Futures Thinking for Philanthropy

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

What if you could think about the future in a better way? How might understanding the future better help you determine funding priorities years from now?

Futures Thinking is a method for informed reflection on the major changes that will occur in the next 10, 20 or more years in all areas of social life. Futures Thinking goes beyond opinion and thoughtfully examines dynamics that create the future. For the last 50 years, there is a set of emerging frameworks and practices developed to refine and better apply, deep and concentrated effort in imagining an array of futures (both positive and negative) and aligning our readiness to meet whatever comes.

Futures Thinking doesn’t involve a crystal ball or incense but it does involve skills of “foresight” and an ability to conduct and apply deep scans of ecosystem factors and aligning them with human-centered values such as equity, justice, freedom and progress.

Bringing the best of imagination, intelligence, diverse perspectives and agency – Futures Thinking invites organizations and communities to increase the chances of building toward a desired future, yet being ready for the full range of possibilities. Come and learn how your foundation might set the stage for long-term impact as future community needs come into play.

Speaker Information:

Dean and Professor Laura Burney Nissen has been a member of the PSU/School of Social Work community since 2000. She began her tenure at PSU in a leadership role with the national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative Reclaiming Futures (still operating in the Regional Research Institute in the SSW). With a long-term commitment to innovative systems change, Laura has worked with futures practice and lenses throughout her career. She credits a futures lens with the extended and continuous success of the Reclaiming Futures initiative and its ability to energize and provide architecture to a complex and interdisciplinary juvenile justice reform effort extending more than a decade beyond its original “demonstration” phase. She is in the final stages of completing her training as a foresight practitioner with the Institute for the Future, and has spoken on futures thinking in social work and social change at the national level.   Laura remains active in the addictions policy arena as a member of the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy and, in addition to futures study, is actively engaged in research on the intersection of the arts and social change.  She is also a calligrapher/bookbinder and a lover of waterfalls.

Date Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
Time 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

United Way Conference Room: 611 SW 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205




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