2015 Community Leaders Conference


Each year community leaders from United Ways, local governments, NGOs, corporations and others from around the world come together for three days of learning, sharing, advocating and being inspired at the Community Leaders Conference. The Conference is an opportunity for leaders striving to create community change to exchange ideas and offer best practices. Each day of the event is catered to highlight the most pressing community concerns, and the tools to address them. We invite you to join us as we learn, collaborate and plan for a positive future.


The Community Leaders Conference will be held Wednesday, April 29 – Friday, May 1, 2015 in Grapevine, Texas. Located in the heart of Texas, Grapevine is a short drive from the culture and entertainment of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Receive discounts from local shops and restaurants while in Grapevine. Please click here to view Grapevine's Show Your Badge Program, and browse special deals for Community Leaders Conference attendees.


There is a lot planned for CLC, which will be of importance to United Way Staff, volunteers, board members, and community and corporate partners. Please click here to download the Community Leaders Conference Toolkits, to use as a guide when speaking about the CLC.


The early registration cost per attendee for the Community Leaders Conference is $995 through Monday, April 6, 2015. After Monday, April 6, 2015, the registration fee will be $1095.

There is a $250 discount for United Way staff and volunteers at smaller United Ways (United Ways raising less than $1 million annually) and United Way state associations. This discount will be applied to your registration fee automatically and will be listed as a separate item in the registration summary area. A la Carte and Community Leader registrations are excluded from discount.

Yes, I am a United Way staff attendee. Please click here to register.

No, I am not a United Way staff attendee. Please click here to register.

United Way Staff Experience: Join us for a dive into the Enterprise-Wide strategy beginning Wednesday morning and running through the end of the week.

United Way Volunteer Experience: Join us mid-day Wednesday for two solid days of learning. We’ll start with the question of localizing the Enterprise-Wide Strategy for your community.

Community Leaders Experience: Stay for a learning experience that will highlight corporate and individual engagement to develop, resource, and execute community impact strategies in your community.


Please click here to view the Program Guide.


Click here to view.

*Please note: The network-wide CEO/Board Summit is embedded in the CLC proper. Any ancillary meetings occurring prior to the Welcome Reception are working groups. Participants attending any ancillary meetings will be notified directly by the organizer. Unless asked to attend an ancillary meeting on Tuesday, April 28, please plan to arrive in time for the Welcome Reception Tuesday evening.

Ancillary meetings on Tuesday, April 28 that are open to all CLC attendees

Partnering for Student and Family Success: 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the United Way of New York City, in partnership with the Coalition for Community Schools propose to convene local United Way leadership that is playing key roles in local community school initiatives. The meeting will provide an opportunity for United Way Leadership involved in the design and implementation of community schools to share their experiences and strengthen an emerging network of local initiatives.

Click here for more information.


Digital Resource Center
Please click here to view all learning session information.

Learning Sessions by Topic Area
Please click here to view all learning sessions by topic area.

Learning Session Types
Please click here to view the four different types of learning sessions at the Community Leaders Conference.

Generate innovative solutions to the most difficult challenges faced by communities across the globe. This facilitated process that harnesses community brainpower for innovative action and impact. Participants will join teams of ten to develop innovative ideas to solve one of two pre-selected major challenges faced by communities. This two-day learning session, 90-minutes each day, will empower participants to think outside of the box and to collaborate with their peers for a unique and distinctive learning experience. Click here to learn more.


Search "United Way Conference Connection" to download the app through your mobile app store. Be sure to check back with the app between now and the CLC for updates!


We have reserved rooms for Conference attendees at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, just minutes from the DFW Airport. Located on Lake Grapevine, this beautiful resort features shopping, dining, recreation and Grapevine entertainment. Savor fine and casual dining venues. Visit unique shops. Pamper yourself at the award-winning day spa and fitness center, and feel the energy at Glass Cactus Nightclub. There are so many things to do in our Grapevine, TX, resort with acres of indoor gardens and winding waterways.

Attendees will receive all the resort amenities, with the convenience of the Community Leaders Conference located within the resort grounds. Please click here to book your room and to receive our special United Way discount rate.


The Common Good Awards recognize United Ways and their partners who are strengthening communities by advancing the common good through the building blocks of education, income and health. Three winners will be recognized at the Community Leaders Conference. The awards highlight promising and effective practices from communities around the world that are applying a range of solutions to community challenges.

Please click here to view past Common Good Award winners.

Please note: The application process for the Common Good Awards has now closed.Should you have any questions, please direct them to commongoodawards@unitedway.org.


Brian Gallagher, became President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America in 2002 and then of United Way Worldwide in 2009. In 2002, he immediately took on the challenge of leading the transformation of the organization to focus on community impact. A career veteran of the United Way system, Gallagher believes that the true measure of success for United Way and other philanthropic organizations is bottom-line results: the lives that are changed and the communities that are shaped. This represents a dynamic shift from the United Way recognized for decades as the nation’s premier fund raiser and distributor. Gallagher has raised the bar on the accountability, governance and transparency standards adopted as a requirement of membership for all United Ways. Today, United Way has 1,800 local affiliates in 41 countries and territories raising $5.2 billion annually, with 9.6 million donors and 2.2 million volunteers.
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Click here to view General & Featured Session descriptions.

