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IF the Interactivity Foundation
I.F. TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO IMPROVE CARE FOR ADULTS WITH FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME DISORDERS
Adolf Gundersen, Fellow and Research Director

 
On September 11, I.F. Fellows Dennis Boyer, Adolf Gundersen, and Pete Shively, along with Wisconsin Coordinator James Schneider and Facilitator Donna Weikert, participated in a day long interactive summit organized by the Madison, Wisconsin-based non-profit Orchids FASD Services.  “FASD”, which stands for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders, has life-long effects and, according to the summit’s organizers, is among our least-known, most-invisible, and most challenging of neurological conditions.  The summit’s principal purposes were to give those who are affected by FASD and their caregivers and advocates a voice in the larger community and to lay the groundwork for a larger state-wide meeting in Wisconsin in 2016 by pinpointing topics of concern and launching a planning committee.  I.F.’s roles were first, to help Orchids think through a suitable discussion approach and materials and, second, to actually facilitate the five small group discussions—made up of those directly affected by FASD and a variety of professionals who serve them—in exploring concerns and possible means of addressing them, much as I.F. sanctuary projects do.  The results of the day’s events will be used in subsequent grant proposals for the 2016 conference and publicized for use in outreach and education efforts.
I.F. is pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to this worthy cause.
IF Hosts guests from the White House and the Open Society Foundations at Their Roundtable discussions of Philanthropy, Gender and Racial Justice.
 - Natalie Hopkinson and Nneka Edwards

On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. Since the signing, the President has emphasized that the true purpose of the Council is "to ensure that in America, all thingImage result for white houses are still possible for all people."  Most recently, the council has been working with the Open Society Foundations to make note of the concerns regarding women and girls while providing a space for meaningful connections.  Both offices are particularly interested in hearing ideas about how to support women and girls of color. These shared objectives have prompted council members and representatives from the Open Society Foundations to visit cities around the country to connect with key players in the nonprofit sector as well as private foundations. 
 
The desire to engender dialog about race and gender paired well with the Interactivity Foundation’s mission is to convene people to explore solutions in various areas of public interest. Addressing issues relating to Philanthropy, Gender and Racial Justice are timely and relevant to current IF projects. Fellow, Natalie Hopkinson recently completed a report on the future of Gender/Sex Policy and she is working with Fellow Dennis Boyer to launch a discussion project on Philanthropy, “On Giving.”   
 
Hopkinson and Boyer lead the round table discussions in Madison, WI on September 25, 2015.  During the meeting there was an exchange of ideas, information and contact information as small-group discussions were facilitated by two other Interactivity Foundation fellows. Participants explored intersections between their lived/professional experience and the topics of: 1) philanthropy 2) gender and 3) race.  By the end of the afternoon, participants were excited by the possibility of new opportunities to work across institutional silos.  
IF Fellows invade Madison, WI
- Jeff Prudhomme & Nneka Edwards


Every quarter the IF Fellows meet in person to collaborate on projects, share resources, and discuss future endeavors.  These meetings usually take place in the city of IF’s birth, Parkersburg, WV.  In September of 2015, the meeting was held in Madison, WI.

Over the years IF has developed a number of working relationships in the mid-west.  It was good to be able to meet, and work with some of the people who are playing important roles for IF in Wisconsin—and nearby in Dubuque.  We would like to send sincere thanks to those who were able to participate in our meetings.  Organizations that participated in the meetings included:  
Green County Leaders Program, Inclusive Dubuque, the Wisconsin Facilitator group, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was pleasant and productive to engage with everyone in person, to converse about what we do and what we might do.  Additionally, the IF Fellows found themselves enjoying the sights and tastes of the vibrant city of Madison.  It was truly a great experience for everyone involved.  Until we meet again, Madison. 

 

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The Chinese Connection with Wesleyan
- Jeff Pruhomme & Nneka Edwards


Wesleyan has entered into a
dual-degree program with Guangzhou (GU), which will bring a group of GU students to Wesleyan each year. This experience is supposed to replicate the experience of a Wesleyan education for the exchange students. The Wesleyan faculty wanted to make sure that the GU students learned to use the IF deliberative dialog process.  Over the past several years, IF method has become a standard part of the Wesleyan educational experience. In preparation for this new exchange program, the faculty created a summer class (WISe 201) to introduce the IF process for the GU students.

Approximately 55 exchange students participated in this summer course.  Involvement turned out to be a great way to get the GU students to work on their discussion skills in English while allowing them to interact more meaningfully with each other, with faculty, and with the other Wesleyan students.


 

We hope you are enjoying the newsletter! 

Our December Issue will feature
  • An end of the year look at 2015
  • An update on activities at IF 
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