An online conference about community foundations and their supporters as architects of change

JUNE 14 – 15, 2022

Key question
How can you creatively influence change without being in a position of control?
How can you help build structures that are generous and supportive of local communities, capable of innovating and adding substantive value for the long term?
We will explore in a dialogue that starts from stories of practice some of the means and methods that can work from such a position of non-control, but strategic influence over a system.
Sessions focus
Asking the ‘how’ questions about infrastructure organizations
The 2022 edition focuses on support practices – what they are, what makes them effective and how they matter.
We harvest the questions and reflections of emergent and established professionals who are cultivating community foundation movements in different regions of the world to think together ways of moving past obstacles and surfacing new resources and opportunities.

21st Century Organizations

How does an organization fit for the future think and act? 

We frame conversations on challenges as opportunities for collective imagination that orient organizational practices towards future relevance and impact.

Practices, Principles, Obstacles

What makes an infrastructure effective? How can it overcome obstacles?

We explore the practices and principles to act as a strong infrastructure organization, surfacing the relevance of this kind of work in the current and future context.

Impact and Resources

How can we look at impact creatively? What other resources are there?

There is a growing awareness that systemic impact is collective and that we can expand our resources and reach by being creative and working together.

Participants & Goals

Thinkfrastructure is a space for practitioners who are interested to ask strategic questions about their work and practical questions about the strategy. Those who are interested in both the why and the how. Who are ready to connect to peers around the world and have the curiosity and joy of learning and finding inspiration in different contexts.

You will connect with: 

  • Change architects building a new movement that is relevant and resilient or expanding opportunities of existing CF movements.
  • Community foundation founders and executive teams who want to position their organization to respond to opportunities and challenges of the future.
  • Ecosystem partners, including seasoned practitioners, funders and regional networks that support community foundations movements to share and strengthen practices.

Thinking like an infrastructure organization of the future.

Thinkfrastructure is a practitioners-centred online conference inviting philanthropy and development professionals to take an infrastructure view of community foundations and their support organizations.

It also invites practitioners to view themselves as architects of change, intentionally shaping effective infrastructure organizations and, in doing so, influencing the philanthropy field.

  • The conference explores how a systems-level positioning opens wider possibilities for transformational action and considers both strategic and practice-level implications of think(ing like an in)frastructure organization.
  • As an annual meeting space for the international community of practitioners working to support emerging community foundations, it is also an opportunity to discover one another’s work and convene around shared field-level questions.
  • To uphold a sense of community gathering, the conference gives space for stories of foundation and support work and prioritizes smaller group conversations where principles and practices are surfaced, harvested and shared with peers.
  • Thinkfrastructure is INSPIRE’s flagship community event, a platform to connect with emerging and established leaders in the field, with new learning materials and with other community-oriented spaces such as Practitioners Circles.

The conference is designed to help:

  • Advance a common imagination of what infrastructure actors can achieve (catalyst)
  • Distribute value from different points of the network to all members by sharing resources  (capacity)
  • Support practice based knowledge generation and access  (capability)
  • Connect based on practitioners’ interests and experience (connections)
  • Enhance the visibility of practitioners (credibility)

Some of the outcomes we hope participants leave with are:

  • A shared sense of hope, courage and excitement to start or continue in the catalyst and system entrepreneur roles.
  • A stronger connection between values and vision for the future and the scope of work of supporting community foundations.
  • Enhanced potential that the interactions, structures and relationships within community foundation movements put in practice this vision of the world.
  • A map of resources in different corners of the world – practitioners who are engaged in similar practices – and a sense that they can count on the experiences and resources of this community in dealing with the complexities of this type of work.

Two step conversation

Explore + Strategize

You are invited into a journey to discover the practices, the questions and the collective strategies to overcome the obstacles of doing quality infrastructure work.

Exploring practices & meanings

Surface diverse understandings of infrastructure and challenges at different starting points on this journey.

Regional Workshops: Working as Architects of Change

Make sense of terms, revisit learnings from 2021 and converge towards a shared language for community foundation infrastructure.
Register to workshop