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The National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes

Plenary Session Descriptions

2018 Osher Institutes National Conference

Plenary Session Descriptions

Monday, 3:30 – 4:45pm

Welcome to the 2018 Osher Institutes National Conference

The opening plenary session will provide a general orientation of the conference agenda, staff introductions, and some inspiring words from our Bernard Osher Foundation colleagues. An overview of the 2018-20 Osher NRC Strategic Plan will be presented, as well as the first of three installments of “Woo-Hoo!” competition entries.


Mary Bitterman, President, The Bernard Osher Foundation

David Blazevich, Senior Program Director, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Bernard Osher, Founder and Treasurer, The Bernard Osher Foundation

Steve Thaxton, Executive Director, National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes


Tuesday, 8:30 – 9:45am

Meeting the Fundraising Challenge: Some Practical Solutions

Consider these facts: the vast majority of money given away in the US comes from individuals.  Fully 70% of the adult population of the country gives away money. And more people give money than vote, or volunteer, or attend any house of worship. These facts may be surprising and inspiring to many in organizations that rely on charitable gifts and have a hard time raising the money needed for their programs. The key to success in these times is to learn what works for the Institute and to build plans around what works. In this fast-paced and fun session participants will learn:

  • What a systematic and disciplined fundraising program looks like
  • How to create a message that raises money
  • Who is really a prospect
  • How to get over anxiety about asking
  • How to mobilize advisory boards and other volunteers to raise money


Kim Klein, Fundraising Consultant and Teacher, Klein and Roth, San Francisco, CA


Tuesday, 1:00 – 2:00pm

Keynote Address: Making Best Use of the Telomere Effect

What hastens the unwelcome aspects of aging – notably, our increased susceptibilities to diseases? Biologist Elizabeth Blackburn shares a Nobel Prize for finding out one of the answers. She will tell participants about her groundbreaking discoveries of not only how the protective caps (telomeres) at our chromosome ends wear down and contribute to our cells’ and bodies’ aging, but also of what we have learned that can counteract this underlying mechanism of aging. We might have more control over aging than we think.


Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Morris Herzstein Professor Emerita in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and President Emerita of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California


Wednesday, 8:30 – 9:30am

Diversity and Inclusion at OLLI (and Beyond): How Our Brains Encourage and Impede Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

In this session, Dr. Peery will talk about diversity and inclusion from the perspective of our brain. Participants will learn about the cognitive processes that affect how we perceive and respond to others and how others perceive and respond to us. We’ll discuss how stereotypes and biases, both positive and negative, affect our judgements and behaviors. We’ll also consider the ways in which our brains are often acting without our awareness or intention, leading us to think and behave in ways that may be counter to the values of diversity and inclusion that we have personally and for our Osher Institutes.


Dr. Destiny Peery, Associate Professor, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, IL