve on and to friends on boards.”

 “[The symposium] was an excellent investment; I've been telling all of my colleagues to attend next year and my board members are telling the other board members the same.”

"The symposium was really important for the progress in our organization. Thanks all of you for your hard work."

"It was [time] very well spent. Got to connect with some of friends, meet other NP professionals, and become refocused and energized about this amazing San Diego sector."  

"I highly recommend this event to new and seasoned board members. It's interesting, inspiring and validating to learn we share common experience in the nonprofit sector."

"I made new, valuable contacts. I have a new perception of the nonprofit community. I took away practical applications that I will use. I was inspired by the high quality speakers and the rich experience they shared. I will recommend this to my fellow board members of two different organizations."

Symposium Program                    Gov CD

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Photo Gallery

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The Ninth Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium: 
Bringing the Kaleidoscope to Life

January 11 - 12, 2013

Moving from one kaleidoscope lens to another is critical for any organization, yet it is not easy. It requires new thinking and new approaches.  The ninth annual symposium featured sessions on all three lenses, providing the foundation to make it happen.

The symposium was comprised of two interconnected, yet independent days that featured a combination of large group conversations, small seminars, business resources and a comprehensive resource manual.  Our seminars met the unique needs facing organizations (and the people who steward them), and addressed all stages of organizational development. The program featured presentations by USD faculty and other experts in the field, and included the real-time success stories of our 2013 Kaleidoscope Award winners.

Download the Program for the Ninth Annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium.

2013 Symposium Materials