Client News Release: The Independent Sector, Our Common Future, #commonfuture17

DETROIT -- Independent Sector, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and the Council of Michigan Foundations will host more than 1,000 changemakers at Our Common Future in Detroit this October 25-27.

You’re invited to Our Common Future, a joint conference of three organizations that lead the way for social good nationally and in Michigan. 

WHAT:             Our Common Future

WHEN:             October 25-27, 2017

WHERE:          Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI 48243

More than 140 speakers including Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning, La June Montgomery Tabron of W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions, Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, Krista Tippett of On Being, Darren Walker of The Ford Foundation, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, and Sarah Eagle Heart of Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Highlights include:

  • Wednesday, October 25 at 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    Main Stage – Day 1
    : From his hard-hitting journalism on CBS Sunday Morning to his sharp satire on The Daily Show to his hilarious commentary on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, you know Mo Rocca will get Our Common Future off to an uncommonly entertaining (and inquisitive) start. Following an introduction from The Henry Ford’s Patricia Mooradian, Rocca will bring his trademark wit and insight to a moderated conversation with three of Detroit’s most innovative social entrepreneurs: Amy Peterson (Rebel Nell), Gary Wozniak (RecoveryPark), and Devita Davison (FoodLab Detroit).Then, La June Montgomery Tabron, president & CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will offer her reflections on how innovation and creativity can enable a more inclusive economy, and the talented musicians of Sphinx — fresh off an appearance at the Kennedy Center — will demonstrate the transformative power of diversity in the arts.
  • Wednesday, October 25 at 4:00 – 5:15 pm
    Why Philanthropy & Secular Organizations Must Engage Faith Communities
    : Faith communities have had an important role in many of the major social movements in American history. Participants will explore how faith has been leveraged as a motivating tool for social transformation, and consider how philanthropy and secular organizations can partner with the faith community in scaling social justice movement to effect change. (Speakers: Uma Viswanathan, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Sheilah Clay, Neighborhood Service Organization; and Jim Wallis, Sojourners)
  • Thursday, October 26 at 8:30 – 10:00 am
    Sustaining Your Impact in Uncertain Times: With the uncertainty of the new administration and rise of political activism across the country, leaders are called upon to be agile, to test out new strategies and approaches, and to engage stakeholders in new ways. Using a fishbowl format, three to four leaders from both nonprofits and foundations will share their personal journeys in this moment and invite audience members to sit alongside them and share theirs. By being vulnerable, all participants will walk away with a sense of how their peers are adapting to change with short-term agility and long-term sustainability in mind. (Speakers: Dahnesh Medora, Meyer Memorial Trust; Paul Weech, NeighborWorks America; Laura Meyers, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington; Sara Brenner, Community Wealth Partners)
  • Thursday, October 26 at 10:30 – 11:30 am
    Improving Social Outcomes Through an Experience Marketplace: 
    How can travelers have a positive social impact in your community and become actively engaged in advancing your mission? Airbnb will explain how it has expanded hosting opportunities for its community beyond homesharing and into an “experience marketplace” where travelers and locals connect over important social causes. Join Aoife McArdle, lead of Airbnb’s social impact experiences team, which aims to empower nonprofits by driving Airbnb users to engage in these social causes around the globe. Massive change is possible in a future where all travelers can have a real impact on social outcomes. (Speaker: Aoife McArdle, Airbnb)
  • Thursday, October 26 at 12:00 – 1:30 pm
    Main Stage – Day 2: A cynic might say that society-level problems will be around forever. This is the event to prove cynics wrong. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson will moderate a powerful conversation with Rosanne Haggerty (Community Solutions) and Sarah Eagle Heart (Native Americans in Philanthropy). They’ll be joined by Rip Rapson (The Kresge Foundation) and some of the incredibly talented Kresge Artist Fellows.
  • Thursday, October 26 at 3:15 – 4:45 pm
    The Real Deal with Racial Equity - Detroit and Beyond
    : In the struggle for civil rights, changes in beliefs are a prerequisite to changing social institutions. You’re invited to look through the lens of structural racism at the interaction between belief systems and institutions – and how their lack of alignment leads to inequality. During this session facilitated by the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), we’ll enter an environment of reflection and support, allowing us to challenge our perceptions, build a shared sense of history, and create a common framework for understanding racial equity. By exploring media strategies, message positioning, and storytelling for social change, you’ll learn how to turn lessons in action. (Speakers: Amina Kirk, Detroit People's Platform; Jeanette Lee, Allied Media Projects; Kaitlin Popielarz, Wayne State University's College of Education; Eliza Perez-Ollin, Detroit Equity Action Lab; and Peter Hammer, Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School)
  • Friday, October 27 at 8:00 – 10:00 am
    Impact Investing – From Concept to Closing: 
    Using real deals from different impact sectors, this interactive session will take you on the journey from concept to closing of two impact investments. Hear the perspectives of the various stakeholders as they share what worked well and what they will do differently in the next deal. Then, break out into smaller groups to take a deeper dive into an element of the work that most interests you to synthesize learnings, and discuss particular questions. (Speakers: Brenda Hunt, Battle Creek Community Foundation; Oran Hesterman, Fair Food Network; David Contorer, Hebrew Free Loan; Angela Barbash, Revalue; and Amy Peterson, Rebel Nell)
  • Friday, October 27 at 12:30 – 2 pm
    Main Stage – Day 3
    : As a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and a New York Times bestselling author, Krista Tippett has earned her reputation as one of America’s most acute observers of the human spirit. Put her into conversation with Darren Walker, one of America’s most innovative and outspoken philanthropic leaders, and the result is sure to produce light bulb moments of inspiration — or even headlines.

For the full schedule and more information on the sessions and speakers, visit You may also follow along on social media using #commonfuture17.


About Independent Sector
Independent Sector is the leadership forum for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations whose member networks collectively represent tens of thousands of organizations locally, nationally, and globally. Learn more at

About Michigan Nonprofit Association
Incorporated in 1990, Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) is a statewide membership organization dedicated to serving the diverse nonprofit sector through advocacy, training, and resources. MNA manages multiple programs and affiliates and is a sponsoring organization for AmeriCorps VISTA. Visit us at

About the Council of Michigan Foundations
The Council of Michigan Foundations is a community of philanthropists committed to improving outcomes for Michigan, and beyond. Through investing in the state's charitable organizations, convening business, government and nonprofit leaders, collaborating on critical issues, seeking innovative solutions, sharing knowledge and advocating, we leverage our collective voice to increase the impact of Michigan philanthropy. Learn more at