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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

Closing Plenary Luncheon Program: What Do Nonprofit Leaders Really Think of Collaboration?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 12:15 PM–2:30 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Imperial Ballroom (Third Level)

While it is critical for grantmakers to align strategies and resources, collaborative efforts should also engage nonprofit grantees in order to address the complex issues and challenges our communities face. During this moderated conversation, two nonprofit leaders, Rea Carey of the National LGBTQ Task Force and Hellen Hong of First Place for Youth, who have experience participating in multiple forms of collaboration will discuss the challenges of working in a networked way. They’ll share how funders can contribute to and, conversely, be counterproductive to their success. Speakers will draw from their experiences to discuss the value of funder practices that prioritize transparency and deep engagement, help connect people and groups working in common areas, and signal a long-term commitment to shared goals.

Primary Points Of Contact

Session Designers


Sidney R. Hargro, Community Foundation of South Jersey (moderator)

Sidney’s 15-year career in philanthropy has produced a record of success in community leadership, organizational innovation and performance, and strategic grant investment. Since 2009, Sidney has served as the first executive director of the Community Foundation of South Jersey, which serves the southern eight counties of New Jersey. Sidney's goals are to build and implement a foundation strategy that embraces the foundation’s three roles as giving advisor to donors, advocate for philanthropic investment in South Jersey solutions, and community convener for the issues that matter in the region.

Sidney came to the foundation from The Columbus Foundation in Columbus, Ohio where he was the Senior Officer of Strategy and Organizational Learning. He managed the foundation’s business and innovation strategy, organizational learning, and social impact evaluation. He also served as the philanthropic advisor for the Siemer Family Foundation, Paul G. Duke Foundation, and Central Benefits Healthcare Foundation. As a community leader, Sidney actively participates on a number of boards and committees, both regionally and nationally.

Hellen Hong, First Place for Youth

Hellen Hong, Esq., is our Southern California Regional Executive Director. Hellen leads the talented team in Los Angeles as the organization plans to more than double its impact in the coming year. She is responsible for expanding First Place’s public and private sector partnerships, as well as engaging the community and stakeholders to advance First Place’s mission. Hellen joins existing First Place leadership in LA to continue to advance the organization’s work.

Hellen comes to First Place with a strong track record as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ) where she provided vision and strategic leadership for nearly seven years.  Under Hellen’s leadership, there was significant growth at LACLJ, an organization that provides free legal services to low income families in LA County. During her tenure, the organization’s operating budget doubled and its staff size increased by 30 percent, while increasing access to the legal services for immigrants, domestic violence survivors, and teens. Her career as an attorney has been dedicated to the service of low income clients.

Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force

Rea Carey is one of the most respected leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) movement.  Through her leadership, Carey has advanced a vision of freedom for LGBTQ people and their families that is broad, inclusive and unabashedly progressive.  She grounds her work solidly in racial, economic and social justice. This approach to leadership has delivered results as diverse as: winning an LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes prevention law; defeating multiple state anti-LGBT ballot measures; spotlighting discrimination against transgender people; winning marriage equality; building stronger support for fair immigration reform; and, successfully securing scores of changes in federal agencies to attend to the needs of the LGBTQ community.

Prior to her work with the Task Force, Carey worked extensively in HIV/AIDS prevention, on issues affecting homeless and LGBTQ youth, and in organization and leadership development. She was a co-founder of Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence (DC) and the founding executive director of the National Youth Advocacy Coalition. Carey is a Hunt Alternatives’ Prime Movers Fellow and serves on the boards of directors for the Flamboyan Foundation and the Alliance for Justice.