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