Saturday, December 25, 2004

Give and Get - Philanthropy meets December.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone.

In the spirit of birth, re-birth and renewal implicit in Hannukah, Christmas and the New Year holidays, I hope to get this blog reactivated in the new year.

This time of year is always interesting, with its uniquely American mix of giving and getting, religion and capitalism, consumerism and marketing (particularly aimed at kids). The very notion of a Spirit of Christmas is clearly seperated from a spirit of Christianity or Christ and his beliefs. While the various strains of Christianity offer differing solutions to and interpretations of earthly rewards and wealth (and how they relate to Heavenly rewards), it seems to me that mainstream American Christmas has clearly been segmented off from serious religious meaning, and is used by business as a hyper-market moment.

It is almost ironic, then, that all businesses and services seem shut down on Christmas day itself -- like the great feeding frenzy must allow people a brief non-commercial time/space to take a breath, be with family, and purge ourselves of all the things we have purchased through a secondary orgy of giving.

Which leads us to philanthropy (you were wondering where this rant was going, no?). There are (at least) two types of philanthropy going on during this season: inter-personal gift exchange, and organized, organizational fundraising/giving. You can see the prior going on in many homes and workplaces. The latter is often highlighted in the human interest stories of newspapers and television news. The nonprofit sector gets just as worked up in December as the for-profit community! This is the time when individuals and families -- low-income, middle-class and upper-class -- write checks to the "charities" and causes (i.e. nonprofit organizations) about which they care (and also to many that send them direct mail or use other fundraising tools to reach them).

Both the individual and organizational giving and getting bring with them a variety of challenges and questions. Amongst the most serious are the issues of motivation and appropriateness. Why do we give what we give to whom we give? How is it done? In what spirit (to use an over-used phrase) is it given? When do we get or expect to get in exchange?

Just glance at the business reports and it takes little guess work to understand the motivations of businesses and corporations during this season. They cash in all the year-round branding and marketing NOW -- hoping that their products will be the It thing with the 0-18 crowd and their parents. When credit card debt goes up, so do their earnings and stock shares.

The motivations of nonprofits are also related to marketing and earning -- they cash-in less on the cycle of giving in which our consumer-selves live, and more on the moral and humane side of our citizen-selves. What do we care about outside of our family and friendship circles? How do we create our selves, and meaning about ourselves and our world, when we voluntarily donate to organizations that deal with poverty, environment, culture, justice, and pressing community and social issues?

Much has been written on these matters by much more knowledgable and experienced people than myself. As a great first place to looks, I recommend the writings of Paul G. Schervish, a prof at Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. You can find his and others' research and articles on Motivations for Charitable Giving at

Be thankful for all our gifts (you can always return those you don't need),

Note: This entry represents personal opinion, and not any stand taken by or opinion of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy as an organization.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Yours Comments Here!

Please note - Thanks to upgrades to this Blog service, you can now post comments for any and all entries on! I would encourage EPIP members and other readers to do just that - for too long now this blog has been a one-way street - very unlike philanthropy, which is a two-way process. I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

There are a couple new philanthropy-oriented blogs out there along with yours truly. It turns out that EPIP is one of the philanthropy blog pioneers!

Philanthropoid: Give and Take
"Ruminations on philanthropy, charity, generosity---the business of doing good."

Philanthropy 2225 (published by Research, analysis and provocation on future directions for philanthropy, from Lucy Bernholz of Blueprint Research & Design, Inc. a Bay Area-based consulting firm serving philanthropic foundations.

Sunday, May 16, 2004


In National EPIP News...

April 27, 2004 - An over-flowing inter-generational crowd of more than 150 grantmakers participated in an EPIP Philanthropology workshop at the Council on Foundations 55th Annual Conference, in Toronto. The workshop, titled "The Power To Be Authentic: Leadership Development At Work In Foundations," was developed in partnership with the GrantCraft Project. Featuring 3 seasoned and 3 emerging philanthropic leaders as speakers and facilitators, the workshop engaged participants in small group discussions about taking on the difficult role of grantmaker, and leading from the middle of their organizations. At the same conference, EPIP held a Young Grantmakers Reception at Toronto City Hall. The reception, attended by over thirty conference-goers, was co-sponsored by Changemakers, GrantCraft, Resource Generation, the Young Donor Organizing Alliance. It was hosted by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, which represents the needs of young people in City government.

News From EPIP Chapters...

