EPIP Perspectives and the New Philanthropy

Check out this perspective from EPIP member and leader, Beth Herz of the Surdna Foundation:

In the weeks following the election, commentators across the political spectrum took note of the evolving face of the voting public. News analysts observed the high turnout among people of color and young people. I heard one reflect: “This is the America of today. The voters who really turned out and turned out enthusiastically – the electorate – was a different electorate,” dubbing this group “the electorate of the new America.” As pundits noted these evolving characteristics of the American public, many seemed awed.

At EPIP, we weren’t surprised.

This new reality goes beyond the voting public to the evolving make-up of the country. And it’s quite familiar to us: we see it represented regularly at local and national EPIP events – events where we discuss philanthropy, nonprofits, and how we’re investing, day to day, in our communities.

Voting, for those of us who currently have the right, is one way we take action to make improvements in our communities. We vote to effect change on issues that we care about – whether the economy immigration, education, health, the environment, or others. It’s a powerful tool for voicing our beliefs. But, of course, across the country, change makers work year-round on the issues that matter in their communities. For them, civic engagement isn’t a one-off event. They don’t stop on Election Day.

EPIP, a network that connects many of those thinkers and advocates, has been bringing together diverse new leaders and fresh ideas in philanthropy and public service for more than ten years. Like the new American electorate, we are multiracial and multi-generational, we come from varied backgrounds, economic strata, and places, and we span a range of interest areas.

As the country heads into a new presidential term facing pressing social and environmental challenges, I believe that we need a coalition of leaders that comes from and reflects our diverse population. That’s why I’m heartened when I attend an EPIP conference and see a crowd of professionals that represents this reality.

While the “new electorate” came out in droves last month, the New Philanthropy was already in full force – and we are continuing to take action the other 364 days of the year.


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