Friday, December 12, 2003

So what's new?...

New Members of the EPIP Board of Advisors. I am proud to announce that the following individuals will join EPIP's national governance body in 2004:

Rohit Burman, J.P. Morgan Global Foundations Group
Dolores Estrada, The California Endowment
Sonya Garcia, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training
Melissa Johnson, The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro

In addition, we are excited to welcome to the Program Committee of the Board of Advisors the following:

K. Emerson Beyer, GrantCraft, A Project of the Ford Foundation
Milano Harden, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Danielle Hicks, New Ventures in Philanthropy, A Project of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

These individuals exemplify the diverse individuals, foundations and partner organizations that are creating the EPIP network. They are all committed to strengthening the next generation of grantmakers, and advancing effective social justice philanthropy. Congratulations to all!

Networking Highlight of the Day - The KnowledgeWorks Foundation. This Wednesday I had a great conference call with about five EPIP constituents at the KnowledgeWorks Foundation . I will just call it KWF. KWF is a "conversion foundation." Like the healthcare conversion foundations (California Wellness Foundation, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, etc.), it was created when a non-profit became a for-profit, and had to get rid of its tax exempt assets, thus creating a foundation to carry on its nonprofit mission. In the case of KWF, however, it was not a healthcare entity, but a student loan provider. So the foundation is focused on education. On top of that, it is an operating foundation - it uses its assets not to give grants, but to do research and operate programs of its own. There are not many of these kinds of foundations either. KWF is a rarity all around. The staff are generally new to the field, and working on some innovative approaches to things. One is really interested in foundations and public policy. Another is pondering how their foundation can explain itself to its community and the public. And yet another is curious about how EPIP and others define "social justice philanthropy," and why it seems like a great idea to some in the field, and an anathema to others. And they are all looking to gain stronger connections in the foundation community, and with colleagues across the Midwest.

Regional EPIP Networks. In fact, my phone call with KnowledgeWorks was part of an upcoming effort in 2004 to explore the possibilities of an EPIP regional network across the Midwest -- to help bridge EPIP constituents in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Flint, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Chicago, amongst other places. We will also be exploring such options in the Southeastern region, where we have constituents in disparate areas such as Durham, Greensboro, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Knoxville.

Workshop at COF Annual Conference 2004. For another taste of what is coming in 2004, I will tell you about an upcoming workshop. For those of you planning to attend the next Council on Foundations annual conference (in Toronto!), EPIP is working with the GrantCraft Project on a highly interactive and exciting workshop. The session is titled "The Power to be Authentic: Leadership Development at Work in Foundations." Here's our description... How do emerging grantmakers get supportive, learning experiences from their foundations? How do established leaders support, mentor and develop the staff working at their organizations? This workshop will bring together senior foundation leaders, program staff and emerging practitioners to explore the challenges of taking up their roles, and engaging in mutual support. The session will help participants, who are often caught in the middle of competing demands, to be as authentic as possible (or simply live with themselves) in negotiating the dynamics of life in their organizations. Participants will get to engage with one another with regard to these issues, and be introduced to networking resources and concrete tools.

That is all for now. Over and out,


Friday, December 05, 2003

Ford Foundation to Maintain Major Support for the EPIP Network.
We received confirmation today from the Ford Foundation that a grant has been approved to the New World Foundation for $150,000 over two years to support the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. New World is our fiscal sponsor and provides pro-bono office space. Thanks to the staff in the Community Philanthropy and Civic Culture program at Ford for their continuing support of this growing network.

New at - Chapter Pages.
Check out the new pages now live at Each EPIP chapter now has a page of its own, providing some basic info and listing its leadership. The chapter pages will allow each local network to present information about its goals and programs! This has been too long in coming.

Networking Highlight of the Day - Alabama Giving.
I talked for the first time with Beth Dennis of Alabama Giving (, told her about the EPIP network, and how we are trying to increase our presence and services in the Southeastern part of the country. She was excited about finding ways to get involved. Alabama Giving is a four-year program to increase, promote and encourage philanthropy statewide. It is one of many local and regional coalitions intent on increasing and improving philanthropy in their communities, all funded by a special initiative called New Ventures in Philanthropy, which is in turn a program of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. To see a list of all the New Ventures groups, check out

Shwewww. There are so many things going on at the local, national and international levels in this field that it is hard to keep up. Plus we had a snow storm in New York City today, which makes it hard to concentrate and stay warm...

Have a great weekend everybody!


Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Today I am working on a workshop that EPIP will be presenting with GrantCraft, a project of the Ford Foundation ( during the Council on Foundations annual meeting in April 04.

The workshop is dubbed "The Power To Be Authentic: Leadership Development at Work in Foundations." Emerson Beyer, who works at GrantCraft, and I have been planning the session to be highly experiential, using a case study and role play amongst participants. If you are an EPIP member and plan to attend the Toronto conference, let me know -- we will need some volunteers! Here's the workshop description:

The Power To Be Authentic: Leadership Development at Work in Foundations
How do emerging philanthropic leaders experience foundations and grantmaking? How do established leaders respond to their needs? This workshop, presented by the GrantCraft (a project of the Ford Foundation) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, will bring together senior foundation leaders, program staff and emerging practitioners to explore the challenges of taking up their roles. This session will help participants, who are often caught in the middle of competing demands, to be as authentic as possible (or simply live with themselves) in negotiating the dynamics of life in their organizations. Participants will get to discuss these issues with one another, and be introduced to concrete tools for making use of their experiences and drawing lessons that they can share.


