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Strategic Leadership Series // Why I Became a Localist

May 11, 2016 @ 4:00 PM6:00 PM EDT

Strategic Leadership Series

Experience some of the best thought leaders in the business right here in West Michigan. The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Strategic Leadership Series engages nonprofit professionals and the larger philanthropic community to encourage the development of a diverse, equitable, local ecosystem that supports entrepreneurialism when addressing critical social issues. These experiences will infuse our region with fresh thinking on the power and potential of nonprofits to be catalysts for change.

The movement toward localism today is stronger than ever. More people are buying locally, producing regionally and investing in small local efforts. And yet multinational corporations and global institutions continue to control a disproportionate share of our economies and lives.

Join special guest speaker Deborah Frieze as she explores the underlying beliefs in our culture that continue to prop up the global mindset and shares a radical theory of change that reveals how localism is the hope of the future. Through the stories of social entrepreneurs who unleashed their creative capacity in their own communities, we’ll discover how each of us has the potential to transform our world. Strategic Leadership Series Host Dennis McMillian will also join us to close out the series.

Cost for this event: $15
Full series pass: $45
 (no longer available)
GVSU students attend FREE with student ID

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Learn more about the 2015–2016 Strategic Leadership Series.

Deborah FriezeDeborah Frieze is an author, entrepreneur and activist. Her award-winning book (co-authored with Margaret Wheatley), Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, profiles pioneering leaders who walked out of organizations failing to contribute to the common good—and walked on to build resilient communities. She is a founding partner of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact investing fund that seeks to create systemic shifts in opportunity for urban communities. She is also founder of the Old Oak Dojo, an urban learning center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, where neighbors gather to rediscover how to create healthy and resilient communities.




Dennis McMillianDennis McMillian has devoted his professional career to helping nonprofit organizations better meet the needs of their communities. For 21 years he served as a development officer, and then as a CEO with United Way in numerous communities around the country. He came to Alaska in 1992 to lead the United Way of Anchorage. Since moving to Alaska, he has helped build the state’s philanthropic infrastructure through his work with United Ways across the state and through his support in developing the Alaska Community Foundation. He is a strong advocate for Alaska’s nonprofit sector. In 2001, Dennis led the effort to start The Foraker Group with the mission of building sustainability and organizational capacity in Alaska nonprofits. During his career, he’s trained thousands of professionals and volunteers, spoken at numerous conferences, and consulted across America, Canada, Asia, and Russia. He serves on numerous national nonprofit committees and is a regular speaker at conferences including The Council on Foundations, Tides Foundation, Philanthropy Northwest, and the National Council of Nonprofits. He sits on the board of Nature Conservancy in Alaska, and on the national boards for Camp Fire, Inc., the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, and the National Council of Nonprofits.


May 11, 2016
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Event Category:


Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University


Loosemore Auditorium
401 W Fulton St
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States
(616) 331-5000