Beans & Cornbread: YNPN and EPIP are still talkin’ ’bout power

This post was authored by Trish Tchume, Director of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), and originally appeared on the YNPN Blog.

beansandcornbread-300x200So it’s been about 9 months since you looked in your inbox and checked your Twitter feed, saw the words “Beans and Cornbread” for the first time, and thought:

“What the…?”

Rahsaan and I sent out that note and posted this blog way back when, hoping to take a conversation that had been happening between the leaders of EPIP and YNPN National and put it where it belongs: out into our communities. You’ll remember, we said:


We got such a wide range of responses:

  • Some of you wanted to let us know that you were already building those bridges. (Shout out to all the EPIP/YNPN chapters that are already co-programming, like the Twin Cities chapters working together to build a cross-sector leadership development institute!)
  • But, the VAST majority of folks we heard from wanted to say thanks. You talked about the fact that this issue of power is one that all of us struggle with–sometimes outwardly but often inwardly. And you were grateful for some space to sort it out and actually work through it.

Rahsaan and I were open and have continued to be open about the fact that we didn’t have much of a plan about the best way to create these spaces. Early on we agreed to be reflective and intentional about moving this conversation forward but we also agreed that it was okay to just see what opportunities to build momentum presented themselves.

And some great opportunities did!

At the Network level:

  • We learned via survey that there is great interest and excitement between EPIP and YNPN members to do more co-programming
  • EPIP opened up it’s annual conference to YNPN members in Chicago and invited Trish Tchume to take part. YNPN National selected Rahsaan to give a “Spark Speech” about power dynamics at their annual conference in Phoenix.

Beyond EPIP and YNPN:

  • Trish and Rahsaan were invited to share this conversation with a wider group at the Whitman Institute Retreat in Santa Cruz, CA, where they co-facilitated a workshop discussion about power dynamics in the sector. Turns out younger leaders aren’t the only folks who are ready for this barrier to come down. The workshop included funders, grantees, younger, and older leaders – all of whom are calling for more spaces to work through these issues.
  • Following the Whitman Institute Jess Rimington of One World Youth Project decided to join Rahsaan and I as core organizers to move these conversations forward.

So what’s to come? We know that we need to keep widening this discussion to drill down to what people see as the true barriers and to work with those same folks to identify some workable short term and long term solutions. So our plan for now is to host a mid-sized gathering in New York to expand the conversation.

Where else are you seeing opportunities to address these issues on the ground. Let us know at [email protected] or tweet feedback to #BandC_power. We’ll keep you engaged as well on how these conversations are developing and ways that you can connect to them virtually.

Because (sing it with us) Beans and Cornbread… we go hand in hand!

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