In preparation for our 2023 Leadership Conference at St. Luke’s in Orlando, FL, we’re introducing you to our conference keynote speakers.

On day 3 of the event, we’ll shift our focus to BEYOND Deepening and Expanding. Together we’ll explore how to see beyond our own communities. We’ll ask, “What is the larger picture here?” and “How do we innovate and evolve into the next iteration of CUSA’s work building community to end poverty?” 

Our keynote speaker on the Beyond theme is Mark Brewer, President/CEO of Central Florida Foundation (CFF). CFF stewards philanthropic dollars on behalf of individuals, families, and nonprofits by partnering with people who are determined to make a difference in their community. It fosters collaboration, fuels ideas, and spearheads the innovation that will transform the Southeast region for good. 

Nominated by Lynette Fields (executive director of Poverty Solutions Group) and Addie Hartnett (regional coach for Circles Central Florida), Mark Brewer is inspiring nonprofit groups and philanthropists to work together to address key issues for communities in need. Lynette shares: “Mark is an unwavering and unapologetic champion and supporter of nonprofit organizations. He truly believes our country needs the nonprofit sector to do some of the hardest and most critical work in our communities, and that nonprofits should be recognized as major players for change. He’s on top of emerging best practices, and the Central Florida Foundation has led our community in expanding nonprofit leadership to include more diverse and representative voices.

Mark’s keynote will address the state of philanthropy today, including the top five trends for giving and how Circles chapters can connect more powerfully with foundations and institutional givers. Following this keynote, Mark will also offer a breakout session on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these global concepts can power up our work at Circles.

Mark writes about this breakout session: “This briefing on the importance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will clarify how to use some or all of them to empower our collective work, fundraising, and measurement of our outcomes. Learn how the world collaborates around using the SDGs to inspire, measure progress, and localize the work in these crucial areas. We’ll explore how Circles USA may leverage resources and collective work across more SDGs. By taking academics out of working with the SDGs, we’ll discuss how to use them and collaborations that can happen when using them as a horizon rather than traditional goals.”

More About Mark Brewer

Mark is a well-known national speaker on the independent sector, philanthropy’s role in America, venture philanthropy strategies, and the independent sector’s public policy role. In his leadership role at the Central Florida Foundation, Mark frequently advises private and corporate foundation grant makers across the region and plays a public policy advisory role on strategy and advisory boards around the state of Florida.

Mark’s service focus is on organizations that grow philanthropy or play strategic grant-making and public policy roles. At the national level, Mark has chaired strategy initiatives and think tanks. At the state level, he has served as Chair of the Florida Philanthropic Network, a statewide association of grantmakers working to strengthen philanthropy through research, education, and public policy; and as  Chair of the Community Foundations of Florida, the statewide association of community foundations. In the Central Florida region, Mark serves on the Orlando Economic Partnership board, a public-private partnership working to create quality jobs, economic growth, broad-based prosperity, and a sustainable quality of life for the region; and as Chair of the College of Community Innovation and Education (CCIE) Dean’s Advisory Council at UCF. He is also a Foundation for Orlando’s Future board member.

Most recently, Mark was named one of Orlando Business Journal’s CEOs of the year for 2021 and identified as one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2021 Power Players. 

Learn more about the Central Florida Foundation and the state of philanthropy in 2023 in Florida

Register for the conference or learn more about cross-sector collaborations to end poverty on our blog at