Plug In! WPI 2020 Symposium Focuses on Tech and Giving Synergies

“Philanthropy Plugged In – Creating Community in the Digital Age” is the theme of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) 2020 Symposium.

The conference will be held in downtown Chicago on March 31 and April 1, and will focus on the intersection of technology, gender and giving. The two-day event will kick off with presentations and discussions in connection with Women Give 2020, which represents the tenth anniversary of the Women Give research series.

The 2020 Symposium will feature a mix of big-idea conversations and practical sessions. Technology’s role in transforming giving will have a central place, including how women entrepreneurs are leveraging technology to engage donors. Does technology empower more people to give and engage a more diverse donor community? What are the risks and rewards of the digital transformation for philanthropy?

The WPI Symposium offers an opportunity for reflection, learning, sharing, connecting, and discussing trends and changes in philanthropy. A symposium hallmark is the emphasis on “why” and not “how-to,” enabling attendees to step back from day-to-day demands and reflect on the changing philanthropic landscape. The symposium is aimed at a range of attendees including philanthropists and donors; philanthropy, business, and government leaders; family, community and private foundation CEOs, board members, and senior staff; professional advisors who counsel philanthropists; fundraising practitioners and consultants; and researchers.

In addition to the Women Give 2020 presentation and discussion, conference panels will explore big picture issues regarding the impact of technology on women’s giving. Breakout sessions will present case studies on topics including religious giving, Impact Austin and Amplify Austin, and #GivingTuesday. The conference will also feature “Action Labs” on topics ranging from Facebook fundraisers to pop-up giving circles and content creation.

Among the conference speakers so far confirmed are Sloane Davidson, founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor, a nonprofit supporting recently resettled refugee families though mentorship; Shannon Farley co-founder and executive director of Fast Forward, which builds products and programs to accelerate tech for good; Tiffany Williams, founder and CEO of Givly, a giving and stewarding platform designed to inspire and harness the philanthropic spirit among young donors; Mindi Laine, senior managing director for the Dartmouth College Fund and director of the Centennial Circle, Dartmouth’s women’s leadership philanthropy program; Christina Canales Gorczynski, executive director of Impact Austin, a women’s collective giving organization funding Central Texas nonprofits; and Amany Killawi, Co-Founder and COO of, a crowdfunding platform supporting Muslims worldwide by helping them raise funds for their projects, campaigns, and creative ideas.

The conference sponsor, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, is dedicated to conducting, curating, and disseminating research that grows women’s philanthropy, including understanding how gender shapes giving behavior. WPI’s latest research includes the “Women & Girls Index,” which identifies 45,000+ organizations in the United States dedicated to women and girls. The WPI is housed at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, whose mission is to increase understanding of philanthropy and improves its practice worldwide through critical inquiry, interdisciplinary research, teaching, training, and civic engagement.

Conference registration is now open, and sponsors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fidelity Charitable, Facebook, CCS Fundraising, Schwab Charitable, Center for Women & Health, Brown Brothers Harriman, Graham-Pelton, and Johnson Grossnickle + Associates.


Philanthropy Women covers funding for gender equity in all sectors of society. We want to significantly shift public discourse, particularly in philanthropy, toward increased action for gender equality. You can support our work and access unlimited and premium content with one of our subscriptions.

In The News

Author: Tim Lehnert

Tim Lehnert is a writer and editor who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. His articles and essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, the Boston Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Rhode Island 101, and has published short fiction for kids and adults in a number of literary journals and magazines. He received an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and an M.A. in English from California State University, Northridge.

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