May 4, 2004 - New York City EPIP held its second annual EPIP Philanthropology 101 Workshop, and its first Philanthropology 201 Workshop. The 101 session, geared toward grantmakers with less than 1 year in the field, provided factual and personal perspectives on how different models of foundations and giving vehicles operate and support social change. Speakers represented a variety of types of public and private foundations. The 201 Workshop focused on challenges and opportunities that both grantmakers often face as they take on their roles and lead from the middle. Questions discussed include: How can I leverage my experience within my organization? How can I maintain strong relationships with the non-profit community I support? How can I play a role in managing and implementing social change from within my organization? Special emphasis was placed on helping participants to "find their voice" as a young person in philanthropy.

Here's what participants thought of the NYC EPIP Workshops:

"The workshop offered a chance to reflect on the human relations side of working in foundations, rather than the techno-legal traps we often get sucked into. We all have the "skills" we need for this work -- or can learn them -- it's only in a forum like this that we can unpack the experience of living and working in this industry."

"The workshops were a great opportunity to connect with other young professionals working in the field of philanthropy. It was helpful to learn more about different perspectives in grantmaking."

"I wanted a chance to exchange stories, to be together with talented and generous people -- that wish was fulfilled."

"Overall - GREAT workshop and I also appreciate how friendly the EPIP Steering Committee and volunteers are."

April 15, 2004 - Bay Area EPIP held its first EPIP Philanthropology 201 Workshop, entitled "Power, Money, & Public Service: The Philanthropic Balancing Act." Hosted by the San Francisco Foundation Center, an EPIP partner organization. The session featured as speaker Carol Cantwell (Agape Foundation), Charles Fields (San Francisco Foundation), EPIP Board of Advisors member Laura Loescher (Changemakers), Kavita Ramdas (Global Fund For Women) and Jason Sanders (Tides Foundation). The panel was moderated by the Foundation Center's Janet Camerena.

Here's what participants are saying about the Bay Area EPIP Workshop:

"It was extremely valuable to have a space to discuss power dynamics in foundations, a significant issue that is often not discussed."

"Really solid panelists. Great big picture conversation."

"It reminded me that there are a lot of other people MY AGE out there in the philanthropic world who want to make changes and are as excited about philanthropy as I."

"It made me realize that we should be working toward some kind of ethics code for funders (and maybe even for grantees in discussions with grantees)."

"[Other philanthropy workshops] are more nuts-and-bolts, and geared much more to tools for private foundations and trustees. The thoughtful inquiry that EPIP aims to cultivate is unique."

Coming To An EPIP Chapter Near You...

May 19, 2004 - EPIP New England will hold a Philanthropology 201 Workshop titled "An Introduction to Social Justice Philanthropy," which will be hosted by Merrill Lynch. The workshop will feature Susan Ostrander, a professor of sociology at Tufts University. Prof. Ostrander teaches courses on social inequalities, community organizing, gender, and nonprofit organizations and democracy. For details , go to, or email Tamara Bates at

May 27, 2004 - EPIP DC will hold its Official Launch Event, and the first in its "Feed-Your-Brain" Series. The event will be hosted by the Stuart R. Mott Charitable Trust, and will feature Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, who will speak about what foundations can do to actively promote social change.
For more information, go to or RSVP at

Thursday, March 11, 2004


Will you be in Toronto for the Council on Foundations Annual Conference?

If you answered "Yes" to that question, then you are invited to the EPIP Annual Program...

If you will be at the conference - email me and let me know. If you are interested in helping to organize our reception, or having your organization co-sponsor the reception, let me know that as well.


The Power To Be Authentic: Leadership Development at Work in Foundations
Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 11-12:30 AM
Co-Sponsored by EPIP & GrantCraft

This year EPIP and the GrantCraft Project are co-organizing a very exciting workshop, that will help participants to understand how to take on their
role in their organizations and to lead "from the middle." It will also help those in senior and junior positions to think about how they can either ask
for or provide the support needed by staff to take on their challenging roles. GrantCraft, a project of the Ford Foundation, is a source of practical wisdom for grantmakers on the tools and techniques of effective grantmaking.

The workshop will feature an inter-generational cast of facilitators, speakers and respondents:

Emerson Beyer, Program Associate, GrantCraft Project, Ford Foundation

Omisade Billie Burney, Program Director, The Warner Foundation

Jan Jaffe, Director, GrantCraft Project, Ford Foundation

George Penick, President, Foundation for the Mid-South

Dr. William Richardson, President & CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Molly Schultz, Program Manager, Jewish Funders Network

Rusty Stahl, Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

Stephanie Yang, Program Officer, The Women's Foundation of California


Mingle with Peers & Toronto Youth Activists
Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 7-9:30 PM [roughly]
Location: Toronto City Hall Rotunda [pending approval]
Co-Sponsors: Changemakers, GrantCraft, Resource Generation

We are very happy to once again this year co-sponsor our reception with our colleague organizations Changemakers and Resource Generation, with the addition of co-sponsor GrantCraft this year.

