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The inaugural ASCEND:BLO Network Summit was held on Juneteenth at Google’s Cloud Campus in Sunnyvale, CA, around the theme of “Breaking Barriers – Building Bonds.” The Summit was a first-of-its-kind opportunity for over 150 representatives from Black-Led Organizations (BLOs) across six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara) to network, learn from, and be inspired by dynamic speakers and facilitators. Representatives also had the opportunity to connect with funders committed to supporting the sustainability and sense of community of Bay Area BLOs. The turnout, active participation, and leadership of BLOs was simply moving.

We would like to express gratitude to Akonadi Foundation President, Lateefah Simon, for her inspiring words, as well as to Black Futures Lab Principal, Alicia Garza, for her impressive insights into the challenges and opportunities facing Black communities. The content of these presentations, along with that of the smaller group Breakout Sessions that took place throughout the day, incited thought-provoking conversations that continued long after sessions ended. We encourage members of BLOs that were not in attendance to download the full presentations from the plenaries and breakout sessions.

The Summit closed with a Bridge to Funders panel of Black leaders in Philanthropy in the public sector, followed by a reception that perfectly capped off the evening. The panel included:

  • James W. Head, President & CEO, East Bay Community Foundation
  • Nicole Taylor, President & CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Rick Williams, CEO, Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
  • Juliet Ellis, Chief Strategy Officer/Assistant General Manager for External Affairs, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Tiffany Price, Community Engagement Manager and Panel Moderator, Kapor Center

We would like to express gratitude to all in attendance and those involved in making this historical event possible. We look forward to even more transformational connection with the ASCEND:BLO Community, and we remain committed to continuing to build on this important work.

Watch and share the ASCEND:BLO Network Summit highlight video with your networks to help us get the word out about this important initiative! And keep the conversation going online using the #ascendblo hashtag!