Everything I needed to know about being a program officer, I learned in Kindergarten

Adapted from "All I really need to know I learned from Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum.

These are the things I've learned:

  • Share everything- Share your successes and mistakes with others from the field, it makes us all better grantmakers.
  • Play fair- Don't use the unequal power dynamics with grantees to your advantage, treat people fairly and even the playing field.
  • Say sorry when you have hurt somebody- Give grantees an explaination when they have gone through your complicated grantmaking process and still receive a no for their funding request, people deserve to know why and it's your job to tell them honestly and kindly.
  • Live a balanced life- learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some- Take time to really enjoy the community that you life in, not just as a funder but as a citizen too.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that- sometimes the best programs can't be explained with a logic model, be open to the wonder of that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the styrofoam cup- they all die. So do we- Leave a legacy by the quality of work that you do in the community.

What other lessons did you learn in kindergarten that are applicable to the work that you do today?