The reception will take place Tuesday evening, and our request for use of the Toronto City Hall Rotunda has been supported by the office of Olivia Chow, Toronto City Councillor & Youth Advocate, who is our invited speaker. We have also invited emerging practitioners in philanthropy and some youth activists from the Toronto area to join us and welcome us to their city! It should be a great evening of networking and fun.

Monday, February 23, 2004

The Quarterly E-Newsletter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy
Winter 2004

In This Issue:

1. News from the Chapters
2. Networking at Conferences
3. New Knowledge Resources


New DC Chapter Draws Large Crowd to first Meeting

This Monday, Feb 9, I joined EPIP Board member George Walker in Washington at a "listening meeting" that marks the first public event of the DC EPIP Chapter. The meeting was attended by over forty young diverse young people engaged in grantmaking, philanthropy support organizations, nonprofits, graduate studies, and as donors. Hosted by the Aspen Institute, the meeting attracted folks from across DC as well as a number from Baltimore, and featured interactive icebreakers, small-group brainstorming sessions, and plenty of door-prizes. The group shared stories, ideas, frustrations and inspirations about working in philanthropy. They asked tough questions about their own roles and the problems and potential of our sector. Already in the works are an official DC EPIP Launch Event on the evening of March 25, and a Happy Hour event on April 22. Thanks to the DC EPIP organizing committee for their great work. For a list of committee members and more information, see the DC EPIP page of the EPIP website.

EPIP Wins Midwest Primary -- Chicago Votes for EPIP

Chicago's "Peer Network of New Grantmakers" - a part of the Donors Forum of Chicago voted to affiliate with EPIP as the Chicago EPIP Chapter. The vote, which took place on Thursday, Feb. 5, is one of numerous signs of interest in EPIP across the Midwest U.S. in areas such as Cincinnati, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Indianapolis and Michigan. While every EPIP chapter works in close partnership with its respective regional association of grantmakers, this affiliation from a pre-existing local group is a first within the network; we now have to work out details with the Donors Forum -- but we are excited to have an official group in the Midwest.

Philanthropology Workshops

The New York City and Bay Area chapters of EPIP will hold Philanthropology workshops during Spring 2004. These workshops are part of the Philanthropology Project, EPIP's signature effort to provide constituents with peer-based educational tools about foundation work and the field of philanthropy. Our goal is to model these workshops and other programs across our chapter network, so that eventually a diverse set of written and face-to-face Philanthropology resources are available to all EPIP constituents to help them excel in their efforts to advance effective social justice philanthropy.


EPIP Presents at North Carolina Grantmakers Conference

On Thursday Feb 19, I sat on a panel discussion of emerging grantmakers at the conference of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers in Greensboro, NC. The well-attended session presented the viewpoints of, and resources available to, young people working in philanthropy both regionally and nationally. Organized by EPIP Board member Melissa Johnson, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, and Natasha Nimmons, Winston-Salem Foundation, the panel was moderated by Athan Lindsey of the Warner Foundation. It also featured speakers Courtney Young, who works on Southeastern outreach for Resource Generation, Eric Johnson, a Fellow at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and Keri Muuss, who works in donor services at the Winston-Salem Foundation. Participating in the day-long conference enabled EPIP to do state-wide outreach all in one place. The following day, I had dinner with staff and board members of the young nonprofit professionals network of North Carolina to discuss the potential for partnerships between our networks.

EPIP and Partners hold Reception at COF Family Foundation Meeting in NYC

I joined a good number of EPIP members and leaders at a lively reception held on Sun, Feb 8 at the COF Conference for Family Foundations. The reception, which drew a great inter-generational crowd, featured refreshments and lots of networking. The event was co-sponsored by EPIP, Resource Generation, Third Wave Foundation, Changemakers, 2164 - a Division of Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and Younger Funders group of the Jewish Funders Network. Resource Generation and the Bronfman foundation also organized a full-day Next Generation Retreat and other activities for young people with wealth at the conference.

Think Regionally, Outreach Nationally -- EPIP at Conference of Regional Associations

I recently attended the annual meeting of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. Held Feb 4-6 in Washington, DC, this year's conference brought together staff and board members of the 29 regional associations across the U.S., along with staff from 41 local "New Ventures in Philanthropy" coalitions and other colleague organizations in the field (like... EPIP!). Also present at the conference was EPIP board member Melissa Johnson, and Forum staff Danielle Hicks and Jessica Bearman, who are both members of the DC EPIP Organizing Committee. EPIP held a breakfast roundtable as well as dinner at a nearby restaurant. Overall, participating in the meeting enabled us to build a national presence with all the regional associations of grantmakers, who are key partners in developing the EPIP chapter network across the country. The New Ventures groups have been supported by a Forum grantmaking initiative to promote new philanthropy in communities of color, rural areas, the newly wealthy, etc. Click here for more on New Ventures in Philanthropy.


