Wednesday, November 25 , 2015, 3:16 pm | A Few Clouds 61º

For Conference Veteran Bill Libbon, Partnership for Excellence Is Inspiring and Motivating

By Lynn Carlisle for the Partnership for Excellence |

Having served as the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria for the past 14 years, Bill Libbon recognizes what has value for his organization when he sees it. After he attended the Partnership for Excellence conference for the first time in 2000, he knew the one-day event was worthwhile.

Bill Libbon
Bill Libbon

“I did not know what to expect,” Libbon recalls. “But when I saw all the funders there and was actually able to talk to them and thank them for everything they’ve done for our kids, I realized what a great conference it is.”

Throughout the years, Libbon has found several positive benefits to the conference, not the least of which is sharing — and passing on — knowledge about the philanthropic community with his staff and members of his board.

“It has been a big eye-opener for the board members I have taken,” he said.

Passing on his knowledge and experience of PFE and his many years at the Boys & Girls Club is crucial for Libbon , as he is retiring this year after a 40-year relationship with the organization.

Representing a North County agency, he has always found the PFE conference worth the trip.

“People in North County should take advantage of it and go,” he said. “It is good to get away from the office for the day, take your staff, take your board. It is very worthwhile."

In addition to the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with funders, Libbon has found the keynote speakers very helpful.

“I like hearing about the trends in the nonprofit world — it inspires you, it motivates you,” reports Libbon, noting that Geoffrey Canada’s presentation at PFE 2010 on his work at the Harlem Children’s Zone particularly resonated with his experience at the Boys & Girls Club.

For Libbon, the lunchtime conversations and the afternoon break-out sessions are the heart of the conference.

“Being able to be in an informal setting and ask questions and exchange ideas and information is great,” he said. “It really helps to break down barriers and lets you know that you are not alone. Lots of people are in the same boat as you.”

Partnership for Excellence is a full-day conference with funders and nonprofit leaders from the Santa Barbara County philanthropic sector. Registration is now available for the Thursday, April 17 event taking place at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As the long-standing leader of a nonprofit in North County, Libbon stresses that “the conference is put on to help us. You can not match the value of going to PFE.”

Click here to register for the conference or for more information.

— Lynn Carlisle is a member of the Partnership for Excellence Steering Committee.

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