Deborah Bayle, President and Chief Executive Office at United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL), as been a catalyst for positive change since September, 1999. She led UWSL through a dramatic, ten-year transformation of its business model. The organization has adopted a unique approach to community problem-solving called Collective Impact. UWSL has made a promise to our community to Change the Odds, so that all children and families, regardless of their circumstances, have the same chance to succeed in school and in life. UWSL has been identified as one of only 40 local United Ways nationwide to rank in the highest category of United Way Worldwide’s Business Performance Matrix, which rates United Ways on their demonstrated leadership, engagement of stakeholders, and development and implementation of successful Collective Impact strategies.

Penelope Burk has over forty years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising and research. Burk and her company, Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., are known for their leading-edge research in understanding how to inspire donors of all ages, as well as how to inspire and engage nonprofit volunteers. Burk authors the industry-acclaimed Cygnus Donor Survey that investigates how donors are changing the ways in which they give and how fundraisers can raise more money in a rapidly changing marketplace.
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Allen Grossman, Harvard Business School Professor of Management Practice, joined the Business School faculty in July 1998. His current research focuses on business engagement in public education, leadership and management of public school districts, and leading and governing high performing nonprofit organizations. Grossman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Outward Bound USA for six years before stepping down in 1997 to work on the challenges of creating high performing nonprofit organizations. Grossman has authored or co-authored numerous cases, articles and three books including Managing School Districts for High Performance; High Performance Nonprofit Organizations: Managing Upstream for Greater Impact; and the Harvard Business Review article, Virtuous Capital: What Foundations Can Learn from Venture Capitalists.

Erin Gruwell, teacher and author of The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them, will serve as closing keynote at the Community Leaders Conference. Gruwell will speak about the Freedom Writer Methodology and her inspiring stories with the Freedom Writers. Gruwell’s leadership and management approach is applicable in all contexts, and profoundly impacts professionals in all industries.
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Frans Johansson, best-selling author of The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures, is also founder of a software startup, a healthcare firm, a hedge fund and the strategy consulting firm The Medici Group. In his books and presentations, Johansson demonstrates how the best ideas and innovation come from collaboration between people with diverse experiences, skills, expertise, perspectives, backgrounds and cultures. Johansson offers examples of what people need to do to break down silos, unleash an explosion of ideas and inspire passion and action. Johansson makes it clear that anyone can innovate, regardless of rank or role.
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Beth Kanter, named as one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company Magazine, Kanter has developed programs to help nonprofits integrate social media, network building and relationship marketing. Author of Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, Kanter has over 30 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, capacity building, evaluation, fundraising and marketing.
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Carmen Smith, Vice President of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering, is responsible for developing a diverse pipeline of product and people to enhance Imagineering’s consultant talent and its creative processes. Her four areas of primary emphasis: creative product and services development, consultant talent identification, casting talent to the full range of creative assignments, editorial participation in the creative process and the establishment of external partnerships to enhance product relevance in the diverse global marketplace. A native of New York, Ms. Smith graduated from Hunter College with a degree in communication arts. She received her Masters in international administration from New York University and completed the Simmons Graduate School of Management Certificate Program for Developing Managers, as well as the Women and Power Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Ms. Smith currently serves on the board of the Urban Resource Institute, Robey Theatre and The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, and is also a member of the advisory board of the Urban Women’s Retreat.

Stacey Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide, drives the strategic direction for United Way in the U.S., working with leaders throughout the United Way network to drive community impact in the areas of education, income and health. Stewart also works to protect and enhance the organization’s brand and reputation. Prior to this appointment, Stewart was Executive Vice President, Community Impact Leadership and Learning at United Way Worldwide. Before joining United Way, Stewart was with Fannie Mae where she was Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President for the Office of Community and Charitable Giving. Prior to that appointment, Stewart was President and Chief Executive Officer for the Fannie Mae Foundation.
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Flexible credits are a percentage of United Way membership investment that is set aside by United Way Worldwide to support and enable United Way staff and volunteers to access conferences and learning opportunities. Flex credits are available to United Way professionals and volunteers who belong to United Ways that are in full compliance with membership standards and current with dues payments.

Flex credits can be used for the following if they are associated with an approved United Way Worldwide learning opportunity:

  • Registration fees (volunteers qualify if a United Way staff person is attending the same learning opportunity or conference)
  • Some travel costs such as airfare, rental car, or mileage (only one form of travel reimbursement, rental car, mileage, or airfare is allowed with a maximum of $500 per trip)
  • Daily per diem – a combination of the hotel room rate, plus taxes and any meal not included during a learning opportunity

Please click here to access your United Way flexible credit balance. If you choose to use Flex Credits to pay for a conference, when you get to the payment screen while registering, choose “Flex Credits” from the drop-down payment box. You will need to enter your organization number in the box provided if you choose the flex credit payment option.


For Conference Presenters: Please click here to view presentation materials and information regarding your presentation(s) at the Conference.


We will be updating this page to keep you informed about the Community Leaders Conference. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 2015clc@unitedway.org.

Follow us on Facebook to connect with other attendees and receive information in real-time.

Contribute to the Community Leaders Conference discussion and receive up-to-date event materials by visiting United Way Online.


United Way Worldwide is committed to providing resources and materials to its member organizations and corporate donors to promote and support their charitable giving activities. Please click here to download the Consent and Permission Form for the CLC, which gives UWW the right to copyright, publish, use or assign all photographic portraits or pictures, television spots, film, videos, internet postings, or sound recordings or any part thereof that may have been taken at the CLC.


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