Collaborating and Connecting at the People of Color Network Gathering

This post was authored by Sharon Rice, Director of Community Relations at and member of EPIP Philadelphia. Sharon attended this year's People of Color Network gathering in Boston. Following are her reflections on the convening. Sharon_Rice

The People of Color Network (PCN) came together for a gathering in Cambridge Massachusetts and, as a member of EPIP Philadelphia, I saw this as an opportunity to connect with more of my peers working in the foundation community. It was an uplifting and inspiring couple of days, and I walked away from the event with one thing on my mind: the science of connection.

Collaborations and connections are, no doubt, the hallmark of this generation and the current trend for business, economics and community development. At the beginning of 2008, we all watched as the world began to change when this generation of change makers took on the challenge of resolving the crisis of scarce resources and limited access. There has been an emergence of thought leaders coming from all walks of life, sharing their experiences and forming partnerships to help advance not just themselves but those around them.

As a member of the nonprofit media community, I currently work for, an online social impact news and resource site based in Philadelphia. I was uncertain how much of my time with EPIP and the PCN gathering would sync with my work. But after the 2 days, I discovered learning from those working directly in philanthropy has a major impact of any work that I choose to do, even if it is not directly in the foundation community.

The tie that binds us all is that philanthropy is not limited to foundations, the well-preserved conservative appearance or a limited picture of leadership that can often exclude many. It is, in fact, an everyday function and one that requires greater knowledge and awareness of what philanthropy once was, how it changed and what its future looks like.

For me, PCN painted a picture that included us all, those in foundations and those supportive of the work, like myself. PCN gave me an opportunity to learn from the people that make philanthropy run every day, and inspired me to think more carefully about how I can participate in the work being done. There is an opportunity for each of us to work together to examine what is holding us back, discuss the potential for innovation and begin the important work to move towards change.

Sharon Rice is the Director of Community Relations at, is a member of the EPIP Philadelphia giving circle committee and is a Philadelphia chapter leader. You can follow Sharon on Twitter @SharonNRice and email her at [email protected].

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