On behalf of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, the national board would like to take a moment to announce the departure of our Executive Director, Rahsaan Harris. After over two years of dedicated service to the network, Rahsaan will be stepping into a new role serving as President at The Emma Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. The national team as well as the local chapters express our deep gratitude to Rahsaan for his leadership of EPIP, and we wish Rahsaan and his family the best as he takes this new and exciting step into his future work in philanthropy and social justice.
Rahsaan’s energy and enthusiasm for EPIP will be sorely missed but he leaves behind a legacy of change that will certainly carry us into the next year and beyond. He was instrumental in leading the staff in creating many innovative leadership initiatives including the most recent release of the Measuring a Leader series, also known as MC MaL. Rahsaan also established a well-rounded funding portfolio and network of professionals that have added their skills and leadership to helping craft and properly define EPIP’s values as a network. Additionally under his leadership, Regional Coordinators were established, which has increased the level of communication from the national office to the many regional and local chapters. Lastly, however not least, Rahsaan’s leadership of a several month-long planning process that included a national retreat of JAG leaders, helped successfully hold the Unity Summit. This key event brought together all the JAG partners for a three-day convening on June 6-8th in Washington, DC. It also took place during the 20th anniversary of JAG and brought together 430 professionals representing 33 states and created continuing discussions and networking to advance social justice and equality efforts.
In spite of Rahsaan’s departure, EPIP will continue to thrive as there is a current team of very talented and committed individuals who are fully prepared to keep us moving forward. Emily Kessler, who previously served as the executive director of a family foundation and currently runs her own philanthropic consulting practice, will step into the role as interim executive director. Michael Barham, a current EPIP member and two-year tenured staff member, will remain in his present position of Membership and Operations Manager. Christen Lee, a practicing attorney with seven years of experience working with nonprofits, will continue in her part-time position, supporting local chapters and managing the MC MaL initiative.
Under the leadership of Emily as interim Executive Director, the national team will continue their work in establishing the message of EPIP as a leading network for philanthropic change and advancement. The national board has begun its search for a permanent executive director. In the coming month, we will post a job description and ask all of you for your support in identifying outstanding candidates.
Please join us in thanking Rahsaan for his dedicated service, his numerous accomplishments as our leader, and his never-ending pursuit of justice and equality which has certainly shaped EPIP as a network of action oriented leaders. We wish Rahsaan the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Jasmine Hall Ratliff
Chair, Board of Advisors
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy