2014 Kick-Off Sets Tone For Dynamic Grant Cycle

On January 29, 2014, we hosted our annual Kick-Off Celebration at Google in San Francisco to mark to start of an exciting grant cycle, along with five dynamic expert speakers in the field and over 175 of our closest friends.

Our Board Chair, Josh Becker, kicked off the evening with an overview about our dynamic group of Members and the tremendous growth we've been fortunate to encounter over the past year. Our grant partnerships, collaborations, and leadership last year raised the bar for future impact. Then Executive Director, Tim Smith, announced exciting partnerships and new developments for the year ahead, including a pilot health program.

Our talented lineup of speakers carried the engaged audience through the evening -- starting with Francesca Vietor, program director, environment, public policy, and civic engagement at The San Francisco Foundation, who manages and spoke on improving the environmental health of the Bay Area’s most impacted communities and preserving our precious natural communities. Follow Francesca, Laura Moran, Chief of Staff of The San Francisco Unified School District spoke on the District's 2014 goals and visions, as well as its approach in implementing design-centered thinking and activating key civic and community leaders to transform public education in San Francisco.

Next, Roxana Shirkoda, Full Circle Fund Member and K-12 Outreach Specialist in Education at Google, shared her experience at Google and insights on impacting the bottom line through four tiers of engagement: creating, giving, volunteering, and consulting. Her enriching experiences. By innovating and "doing cool things that matter," Roxy said, she has been able to accelerate her impact and leverage the true power of resources and people to impact and empower communities.

Matt Flannery, Co-Founder and CEO of Kiva.org, carried on the innovative conversation by way of Kiva's innovative model and latest pilot program, Kiva Zip, highlighting the model's use of transparency, while sharing the pilot's common challenges , learnings, and trends through comparing the pilot's venture into Kenya and the U.S.

Lastly, our innovative Health Keynote speaker, Brenda Solorzano, Chief Program Director at Blue Shield of California Foundation, overview the foundation's emphasis on improving the quality of life for Americans by delivering and providing quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to all and by ending domestic violence. Brenda discussed the Affordable Care Act, the foundation's role in scaling quality healthcare through the intersection and joint efforts of individuals, organizations, and the government, and projecting the foundation's longer-term vision.

After all speakers highlighted their work, vision, and impact in the realm of engaged philanthropy and innovation in the Bay Area, they participated in a 20-minute panel, within which the audience asked various questions regarding impact measurement, program challenges, and more.

By the end of the night, Members and guests were buzzing with new ideas for 2014 and suggested potential individuals, organizations, and inquiry areas for Full Circle Fund's involvement and exploration via our favorite brainstorming tool - the Post-It note.

We'd like to thanks all speakers, Members, Google, photographers Thomas Minczeski and Jonathan Fong, and Member Roxana Shirkhoda for making this event such a fantastic start to our year. 2014, onward! View photos here.

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