2019 Convening

Detroit, Michigan

Moving Forward Together: People, Power, and Justice

On November 19-21 in Detroit, MI, FCCP’s network turned out in record numbers for the 2019 Convening, Moving Forward Together: People, Power and Justice, in Detroit, MI. Together, we were moved by the words of Detroit-based organizers and field practitioners from around the country who are dedicating their lives to moving society forward in a way that equitably builds power and community.

As we look toward 2020, FCCP’s events may look a little different, but our commitment to providing convening spaces that move our network to dig deep on critical issues and prioritize ways to propel long-term change will continue.

Please note that our convening was only open to funders (FCCP members or not) and invited speakers.

Convening highlights

FCCP’s 2019 Convening brought together more than 260 registrants for three days to discuss the most pressing issues of our time through plenaries, breakout sessions, and small group discussions. Attendees kicked off the convening learning about our host city of Detroit, the unique climate of organizing in Michigan, and what philanthropy can do to positively impact the world around it. Featuring powerful openings from Ariel Simon from The Kresge Foundation and from Monica Lewis-Patrick from We the People of Detroit, we grounded the convening in the importance of equity and power building to grow organizers’ and philanthropy’s impact and how Michigan can serve as a catalyst for the rest of the country.

Our keynote speaker, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, joined us for a conversation on her organizing background in the Detroit area that in turn led her directly to her work in Congress today.  She charged attendees to come back from Detroit feeling powerful and emboldened to support real change in communities.

Additional plenaries over the course of the convening included one that tackled race and power head on, looking at what work is being done across communities to ensure we are fighting the efforts to disempower and diminish people of color with a powerful vision for a true multiracial democracy. Later, another plenary showcased narrative and cultural change as a means of organizing at the national and local levels and how the dynamics of funding and infrastructure effect this space. Our final plenary took us on a journey of what our work beyond 2020 can look like and how we truly can move forward together.

Convening attendees also had the opportunity to hear from leaders across the field dedicated to building power and uplifting democracy in and equitable and meaningful way through our breakout sessions. Topics included: the innovative models of collaboration and engagement being used toward the 2020 Census; the climate that exists in organizing by and with communities of color; how both (c)(3) and (c)(4) efforts can help achieve funder goals; the impact of money in politics on communities; and methods to strengthen intersectional power building and interventions that are grounded in an inclusive democracy, among nine other sessions.

Our evening out on the town featured a dinner at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit with Afrofuturist artist Bryce Detroit and African instrumentalist Efe Bes using performance art to discuss ancestral identity and native culture and how they are reframing the conversation around building power and redefining civic engagement.

As we reflect today, we are proud of all the powerful discussions attendees drove forward at the convening. We are excited to take the learnings from the convening and continue the conversations in the months and year ahead.

Top Photo: Danielle Atkinson, Mothering Justice; Jamila Martin, Movement Voter Project; Tameka Ramsey, Michigan Voice; Art Reyes, We the People – MI; Branden Snyder, Detroit Action
Middle Photo: Erin Byrd, Partnership Funds
Bottom Photo: Artists Bryce Detroit & Efe Bes

Things we heard

  • I loved “the opportunity to build relationships with and learn from other thought partners, and to build more interest among national partners in [my state’s] grassroots infrastructure.”
  • “I really enjoyed this conference. Thanks to all of the planners and organizers – I learned tons and look forward to returning.”
  • “I loved that it was so centered in the work of local and Midwest-based community organizers and organizations

Photo: FCCP Advisory Board Members Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, Steven Cole-Schwartz, and Denise Cardinal toast outgoing Co-Chair Connie Malloy


As we gathered for FCCP’s 2019 Convening, with critical questions facing our democracy, a powerful upswell of organizing and engagement helped reshape what appeared possible for 2020 and beyond. From November 19 through 21 in Detroit, Michigan, FCCP brought together grantmakers, thought leaders, and changemakers in strategic dialogue. We discussed our challenges, learned from shining examples that are propelling our democracy and equitable participation, and identified opportunities for collaboration.

You helped make this convening a success. Because we work to keep registration fees as low as feasible, they alone do not cover our costs to hold the annual convening. Thank you for supporting FCCP and this hallmark event by sponsoring a portion of our three days together.

For more information on sponsorship, contact Elizabeth Shapiro at eshapiro@funderscommittee.org.