Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that isn’t addressed here, don’t hesitate to ask.
Email Maggie Lechner, our Events Director, at

What precautions will be in place for COVID-19?

Out of a love and devotion for you, all of our Gathering Board, team, speakers, and GenNext staff are either fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or will test negative for COVID before arriving at the conference. And in your care for one another, we ask you to be fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID within 3 days before arriving at the hotel. (We will have a limited number of self-administered rapid tests available at the hotel, as well as directions to nearby testing sites.) Nothing guarantees our protection, of course, but with a measure of diligence, prudence, and good humor, we can enjoy each other’s presence more safely and with greater peace of mind.

If you are considering a visit to the conference and would like all the details about testing standards, masking, and other preventive measures we’ve planned, please email Maggie for a copy of our 3-page FAQ on our COVID-19 precautions.


We kindly request that everyone wears a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status. In response to the aggressively contagious and virulent Delta variant of COVID-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and San Diego County health experts are strongly urging everyone to mask indoors, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Fortunately, we're meeting in balmy Southern California, so bring your sunglasses, floppy hats, and sunscreen. We moved as many activities outdoors as possible: From dining al fresco whenever we can, to relocating Breakout Sessions out of stuffy rooms into the sunshine, to holding Conversation Groups on lawns and patios. Roughly half of our programming will take place outside. Main Stage sessions will remain in the giant ballroom, with tables spread apart and doors kept open.

Click here to see if you meet any of the criteria for exemption by San Diego County from wearing a mask.

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

From August 1, we are not refunding fees because of the expenses we incur to produce the event. However, we can provide you a letter acknowledging the amount as a donation. We make exceptions for medical emergencies. Thank you for helping us plan prudently.

What is the conference attire?

The attire is resort casual. No need for men to pack a tie – although you will see a few ties and blue blazers at dinner in the evenings. The ballroom and classroom temperatures tend to be quite cold at most hotels, so definitely pack a cardigan, shawl, or jacket. We cover three generations now (from babies to grandparents) in The Gathering, so whatever you feel comfortable wearing is great with us.

How far is the conference hotel from the airport?

Rancho Bernardo Inn is about 30 minutes from San Diego International Airport (SAN). This estimate -- assuming no traffic -- is courtesy of Google Maps; your experience may vary greatly depending on time of day. We generally recommend using a ride-share app or a car service because nearly all our activities are on-site, and we provide local transportation when an experience requires it. (The hotel charges a daily fee for parking, which we have negotiated down for our guests; $30 for valet, $15 for self parking.)

Is there a mobile app for the conference?

Yes, we have an app just for our event! The app will be released about one week before the conference and will be your hub for the detailed schedule, participant directory, speaker bios, and session descriptions.

As a newcomer, will I feel out of place?

Each year, about one-quarter of our participants are new to The Gathering, which is exciting for the growth of the community. Before the Opening Night dinner, our Board of Directors hosts a “Newcomers Reception” so you can meet our leaders and connect with others. We also love making introductions -- and will happily do so before you arrive for the conference. Whether you’re coming alone or with a large family, we want you to feel at home with friendly faces in the crowd. If you would like to bring a new friend or have us reach out for a conversation, please let us know!

What is covered in the registration fee?

You are responsible for travel to the Rancho Bernardo Inn and for your lodging. All meals during the conference are included in the registration fee.

Do you have any activities for my children and grandchildren?

Yes we do! For over a decade, we have hosted a youth program at The Gathering for children 3 years old through 12th grade, called GenNext. We firmly believe that virtue and philanthropy can be modeled, taught, and celebrated -- even among our youngest participants. It is our greatest hope that your young ones will yearn to return year after year, building friendships that last and learning values that honor your family legacy. We combine the best of rollicking fun and spiritual inquiry, led by a select group of counselors who joyfully serve for the entire weekend. The GenNext schedule perfectly complements the main Gathering schedule, allowing adults to attend their selected sessions while also giving families some free time together.

San Diego County requires everyone in “childcare and other youth settings” to be masked. Our GenNext staff will be masked, and they are empowered to take every action to keep your child safe. More information about our COVID protocols for GenNext will be forthcoming to parents.

Can I bring a friend to a single session or meal at the conference?

Anyone who attends the conference, even for a shorter amount of time, must be registered for the event. The event is invite-only and open to philanthropists who meet our giving criteria.

Can I raise money for my favorite ministries doing the best work in the Kingdom by buttonholing my peers at The Gathering?

No. The Gathering is a community of friends -- a place to learn, share, and grow without being accosted for funding. This unique environment is intentionally protected by our shared core value of trust. We encourage the enthusiastic exchange of opposing ideas, the joyful celebration of successful giving and meaningful impact, and the painful conversations about hard lessons learned. However, if you feel cornered by an aggressive sales pitch from anyone at our event, whether a participant or a speaker, don’t hesitate to let us know. Your feedback will be kept confidential.

What do I do if the room block at Rancho Bernardo Inn is full?

Please note that due to COVID-19, our room block is limited this year. We are sorry for the inconvenience. However there are several hotels nearby.
Hilton Garden Inn
2 miles from The Inn

Courtyard Marriott
2 miles from The Inn

“Faith and reason are not, as many seem to be arguing today, mutually exclusive. They never have been.” Francis Collins