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This post originally appeared on Next Gen Change Agent, the blog of Nakisha Lewis, the EPIP Boston Co-Chair and Program Manager at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. I grew up in an immigrant community that was steeped in the tradition of collective responsibility where I learned to take care of those around me and to always look for opportunities to support others. In my early years I used my time and talent as an organizer working to transform my community. Now as a philanthropic practitioner I have the privilege of working with foundations and individual donors to support some phenomenal organizations and have come to see firsthand how important it is to financially support the people, issues and movements we care about. And so although I am not independently wealthy, I have developed my own personal philanthropy and am committed to giving to the causes that advance my values.Continue reading
Grantmakers want their grants to support nonprofits missions, but burdensome application and reporting practices get in the way. In fact, the cumulative impact of the philanthropic sector’s requirements undermines nonprofit effectiveness, causing grantseekers to devote too much time to seeking funding (often without payoff) and reporting on grants (often without benefit) to the detriment of their mission-based work.
After five years, Project Streamline – a field-wide effort led by the Grants Managers Network – has taken stock of how far streamlining has come. In a just-released report, Practices That Matter, Project Streamline documents how a lack of feedback and a mismatch between foundation values and practices lead to persistent issues that waste grantseeker time and cause unnecessary aggravation.
The report doesn’t just point out problems – it also suggests streamlining steps that matter most. Find out how well you’re doing by taking the “How Do You Line Up” quiz, and get no-nonsense advice from Ask Dr. Streamline.
(If you are an EPIP member and need access to the free ticket for members only, please email Kate Seely at firstname.lastname@example.org for that. Or find it on my Member Connect profile by clicking here. Once you register on Eventbrite, you will receive a link to access the webinar.)
Join us for our monthly webinar focused this month on Impact Investing. We'll be talking with Catherine Covington of EPIP Bay Area and RSF Social Finance. RSF is a pioneering non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money.
Many of us have heard about “Impact Investing”, but what is the current state of this relatively young field and who is getting their hands dirty in it? What would the philanthropic field look like if foundations’ grant dollars and endowment dollars were distributed and invested using a similar set of values and goals? Foundations have the opportunity to play a critical role in catalyzing the movement of more dollars into the field of impact investing by putting portions of their philanthropic capital, that is, their endowments, into mission-related investments, but this is easier said than done for most foundations. This webinar is for anyone who is curious about the field of impact investing and will include examples of pioneers in the field that will hopefully spark conversations within your own organization!Continue reading
Wit and Wisdom — Foundations and the Fallacy of Post-Racial America: African American Men and Civic Engagement
Post-racial America?! A week before the 2013 @EPIPNational Conference in Chicago, Dr. Emmett Carson was the Clinton Scholar in Residence at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. During that week, he examined the implications of philanthropy's perceptions of a 'post-racial America', and further posits reflections on the civic engagement of African American males. As usual, Dr. Carson's voice challenges colleagues to examine our roles and commitment to authentic social change. Below is an excerpt Dr. Carson's essay, Foundations and the Fallacy of Post-Racial America: African American Men and Civic Engagement. Please read it and share. We are interested in your thoughts.
Of all the questions of discrimination and prejudice that still exist in our society, the most perplexing one is the oldest, and in some ways today, the newest: the problem of race. Can we fulfill the promise of America by embracing all our citizens of all races.… In short, can we become one America in the 21st century?[i]
With these words, former President Bill Clinton announced his intention to lead the American people in “a great and unprecedented conversation about race.” His hope was to create One America in which every citizen, regardless of race, recognizes their shared dreams and has access to equal opportunity. Shared dreams and equal opportunity are the avenues through which citizens become engaged in the civic life of their communities, allowing strangers to become neighbors, strengthening the social fabric of America’s civil society. Without question, the most visible example of the nation’s progress on race relations is the two-term election of President Barack Obama.Continue reading
Conference Reflections: Being a Guest at the Table — Some Reflections from the EPIP National Conference by Steven Strang of YNPN Chicago
This post originally appeared on the YNPN-Chicago Blog.
On April 5th and 6th, I had the pleasure of attending the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) National Conference here in Chicago. The EPIP Executive Director, Rahsaan Harris, invited me to join as one of the Board Chairs of YNPN Chicago. I was very excited about participating in this event because of the insights I would gain from future philanthropic leaders and the new information I could share with the YNPN member base to build our programming and partners.
For those of you not familiar with EPIP, they are a similar in purpose to YNPN although their programming is specific for up and coming leadership in the philanthropic sector. Currently, there is not a chapter in Chicago but there was an announcement that they are going to explore that option this year. Very exciting!
Here are three main take-a-ways/reflections as “The Mole” for the nonprofit sector:Continue reading
This post is authored by Paul Bachleitner, the Joint Affinity Group Project Director, as a part of the EPIP-JAG blogging partnership "Wit and Wisdom."
