Registration | Agenda | Keynote Speaker | Pre-conference Sessions | Breakout Sessions | Lodging | FAQs | Supporters | Program Committee

Conference Description

Wisconsin Philanthropy Network is excited to welcome this year’s conference attendees to Milwaukee for an inspiring, action-oriented two-day conference. Our conference theme, Ignite – Aspire – Engage, will invite participants to take part in deep learning and thoughtful dialogue with colleagues, as we all look to the future of what’s possible for the philanthropic sector in Wisconsin. We hope this event serves as a spark of energy, collaboration, and creative thinking that leaves attendees excited about what’s possible for their own work, as well as our collective accountability for progress on pressing issues impacting communities statewide.   

WPN’s statewide conference is the largest gathering of philanthropic professionals in Wisconsin. This convening offers one-of-a-kind professional development and networking opportunities to support and promote effective philanthropy in Wisconsin. Specific conference objectives include:  

  • Continuing to explore and understand equity and trust-based approaches in philanthropy 
  • Engaging in action-oriented discussions 
  • Fostering connections between participants 
  • Highlighting usable tools and best practices to enhance effectiveness in philanthropy 
  • Promoting cross-regional sharing of ideas and collaboration
  • Furthering knowledge of the impact of philanthropy on critical issues facing Wisconsin communities 
  • Building relationships with key social impact decision makers across the state of Wisconsin 


Registration for the Statewide Conference is now closed.

Standard Pricing:
Member $275 // Non-Member $325
(discounted rates available for three or more registrations)

Pre-Conference Add-on Pricing:
Member $25 // Non-Member $50
(please note, you must register for the full conference to attend a pre-conference session)

Deadline to register Wednesday, October 25

November 8-9, 2023

Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel
139 E Kilbourn Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202


Wednesday, November 8 

  • 1:00pm-4:00pm – Pre-Conference Sessions  
  • 4:00pm-5:00pm – Break/Hotel Check In  
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm – Welcome Reception  

Thursday, November 9

  • 7:45am-8:45am – Registration, Continental Breakfast, Exhibitor Hall Open 
  • 9:00am-9:15am – Opening  
  • 9:15am-10:30am - Keynote Speaker – Brenda Solorzano   
  • 10:30am-10:45am – Networking Break / Exhibitors 
  • 10:45am-11:45am – Breakout Sessions – Round 1 
  • 11:45am-12:00pm – Networking Break / Exhibitors 
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm – Lunch Speaker
  • 1:00pm-1:15pm - Networking Break / Exhibitors 
  • 1:15pm-2:15pm – Breakout Sessions – Round 2 
  • 2:15pm-2:30pm – Networking Break / Exhibitors 
  • 2:30pm-3:30pm – Breakout Sessions – Round 3 
  • 3:45pm-4:15pm – Closing 

Keynote Speakers

Brenda Solorzano

Chief Executive Officer, Headwaters Foundation

A change maker and firm believer in the power of community, Brenda Solorzano works to drive innovation and continuous learning while reserving time for play. Brenda has dedicated her career to making a positive impact in the philanthropic world, focusing on issues related to community health and health policy that affect vulnerable populations. She believes that meaningful change happens when communities come together to engage in good work. 

Brenda’s philanthropic work is deeply influenced by Trust-Based Philanthropy, a values-driven approach that is rooted in advancing equity, shifting power and building mutually accountable relationships with nonprofit grantee partners. She shares her insights with audiences at the regional, national and international levels, advocating for Trust-Based Philanthropy to become the norm in philanthropic giving and offering guidance on starting a trust-based journey. Brenda is a founding member of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project and continues to serve on their steering committee. 

Brenda holds bachelor’s degrees in history and political science, as well as a juris doctorate. She is a member of the California State Bar Association and a Terrance Keenan Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Fellow. Currently residing in Montana, Brenda is learning to be an avid lover of the great outdoors, alongside her husband and two children.

Jeremy Triblett

Founder, JT Design & Present

Jeremy has spent the past 15 years providing training and technical assistance to the philanthropic and regranting sector, both as a full-time employee and private consultant. In his previous role as Training and Technical Assistance at The Public Policy Institute, he contributed to government-funded regranting efforts. Currently, he is the Prevention Integration Manager at Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Services, where he leads regranting efforts worth more than 2 million dollars. In 2018 Jeremy founded JT Design & Present, a consulting firm that offers professional development experiences aimed at curating professional development experiences that touch lives, change organizations and transform the world. He provides evidence-based, results-driven change management, strategic planning, instructional design, and presentation design services.

Jeremy’s work has helped advance government regranting efforts, funding partners, and private agencies via staff retreats, training series, keynotes and strategic planning. Recently, he facilitated his Joyful Equity series for private funders in 2022 and the Wisconsin Philanthropy Network in 2023.

Pre-Conference Sessions

Plan to join us November 8 for one of the following deep-dive sessions.
Please note, pre-conference sessions run concurrently. Register for only one.
Seating for pre-conference sessions is limited – be sure to reserve your spot today!

Advocacy & Grantmaking for Long-Term Change

November 8: 1-4pm

Interest in public policy advocacy continues to accelerate as funders recognize direct service support alone cannot meet the urgent and growing needs of communities across Wisconsin. It is essential for those committed to making sustainable, systems-level change to better understand the policy landscape, opportunities, challenges, and how to leverage public funding in combination with philanthropic investments. During this session, state and national experts will come together to offer funders guidance on the wide array of ways advocacy can complement and enhance grantmaking strategies. Facilitated in collaboration with Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), this session will highlight opportunities for systems-level progress through the lens of childcare – a longstanding public policy issue presenting challenges for every community in Wisconsin.