Community-Based Philanthropy

At the Family Foundation Conference mentioned above, the Changemakers Fund brought together conferees to brainstorm ways to promote community-based grantmaking. Community-based grantmaking empowers activists from a foundation's grantee community to have a formal role in the foundation's grantmaking and governance. EPIP Board members Laura Loescher of Changemakers and Alison Goldberg of Resource Generation, who co-led the conversation, distributed a new report on the subject, "Community-Based Public Foundations: Small Beacons for Big Ideas" just published by the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy.

The Disconnect between College Seniors, Career Centers & Nonprofit Organizations

A new study from New York University looks at the missed connections among nonprofit organizations, college seniors and campus offices of career service. "For too many young people interested in nonprofit sector work, the conduit to get them there is missing. On college campuses, graduating students are not finding the resources they need to connect to the public service careers they desire. And at small and mid-size nonprofit organizations in particular, already over-taxed staff are struggling to find ways to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible. Click here for a PDF copy of Recruiting and Retaining the Next Generation of Nonprofit Sector Leadership

New Evaluation Report on Youth Activism as Youth Development

A new evaluate report presents findings from the Youth Leadership Development Initiative, a 3-year youth activism grants and learning initiative funded by the Ford Foundation. The 2-part report looks at how civic activism can be an effective approach for reaching disenfranchised youth who are not engaged in conventional youth development programs. Click here to view a PDF of the Executive Summary of Lessons in Leadership: How Young People Change Their Communities and Themselves. The full 2-part report is $14 and can be purchased by contacting the Innovation Center for Community & Youth Development: telephone (301) 270-1700 or email

Friday, January 30, 2004

The 2004 EPIP Board

Today the EPIP Board of Advisors held an orientation for four new members. The 2004 Board is as follows:

Kisha Bird, The Philadelphia Foundation (Philadelphia, PA)
Rohit Burman, JP Morgan Private Bank Global Foundations Group (New York, NY)
Dolores Estrada, The California Endowment (Los Angeles, CA)
Sonya Garcia, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (Denver, CO)
Alison Goldberg, Resource Generation (Cambridge, MA)
Melissa Johnson, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro (Greensboro, NC)
Laura Loescher, Changemakers (San Francisco, CA)
Eleni Sotos, Jenifer Altman Fund (San Francisco, CA)
Rusty Stahl, EPIP (ex officio) (New York, NY)
George Walker, Center for Community Change (Washington, DC)

Chapter Information Now Featured at
New at our website: now features pages for each local EPIP chapter. They are informative and fun to use! Just go to, and click on your local chapter to find out basic information, upcoming events, and to see a list of steering committee members.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A Week in the Life of EPIP

Last week was busy and productive all across the EPIP network. Here’s a snapshot of what happened…

On Wednesday, January 14, approximately sixteen members of Los Angeles EPIP met to unanimously approve a paper outlining a structure for chapter governance and programming. They made initial plans for a program this in spring, discussed how social justice themes can be integrated into the chapter’s work, and shared information about upcoming conferences and meetings.

The next day, a snow-filled Thursday morning, EPIP New York City held a breakfast concluding the six-month pilot phase of the chapter’s Mentoring Program. Due to the weather, not all eight pairs of mentors and mentees were in attendance, but there was still a good-sized crowd. The Mentoring Committee, which planned and ran the program, solicited evaluation and feedback from mentors and mentees. It quickly became clear that all participants found value in the program, particularly in learning about other types of foundations. The group concluded that they will implement another six-month round of pairing, and continue to support pairs from the pilot round, if they wish to continue.

At lunchtime on Thursday, The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF), in partnership with Delaware Valley Grantmakers (DVG), hosted an EPIP luncheon meeting attended by twenty-five new and young local foundation staffers. This was the fourth Philadelphia EPIP exploratory meeting, and participants showed great enthusiasm to start local brown bag discussions, workshops, and mentoring opportunities. TPF has enabled EPIP Board member Kisha Bird, a Program Officer there, to use staff time to coordinate local activities, and Kisha has been invited to join DVG’s annual conference committee.

At the same time on Thursday afternoon, members of the local EPIP organizing committee and others met in Washington, DC over lunch at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The meeting focused on formalizing the committee, which is now ten people strong. Participants committed to various roles and tasks within the committee, and began planning an event to reach out to more colleagues in the DC area, in order to officially launch the chapter.

And so grows the movement to organize the next generation of grantmakers…