The Pocantico Center has complemented and extended the impact of the Fund's grantmaking since its opening in 1994. The conference center provides a setting where nonprofit organizations and public-sector institutions can bring together people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to engage in critical issues, create new levels of understanding, and develop creative solutions.
Programs for conferences are designed by RBF staff, grantees, and outside groups whose objectives are consistent with those of the Fund. Programs are selected based on five criteria:
- The direct and strong relationship of the conference to the RBF's program objectives;
- The diversity of perspectives, range of opinions, and breadth of experience that will be represented;
- The involvement of skilled, experienced conference leaders, organizers, or facilitators;
- The clarity of conference objectives, of the agenda that will accomplish those objectives and, as appropriate, of the steps to be taken following the conference; and
- The demonstrated added value of having The Pocantico Center as the site of the meeting.
The majority of the conferences, seminars and workshops held annually are two- or three-day events designed by RBF staff, grantees, or other nonprofit or public sector organizations. The Pocantico Center also hosts a limited number of foundation retreats and smaller one-day meetings. Certain RBF-sponsored meetings result in the publication of occasional papers; these Pocantico Papers are intended to bring meeting proceedings or outcomes to the broader attention of policymakers, specialists in the field, and the general public.