Conference Guidelines

The Johnson Foundation convenes meetings that inspire solutions on important issues: meetings with impact. Comprehensive planning and design, along with flawless execution and gracious hospitality are the hallmark of the Foundation’s conferences.

Our convening model follows a rigorous planning process, including:

  • A clear, specific statement of purpose and objective
  • Intended outcome(s) and results
  • Intended impact of the outcome(s)
  • Rationale for how the conference and outcomes can advance the issue on a larger scale
  • Identification of diverse partners and participants
  • Detailed conference agenda
  • Outline and timeline of pre-conference preparation events and activities
  • Outline and timeline of post-conference activities that includes the following:
    • How the group will maintain contact until successful completion of objectives and/or action plan
    • How the conference results will be disseminated and utilized
    • How conference outcome(s) and/or action plan results will be monitored, recorded and evaluated

Conferences at the Foundation are typically intensive one-to-three-day meetings. Our meeting space capacity can include up to 36 people. However in our experience, smaller groups are more collaborative and productive, and have more successful outcomes. Participants lodge at the Foundation’s Sam & Gene Johnson Guest House, which accommodates up to 40 people.

From time to time, we selectively partner or co-sponsor with others on meetings strategically aligned with our program focus areas and our mission of inspiring solutions.

Collaborative meetings and organizations are evaluated against specific criteria. Is the proposed topic timely and important; aligned with our program areas; and nonpartisan and nonsectarian in nature? Is the proposed partner organization a registered 501(c)(3) and recognized leader on the issue and willingness to collaborate with the Foundation on conference design, implementation and evaluation? Does the proposed partner have the necessary resources to assist in the planning and implementation of the meeting, and just as important, the capacity to follow-through on post-conference activities? Can the unique facilities and process of The Johnson Foundation help make a difference on the issue?

For these conferences, the Foundation generally expects co-sponsors or participants to pay for participant travel and to share in the costs of lodging and hospitality at Wingspread.

The Foundation’s grant-making is limited primarily to activities directly related to our programmatic themes within the context of our convening functions. Our conference facilities and Guest House accommodations are only available to conference participants.