It’s dreadfully easy to get lost beneath the big tent of the Council’s annual conference. This is one reason why the JAG partners and other affinity groups like EPIP hold their conferences before, during, and afterwards. We help you recharge your racial and social justice mojo.
But if you don’t have a stout boat to navigate the flood of activities, they can soak you like a philanthropalooza tsunami. How do you ride the wave?
It’s exciting to be sure. But staying on top of the constant stream of activities and multiple locations can be challenging.Continue reading
The following is written by Elizabeth Kidd, Steering Committee Co-Chair of the EPIP-Michigan Chapter, and staff at the Community Foundation for the Holland/Zeeland Area.
Moving up on the proverbial career ladder is a frequent topic of conversation among young professionals in any field; the philanthropic/social change sector is certainly no exception. We analyze potential next steps, lament the often limited options for upward mobility, confess our fears that we might be stagnating, and celebrate when we ourselves or our colleagues have opportunities to move up. However as I talked with other participants at the 2013 EPIP National Conference and listened to them describe the work they were doing, I was struck by how woefully inadequate the career ladder metaphor is to capture the many valuable ways we can and do move professionally – particularly in the field of philanthropy.Continue reading
Learn how your organization can evaluate more strategically in a short webinar this May 2nd (free for EPIP members)
(To register for this webinar, email Kate Seely at Kate@epip.org for the registration link as this webinar is restricted to EPIP members.)
EPIP in partnership with the American Evaluation Association (AEA) is offering EPIP members free access to the Coffee Break webinar "Evaluate More Strategically" on Thursday May 2nd from 2:00 pm to 2:20 pm ET. The webinar will be presented by Efrain Gutierrez from FSG, also Steering Committee member of the Seattle EPIP chapter.
There is an emerging trend in the philanthropic sector toward being more deliberate about the intersection of strategy and evaluation. Foundations and nonprofits are being more intentional about learning from their work by evaluating their programs and initiatives, but often lack an overarching structure that brings evaluation activities together into a comprehensive strategy. This webinar will explain one solution - the concept of Strategic Learning and Evaluation Systems. They describe learning in terms of "why", "how", "when", and "by and with whom", and determine to what extent various programs, initiatives, processes, or policies will be evaluated and with what resources.
If you are interested in attending, email Kate Seely at email@example.com for the registration link.
AEA Coffee Breaks are a series of short coffee-break-length demonstrations of 20-minutes each that introduce tools of use to evaluators. These demonstrations are free for AEA members.
Efrain Gutierrez works for FSG, a nonprofit consulting firm that specializes in helping foundations, nonprofits, and corporations develop solutions to the world most challenging social issues.
The 2013 EPIP National Conference included an awards ceremony. The EPIP Unity Award, which honors the chapter that has grown the most over the past year, went to EPIP Hawai'i, recognized as a chapter at the 2012 National Conference in Los Angeles. During the awards ceremony, Kevin Chang of the EPIP Hawai'i chapter and Executive Director of the Hawai'i Community Stewardship Network, sang and played the song Hawai'i 78. The following is a series of excerpts from a letter he wrote to the EPIP staff.
Mahalo nui (big thank you) for including a sense of Hawaiʻi in your conference and for the opportunity to share a song. For all you knew I was going to do my best Jerry Lewis impersonation so I appreciate the trust you had in us. Although, since Jerry Lewis was a philanthropist, too, maybe it would have gone over quite well! I wanted you to know that my EPIP Hawaiʻi Chapter friends work hard to bring people together here at home to tackle the wicked issues of our time. It was important to us to express that we are not just an island but part of a larger context and we have role to play.
The phrase that makes up the song we presented –“Hawaiʻi 78 “- is for some of our community a veiled kāhea (or call) of independence, the chorus: "Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono"- our state motto: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”- relates to a time in history when the Native Hawaiian community had regained control of their destiny.Continue reading
Priding itself as a space that supports innovation in philanthropy, this year’s EPIP Annual Conference, LEAD!, did not disappoint in the range and depth of knowledge explored. There are three major points addressed during the conference that serve as great takeaways for attendees and the EPIP members unable to attend.
Breaking silos. Throughout the conference there were many references to silos that block resources, connections, and opportunities to various communities. This year’s EPIP Conference made strides to not only address these silos but to ensure that the conversation help the next generation of leaders in philanthropy break those silos. From the lunch Plenary Session on Thursday, April 4th that exchanged ideas on how foundations can think outside of the box, to the honest and candid, “The Personal is Political: Race, Class, and Gender as Ongoing Conversation” and, “‘Doing Good’ in the Twenty-First Century” concurrent sessions, the conversations to create action tools included an emphasis on expanding allies for your work and thinking with a cross sectored mindset for how to combat these silos were a stride in the right direction as a philanthropic community.Continue reading