Each year, we create an environment in which 15-20 attendees reimagine their money as a vital expression of their own values and vision for the world they want to help create. The attendees—each of whom is working with at least $25 million dollars of capital, either personally held or as part of a family foundation—are at different stages in their evolution and relationship with money. The agenda for the three-day gathering is therefore designed to enable all attendees to find their own way toward questions and answers that are relevant to their particular paths of inquiry through:
Over our ten-year history of convening, we have honed and refined the Play BIG agenda so that as those questions emerge, our team and other attendees are able to optimally share resources, ideas, stories, and possibilities. The result is that the myriad conversations, stories, and educational elements inform each attendee’s creative process of developing and refining a plan for activation of their wealth toward mission.
Here is a sampling of past attendees’ comments from our closing circle:
“Life changing. Remarkable openness and freedom of exchange.” (DE)
“Inspiration, information, fun, a lot of joy — [financial issues] feel heavy but can be a source of great joy.” (FE)
“Mutual inspiration. I am in awe of creativity infused with possibilities.” (JP)
“Thank you everyone for bringing your whole selves. Energy, momentum, permission. Help me take the next step. From abstract to action.” (RP)
“Humbled by the realness. Comfortable. Great opportunity to be creative and share big ideas.” (LF)
Each year we develop a new agenda, dependent on who attends, but those agendas are all made of a collection of these elements:
1) Story-telling: We invite a few attendees whose stories reflect thoughtful, inspired, and brave or visionary work with money in the world. These stories set the tone for the gathering and model possibilities for those attending. Two key features for the stories we choose is that they be both the story of a personal journey and the story of moving money into the world in creative, strategic and/or innovative ways. When we speak of “moving money”, we are talking about all of the ways one can move money; giving, lending, investing, and more. These stories are about a half-hour in length and are followed by discussion.
Another dimension of story-telling that happens at Play BIG are the short but fascinating and wide-ranging 5-7 minute personal stories that each attendee shares.
2) Case Studies: Because Play BIG is about taking action, a large part of our time is devoted to real-time working through obstacles to action. At each Play BIG we choose two attendees to share a strategic challenge in their work. Through a time-tested 75-minute format, we—faculty and attendees—offer guidance. Subjects’ stories have ranged from how to optimally activate a portfolio toward soil health over twenty years, to how best to include family in a decision-making process, to how to build a team to support whole portfolio activation. This is an extraordinarily effective way to learn through others’ stories while optimizing the sharing of intelligence and experience that all attendees bring.
3) Facilitated Peer-coaching: Twice during the gathering, we assemble small groups of 5-6 for a shorter version of the case study format. This way everyone gets focused attention on their own challenges.
4) One-on-one sessions: There are several opportunities for attendees to sign up for 45-minute sessions with our faculty and/or other attendees; a consultation smorgasbord! Again, we seek to provide supportive guidance for attendees as they discern how ideas and possibilities they are hearing may translate into their own work with their money.
5) Featured educational content: Usually presented by our faculty, attendees enjoy multiple sessions that provide concrete information about some aspect of implementation. It might be how to effectively use an intermediary organization, or what are the latest innovations in investing toward mission.
Overall, we place our work at the nexus of who each of us is as a human being and how that informs how we may joyfully, effectively, and with integrity, move our wealth toward our deeply-held social and environmental missions.
“The day before coming, I wanted to bail. I couldn’t imagine how it could be interesting or compelling let alone stupendous or nourishing! ….Inspired. Nourished. Grateful. Feel empowered despite implacable impediments.” (CT)
Carol Newell and Marian Moore launched Play BIG in 2004 with a desire to support the repurposing of great wealth to tackle issues at the root of systemic problems. Play BIG was inspired by Carol’s experiment that activated her entire portfolio of over 60 million dollars over a twenty-year period with a mission to stimulate a regional, green-solutions presence and economy in British Columbia through grants, investments and innovative collaborations.
RSF has partnered with Play BIG since 2011.
Set in an idyllic location on the San Francisco Bay at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cavallo Point is an understated luxury lodge in one of America’s most popular National Parks. Details about how to book your room at Cavallo Point will be provided during the registration process. Learn more >
For inquiries and registration, please contact Marian Moore:
email@example.com | 612.817.2426
RSF offers an easy way to invest in what’s important to you. Start your fund today with $1,000.Learn more
With a Donor Advised Fund, you can give when the timing is right for you and be part of an active community of donors and partners who share your passions.Learn more
If you’re an entrepreneur creating social or ecological change, apply for a loan to help you further your mission.Learn more