Roundtable on Philanthropy

Registration is now Open!

The United Way Roundtable on Philanthropy is a gathering of like-minded people who believe that positive change in our communities is possible and that we all have a responsibility, and the opportunity, to make that change. Available by invitation only and with no registration fees, the Roundtable is exclusively for United Way partners who want to make a difference both locally and globally. As the world's largest private charity, we are uniquely poised to connect with global corporate leadership and passionate individual donors which allows us to address issues of worldwide importance.

Our dedicated United Way Worldwide Leadership Council, who hosts the Roundtable, is hard at work curating a program with engaging and inspiring speakers, so be sure to check back for updated information on our speakers throughout the spring and summer. The gathering will focus on the increasing economic and social inequality that we’re seeing around the world, particularly through the lens of migration, education, income and health. In both general sessions and groups discussions, we’ll examine the causes and effects of inequality and how leaders can best address its challenges.


Located in the vibrant heart of the city, our host hotel, the Athénée Palace Hilton, celebrated a century of its existence in 2014. Designed by the French architect Théophile Bradeau, Athénée Palace has continued to spread the warmth of hospitality ever since its opening in 1914. The hotel has often attracted praise from historians and novelists, and in the '40s Waldeck Countess wrote about the Athénée Palace as the most cosmopolite scene of Europe. Everyone from kings and presidents, Hollywood celebrities and World War figures have passed through its doors. Click here for more information about this landmark hotel and its remarkable history.

CLICK HERE to make your reservations-group code and discounted information is already populated for you.

Athénée Palace Hilton Bucharest Hotel
Strada Episcopiei 1-3
București 010292


While the castle of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Bram Stoker's character Dracula, lies just outside the city of Bucharest in Transylvania, there is much more to this capital and largest city of Romania. "Little Paris", as it became known after World War I, is an architectural wonderland, with a diverse mix of historical (neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and art deco), communist-era and modern design.

Average temperatures in Bucharest in September and October are delightful, ranging from highs of approximately 21C / 70F to lows of 8C / 47F.

To make your planning easier, here are a few helpful guides to Romania and Bucharest.

Even the team at The Telegraph thinks you should go to Bucharest! See what they had to say last fall.

For planning purposes, Henri Coandă International Airport is located 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of the Bucharest city center, in the town of Otopeni, Ilfov.

This photo of Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman) is courtesy of TripAdvisor


The Roundtable on Philanthropy will officially begin on Wednesday, September 27th and run until Friday, September 29th with the luncheon. There is no fee for registration for this invitation only event, however, there are fees for the optional tours offered Sunday, September 24th through Tuesday, September 26th. You can sign up for the optional tours during the event registration process. CLICK HERE to complete registration for an individual or couple.



Brian A. Gallagher is President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way Worldwide, the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. Gallagher is a regular contributor to a number of high-profile global discussions, including the World Economic Forum (WEF), Clinton Global Initiative and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Gallagher frequently speaks about critical issues ranging from sustainable growth in emerging economies to the ability of public/private partnerships to drive innovation and create long-term human success.

Under Gallagher’s leadership, United Way has shifted the focus of its mission to driving community change. This approach, which brings people together to create more opportunities for all, has been adopted in 41 countries and territories. Gallagher has also elevated brand stewardship to the highest priority. In 2008, United Way launched the LIVE UNITED campaign to engage communities in a more inclusive strategic effort. LIVE UNITED is an invitation to give, to advocate, to volunteer – an opportunity for all people to think of themselves as part of the solution.


Steven van Groningen joined Raiffeisen Bank, Romania, over 10 years ago and has turned it from a former loss-making state owned bank into one of the largest and most successful banks in Romania. Raiffeisen Bank has over 5,000 employees and 500 branches in Romania and is part of Raiffeisen Bank International, Austria.

