Friday, October 31, 2003

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.

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