Dear friend,

NFG’s 2023 National Convening is one month away! We’ve been planning this convening since 2021 and are deeply appreciative of the support and guidance of our members and partners who have helped us shape our incredible convening program, including our convening Co-chairs — Chi-Ante Jones of Kolibri Foundation & Cypress Fund and Tania Durán of Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.

Two side-by-side headshots, enclosed in colorful freeform circles. Headshots are of Chi-Ante Singletary-Jones and Tania Durán. Captions include their names, pronouns (she/her), and organizations.

In this newsletter, we’re sharing some convening reflections and excitement from Tania and Chi as we approach our convening registration deadline (this Friday, April 14!).

Q: Connection is the frame for NFG’s 2023 National Convening — one that potentially asks some funders to practice a new way of gathering in space with us/their peers. How would you like to encourage funders to stretch themselves throughout the convening?

From Chi: "I encourage funders to use their time in Wilmington to engage in intentional rest and dreaming. Through those pathways, the authentic connection will happen with the place and space they occupy and the people attending the convening. It is also for many people the first time engaging in the community after years of being virtual, so I recommend that people pace themselves.

Finally, I invite funders to think about what they can do beyond the money. Can you volunteer with a group? Share a healthy eating tip with a fellow funder. Create a self-care accountability group. I hope we can think of how we can show up for each other beyond the ways we move money."

From Tania: "My invitation for funders is to practice connection at multiple levels:

Connection to ourselves individually. In the spirit of self-care and co-care, listen to your needs about how you would like to engage in community. This may involve things such as more rest and having individual time for decompressing and rest, sharing meals, dancing together, etc. Connection to others is not necessarily about quantity but creating the right space for you to show up and be present.

Connection to the land and community. If you are able to, take advantage of the opportunities to learn about the place — including the learning visits, and conversations with grantee partners and funder partners about Wilmington and Eastern NC. Immerse yourselves in the historical context and its implications for our work now, ask questions, and be present.

Connection to peers. Build authentic relationships at the human level in addition to the work. For me, it helps to ask questions to understand what drives others, what renews their hopes in times like this, what practices ground them, and what they do for fun. For me, it's about the possibility of co-creating an authentic space where we can get our guard down and bring our full selves. When we connect at the human and value level — beyond our roles — visioning together and co-conspiring becomes easier."

Q: In what ways do you expect or hope that NFG’s National Convening will generate a different type of experience for funders? Which parts of the convening programming are you most looking forward to?

From Tania: "In Wilmington, we will be creating a co-learning experience that normalizes community care, and having courageous conversations that catalyze strategies and practices to build collective power through an equity lens. The convening promotes connection by balancing analysis and praxis, play, rest, and deep conversations.

To be honest, [I'm looking forward to] the whole thing. All the plenaries, the funder organizing training, the learning visit, the parties, and dancing!"

From Chi: "NFG will build a different type of experience for funders through its thoughtful and spacious agenda. The NFG team has made intentional time for deeper connection-building and donor organizing, which will facilitate more opportunities for support to movement leaders looking to build power. Given how packed most days are, we will all benefit from having more time to decompress, dream together, and reset.

I am most excited about the Black Joy Space and the learning visit. Both spaces offer funders and community members opportunities to connect beyond the work and build deeper relationships. I am also excited to spend more time in Eastern North Carolina, experiencing the land and getting out of the traditional conference space."

NFG is a beloved community and political home for so many funders. Chi and Tania’s reflections underscore our excitement and vision for both the upcoming convening and the future of NFG’s work. We are grateful for their membership and all of their work helping to bring this convening to life.

We look forward to building with you,
the NFG Team