Monday, December 01, 2003

Thanksgiving vacation was good. Now it's back to the daily EPIP grind!

On returning to the office this morning today, I found two new memberships in the mail, from staff at the California Wellness Foundation and the Southern Californa Association for Philanthropy. Thanks, guys. It always feels great to get new members.

Later today I had a good talk with Marcelle Good from the Appalachian Community Fund (ACF). We talked about how EPIP could build a helpful regional network in the Southeastern US, and also about generational issues in progressive philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. We also talked about the different models of philanthropy, and how much they involve donors, grantee leaders and others in decision making. ACF is a member-institution in the Funding Exchange, a network of local public foundations that empower their grantee community to make grantmaking decisions alongside or in place of traditional donors. I told her that I hope EPIP can work with others in the field to develop case studies about these and other models, to help EPIP members think about how they could make innovative structural changes that fit the needs and missions of their own foundations.

Now I am off to sit in on a class at the New School University, a course about nonprofit advocacy. Today's session is about the role of funding -- and it should be fascinating to this philanthropy nerd.



Friday, October 31, 2003

Rockin with the Rockefellas

So, now I am up at the Pocantico, the conference center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Myself and three others have been preparing all afternoon for a weekend mini-conference about inter-generational learning amongst social justice activists. I don't know most of the people who are coming, so I feel like anything can happen. It is nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. The facilitators are top notch, so I have confidence that we will not go off-track. EPIP is co-sponsoring this meeting with LISTEN Inc., a group that supports urban youth leadership efforts. At least from the EPIP perspective, this meeting is part of our efforts to increase support for young people in each generation who seek out meaningful social change careers.

Drinks and dinner start in 1/2 hour, and I am need a little nap beforehand. Talk to you later,

Philanthropy in The Northeast Cooridor...

It's been a whirlwind week. Sunday through Tuesday in the Nation's Capitol saw lunch with the local EPIP leadership at Kramer's Books and Cafe. While the service left something to be desired, the food was good, and the content we delivered was great. We talked about what the nacent chapter has done, and what it can look forward to doing in the coming year. After that I met with George Walker, member of the EPIP Board of Advisors, at his office at the Center for Community Change. Then it was on to Georgetown, where I sat in on a graduate class on the history of philanthropy. It just so happened that the professor used the session to talk about what foundation professionals experience (he has been in both the academy and philanthropy for some time), so I shared a bit about my experience working at the Ford Foundation, as well as my work in establishing EPIP.

From DC it was off to Baltimore for the annual conference of community foundations. Here I helped to put on an seafood dinner at the Rusty Scupper (no relation to yours truly -- truly!) for EPIP folks. We had 14 people, a good mix of our current leaders and new folks who are not in our mix yet. We even had our own Rusty Scupper van pick us up and drop us off at the hotel! Much fun. The next morning, bright and early, we held a roundtable to provide a more substantive discussion about the interests and needs of people in our network. About 9 people came - some who came to the dinner, others who did not. They gave me constructive criticism about what we have and have not been doing, and brainstormed some great new ideas. I know it was helpful for me, and I think it was for the other participants.

While I was in Baltimore, I also swung by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and met with some of their Program Assistants. An interesting group of folks there, who work on the Making Connections initiative (they are each assigned to one or two cities where they spend a great deal of time helping to
"make connections" for community development). I learned a lot about the Foundation (and its beautifully sunlit, open offices) and met some great people.

Big thanks to Wanda Jenkins from the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley for helping to put together the dinner, and thanks to everyone who participated in these activities!

On my way back to New York, I stopped in Philadelphia to see family. My niece is really growing up (she's almost 3 years old) and, if I may say so myself, she is beautiful, creative and smart as a whip.

Friday, October 24, 2003

A Philanthropic Journey Across the US

I am preparing to go on a big journey, a sort of road trip (by air) across the philanthropic U.S. I'm headed to Washington DC first, to meet up with a professor who teaches the history of philanthropy at Georgetown. I am gonna sit in on his class - I hope its full of gossip and juicy factoids. Then I'll meet up with EPIP leaders in the DC area for lunch. Nice folks, and we are headed to Kramer's on Dupont Circle, one of my favorite restaurants in that city.

Then I head to Baltimore for the Fall Conference on Community Foundations. I went to this conference for the first time last year, and it was interesting to learn about how much the community foundations struggle with issues of diversity (in terms of staff, trustees, who gets funding, and who they fundraise from). It was pretty eye-opening.

Then, on my way back up the Northeast Cooridor, I get to go home to Philadelphia for a few days, to see my little niece and the rest of my family, which I am really looking forward to. Then I get back to NYC. But I barely get to rest -- that is just the beginning of a three-week journey! I feel kinda like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit when he is about to leave the Shire for the first time on his big journey...

I will try to keep you updated on this trip.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

EPIP is Getting Blogged Down

Today I started this blog to share thoughts as I work with many great folks to build Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). I hope this journal will allow members, friends, and visitors to our website,, to understand better our goals and efforts. I'm psyched!

- Rusty