This intimate retreat, limited to 25 current leaders (CEOs, board chairs, and other family leaders) and co-sponsored with the Southeastern Council of Foundations, provides a unique opportunity to discuss fundamental questions of leadership, impact, sustainability and self-care. The retreat will include time for individual reflection and small group dialogue to explore together “habits of the heart” that tap into one’s inner wisdom, courage, hope, and hopelessness. The retreat is based on the work of Parker Palmer, noted author and co-founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

10:30 am                Registration opens

11:30–12:45 pm    Lunch and informal gathering time

1:00–5:30 pm        Connecting and Resetting Our Hearts and Heads: Individual and group reflections on ways in which our hearts are being broken in these demanding times and ‘habits of the heart’ for responsive engagement. Some questions we may consider:

  • What is the meaning of my leadership and philanthropy in this time of crisis and incivility?
  • What does it mean to be a “helper” in this culture?
  • How do I hold my deep concern for grantee partners in life-giving ways?
  • What risks am I being called to take, what’s holding me back, and where do I find courage to engage the uncomfortable? 

Individual and group reflections will be taking place during the day.

5:30 pm                 Adjourn for no-host dinner

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

8:30 am                 Breakfast available

9:00 am                 Re-Opening the Circle: Holding the tension between “what is” and “what could be” 

  •  Check in on yesterday
  •  Introduction to paradox and tension-holding
  •  Individual and group reflections on holding tensions between harsh realities and hopeful possibilities in our leadership and work. 

11:00 am               Closing Circle: What about my experience here do I bring home? 

12:00 pm               Adjourn

NOTE: Please also consider making plans to attend SECF’s Family Foundations Forum to be held immediately after the retreat from June 13-15! NCFP friends will receive member pricing to this event, a signature opportunity for family members, staff and trustees to come together, make connections, and spark collaborations!

Featured Speakers

Gayle Williams

Gayle Williams brings 30 years of leadership and management experience in philanthropy and nonprofits. After 19…

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Tara Reynolds

Tara Reynolds is the Executive Director of The Wisdom Connection, a small family foundation in northern…

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What others have said...

Many, many thanks for bringing in the Center for Courage and Renewal! This 1.5 day session has been a tremendous opportunity to reflect that I never have (or take time for). One of the best sessions I’ve attended!

Past Courage to Lead Retreat Attendee

Intense, thoughtful, emotional. It was great to connect with peers who are going through similar life-changes and exploring similar life-questions about work, relationships, wellness, and the challenge of balancing it all.

Past Participant, Courage to Lead Retreat

…it was exactly what I needed and I didn’t even realize it. So many times I have gone to retreats and for whatever reason I feel pressure to be someone different and pressure to reach a certain goal. Here there was a foundation of safety & wonder that helped me see possibilities that I hadn’t been able to before.

Past Participant, Courage to Lead Retreat

When I arrived at the “Heart of Philanthropy” retreat, I was eager to get down to business generating new insights and directions for myself. But the reality was – I was dog-tired, more exhausted than I ever recalled….I read, journaled and participated in the circle gatherings. I became acutely aware though that my own pattern of productivity was diminishing other aspects of my life. I was not finding time for solitude, meditation, or time in nature. My health felt compromised, sleep was difficult, and anxiety had become a new companion….Of course I still value the importance of responsible work, but I am deriving meaning and value from a deeper place of identity. This may sound unremarkable, but it feels quite profound. “Courage work” has helped me widen the conduit to my inner life and access more of the real me.

Past Participant, "Heart of Philanthropy" retreat led by Tara Reynolds

For additional information, please contact Katherine Scott, Program Director.