Impact Investing for your Community

November 8: 1-4pm

Ever wonder whether impact investing is right for your foundation? This session will explore the range of options available when incorporating impact investing into philanthropic strategy including (1) what it takes to start an impact investment program, (2) how do you get your board, staff, donors, and stakeholders aligned, and (3) pitfalls to look out for when you make your first investment. Presenters will use case studies based on actual foundation-funded deals to explore how foundation resources can be leveraged to finance pivotal initiatives. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions of those who have been there before and to seed new ideas for how impact investing could be used in your community. To make the afternoon most productive, foundation CEOs are encouraged to attend with CFOs and Board Members.  

Thursday Breakout Sessions

Centering Community

  • Community-Driven Philanthropy – a panel spotlighting how funders can elevate the voice and power of community in their grantmaking practice.
  • Measuring Impact with Trust-Based Philanthropy – how funders can embrace trust-based practice and still measure impact – a dialogue facilitated by Brenda Solorzano.
  • Identifying Root Causes – a workshop facilitated with UW Population Health Institute and Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment on why funders must understand upstream drivers and how this understanding can be used to improve health and advance equity.

Operationalizing Change

  • Opportunities in Capacity Building – a panel spotlighting successful models to spark collaborative learning and thought partnership on capacity building in WI.
  • Embracing Learning in Practice – a collaborative session with UW’s Co-Create team focused on how funders can embrace a learning orientation for greater impact in their work.
  • Steward Responsively by Reframing Risk – a session with PEAK Grantmaking on reframing risk and recalibrating vetting processes to make grantmaking more transparent, trust-based, and nonprofit and community-centered.

On the Horizon

  • Understanding the Fearless Fund Lawsuit – an overview by Foley and Lardner LLP of American Alliance for Equal Rights v. Fearless Fund - including potential implications for the philanthropic sector and what foundation leaders should be paying attention to in the months ahead. AAER is suing Fearless Fund Management LLC (a company focused on providing venture capital funding to women of color) for claims of racial discrimination and violations of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Rural Livability – a presentation by UW Extension and Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative on the critical role anchor institutions play in sustaining public services, civic engagement, and quality of life in rural communities.
  • Policy Trends – a presentation by the WI Policy Forum on policy trends impacting communities across the state of Wisconsin; including key provisions from the state budget and a deep dive on Education.


The Conference Room Block is now closed.

Saint Kate: The Arts Hotel

Discounted Rate: $149 per night plus taxes

Reserve your room by clicking below or calling 1-414-488-0540 and mentioning “Wisconsin Philanthropy Network” to secure your conference attendee discount. Please note that the room block closes Friday, October 13.   

Please contact Saint Kate: The Arts Hotel reservations online or by phone at 414-276-8686 to inquire about availability.

Book Your Room Now

Conference FAQs

Who should attend the conference?  

Wisconsin Philanthropy Network invites philanthropic professionals (including both foundation staff and board members) and partners looking to build their skills, as well as individuals interested in learning about trends and issues in philanthropy.  

Will there be a call for proposals?  

Wisconsin Philanthropy Network staff and planning committee members are actively engaging with members about programming content for this year’s conference. If you have an idea you would like to discuss with the WPN team, please reach out to Kristi Anderson (  

I can no longer attend the conference, can I transfer or cancel my registration?  

All registrations are eligible for transfer to another person at your organization. Cancelations must be requested in writing before Friday, October 13 and will receive a refund less a $100 cancellation fee. Any cancelations received after that date will not be eligible for a refund but may still be transferred to another person. Contact Michele St. Amour ( regarding cancelations and transfers.  

Can I attend the conference virtually? 

No, the conference will be in-person only.  

Past conferences have been one day - why the expansion to two days?  

In 2023, Wisconsin Philanthropy Network is testing a new multi-day approach. Day one will allow attendees to dive deep on key issues, while day two will have a more traditional conference feel. We hope the two-day format will encourage more networking between attendees.  

Will you have exhibitors at this year’s conference?  

Yes, please contact Karla Lodholz ( with any interest in being an exhibitor or a conference sponsor.  

Will you have COVID-19 health protocols as part of your conference?  

Yes, these protocols will be updated closer to the event aligned to recommendations from public health professionals.  

Is parking available on site?

Yes – a parking garage is available at the conference venue. Use the vehicle entrance on 819 N. Water Street or on E. Kilbourn Avenue just west of the main entrance into Saint Kate.

Thank you to our Supporters

Program Committee

Thank you to members of the program committee for their leadership in designing a thoughtful and engaging conference experience! 

  • Amy Putzer, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation  
  • Brenna Holly, Johnson Controls  
  • Jennifer Charpentier, Gateway Technical College Foundation  
  • Jim Marks, Philanthropic Consultant  
  • Julie Bauer, Alliant Energy Foundation  
  • Kathryn Dunn, Greater Milwaukee Foundation 
  • Maggie Pascaly, American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation  
  • Merilou Gonzales, Bader Philanthropies
  • Noah Salata, American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation  
  • Scott Gelzer, Individual Donor & Philanthropic Consultant 
  • Wyatt Jackson, Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin
No Solicitation Policy: In order to provide a distraction-free environment for our members and other attendees, we will not allow solicitation during this event.