Snapshots, brief presentations given in the style of TED Talks, are designed to prompt conference participants to take action, feel inspired, and challenge prevailing wisdom. They provide new solutions to persistent challenges and disrupt business as usual.

A Skeptic’s Guide to Appreciative Inquiry

Jane Bavineau, vice president of Sheltering Arms Senior Services Division, BakerRipley (@bavineauSASS)

When Sheltering Arms Senior Services merged with BakerRipley (then Neighborhood Centers Inc.) in 2011, Jane Bavineau thought she had something to teach everyone about aging services. After all, she noted that BakerRipley barely even had a senior program. What she didn’t know was that her widely shared narrative, which depicted older people as sick, frail, and a burden, was about to change.

Despite her protests, Jane and her colleagues from Sheltering Arms began using appreciative inquiry to learn more about aging and older adults. Instead of asking seniors about their needs and the challenges of growing old, they took an appreciative approach and asked questions like, “What brings you joy?” The responses were eye opening!

Jane will share how appreciative inquiry changed her perspective on aging and how this approach can be used to reframe any personal or community challenge. Learn how you can use appreciative inquiry to improve how you plan, deliver, and evaluate programs, and how it can transform how you think and talk about your clients. Instead of trying to garner support by “playing the sympathy card,” inspire others to join the momentum around creating purpose, meaning, and connection.

Sick and Tired of Sitting at the Kids' Table

Headshot of Eric SchindlerEric Schindler, president and CEO, Child and Family Resources (@eschindler123)

It’s time to have a more honest conversation about the elephant in the room—and her name is Charity.

Eric Schindler will challenge the status quo, asking why nonprofits are so happy to honor major donors who donate, say $20,000, to help children and families, but then turn around and contribute more than 10 times that amount to elect candidates who support policies and funding cuts that are harmful to children’s well-being. Consider the net impact on a Community Food Bank of a $5,000 donation, offset by $50,000 given to support a candidate who votes against Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and an increase in the minimum wage?

In confronting the power dynamics of the charity model and political advocacy, he’ll point out that community-based nonprofits are often so desperate for charitable dollars, they live in fear of offending donors and don’t speak out on major issues.

As an example, Eric will tell his story about the repercussions of working to promote a local initiative that would have modestly raised the city sales tax to pay for scholarships for high-quality preschool.

For what nonprofits might gain in funds, they lose far more in political power and systems change.

Hear the solution—Nonprofit 2.0.

Redefining Kinship for Youth Aging Out

Headshot of Angie Seckler WilliamsAngie Seckler Williams, regional director and senior trainer, The Open Table

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but more than 23,000 youth age out of the U.S. foster care system each year, most without the relationships and resources they need to be successful. On a mission to change that, volunteers around the country are forming support teams for foster youth. Through The Open Table model, groups of individuals like Angie Williams make yearlong commitments to serve as life specialists, encouragers, and advocates. They work together to set goals, foster accountability, and implement a plan to create change.

This model appealed to Angie because it goes beyond traditional transactional approaches, as the table journeys with the youth, devoting several hours each week to meeting and providing resources and support individually and as a group. Hear how this model, which led Angie to meet a young woman, who she now considers her daughter, is redefining kinship and community to build lasting support systems for youth experiencing relational poverty.

Creating Community in a Fragmented World

Headshot of Eunice NicholsEunice Lin Nichols, vice president and Gen2Gen campaign director, Encore.org (@encoreorg)

Eunice Lin Nichols’ mom was 22 when she left Taiwan. Like so many immigrants, she came to the U.S. alone, with little more than a few dollars in her pocket and hopes of pursuing the American Dream. Homesick, she struggled with English, loneliness, and Minneapolis snowstorms. But she remembers, with gratitude, the American family that invited her for holiday dinners and gave her a sense of home. As a result, Eunice’s mom established the tradition of inviting outsiders to join her family’s holiday table. Throughout her childhood, her house was filled with Chinese students who—far from home—crowded around the table, sharing stories and Peking duck.

Examine what it means to live in a nation where so many people are geographically separated from their families, where there are more people over 50 than under 18, and where many institutions are age-segregated. Eunice will share her advice for creating a sense of extended family and community that comes so naturally in certain cultures, but can feel very distant and inaccessible in ours. Learn how to build opportunities to connect older and younger generations in our lives and in our organizations.