Mr. van Groningen is also a board member of the Foreign Investors Council, one of the most important employers’ organizations in Romania. He is also a founding member of the Romanian Aspen Institute and actively involved in a number of charitable organizations. He was one of the founders of United Way of Romania in 2004 and its first president. He is still a member of the Board of United Way of Romania.

Mr. van Groningen is also a former Olympian (Rowing, 1984, Los Angeles) and Ironman triathlete (2006 and 2011). His is married to Valeria Racila, Olympic Bronze (Moscow) and Gold (Los Angeles) medalist for Romania. They live in Bucharest, Romania.


Alfonso Villalva is specialized in domestic and international corporate, commercial and banking law, with an extensive practice in financing, mergers, corporate acquisitions, antitrust proceedings, joint ventures, restructurings, infrastructure, clean tech projects and energy, public bids, project finance, corporate governance and succession structures, wealth management, family business planning, film productions and labor matters involving advice to employers in all material respects including planning, structuring, investigations and dispute resolutions.

As of June 1999, he became Partner of the firm Bufete Villalva, S.C. in which he continues with his professional practice to date. Mr. Villalva also supports social investment projects and acts as a regular speaker at national Conventions and other philanthropic organizations such as United Way México, the annual awards Visionaris granted by UBS and Ashoka's social entrepreneurs and philanthropy, Fundación Ruíz Obregón and Casa Hogar Alegría, I.A.P.

He has participated for over 20 years in different capacities at United Way México (serving as a member of the board and Secretary for more tan 14 years). He was elected Chair of United Way México on December 2011.


A detailed schedule will be provided as sessions are confirmed. We are pleased that our colleagues from United Way Romania and Europe and The Middle East region will be hosting consecutive events while the Roundtable on Philanthropy is in Bucharest. Please note that separate invitations will be sent to those invited to the Europe and Middle East Regional meeting and for the United Way Romania Business Breakfast. Should you need information, please contact Jennifer Gipp.

Registration is required for ALL Events.

Date Time Activity
Sunday, September 24 Optional Local Day Tour(s) Available
I. Bucharest Walking Tour - Calea Victoriei
II. Communist dictatorship and its effects on Bucharest (car & walking)
Monday, September 25 Optional Local Day Tour(s) Available
I. Bucharest Walking Tour - Calea Victoriei
II. Communist dictatorship and its effects on Bucharest (car & walking)
III. Medieval Castles - Râșnov & Bran
Europe and Middle East Regional Meeting
Tuesday, September 26 Optional Local Day Tour(s) Available (see above)
Europe and Middle East Regional Meeting
Leadership Council Dinner
Wednesday, September 27 9:30am-11:00am United Way Romania Business Breakfast
(Interested attendees contact Jennifer Gipp)
9:00am-12:00pm Optional Local Impact Tour
12:00pm-4:00pm Leadership Council Meeting (includes lunch)
2:00pm-5:00pm Roundtable on Philanthropy Registration Opens
6:30pm-9:30pm Roundtable on Philanthropy Welcome Dinner (transportation provided)
Thursday, September 28 7:30am-5:00pm Roundtable on Philanthropy Registration and Program
6:45pm-10:00pm Cocktails, Dinner and Private Tours at the Roman Athenaeum and Hall at National History Museum (transportation provided)
Friday, September 29 8:30am-1:30pm Roundtable on Philanthropy Registration and Program
After 1:30pm Departures


We are grateful for the energy and insights that our Leadership Council shares year-round. More information on the Leadership Council can be found at

Steven van Groningen, Chair

Brad R. Busse
Shin-Won Choi
Heather Culbert
Steven van Groningen
Jean-Claude Gruffat
Frank Harshaw
Michael K. Hayde
John C. Lechleiter
Larry Macdonald
Bill O'Dowd
Rosemary Schlachter
Alex Sink
Dr. Juliette Tuakli
Alfonso Villalva
Rick Waugh
Ann Zuraw

CLICK HERE to learn more about United Way.