Great Next Generation Training Opportunity

Emerging Practicioners in Philanthropy is one of my favorite groups and one of my frustrations with the Next Gen track at the Council on Foundations conference last year was that too many of the Next Gen sessions were at the same time, so you couldn't attend the full track. This year EPIP is addressing that concern by hosting an amazing pre-conference for the next geners. From EPIP:


The Place of the Next Generation in Philanthropy


A High-Value, Low-Cost Training for the Next Generation of Foundation Leaders

Preceding the Council on Foundations 60th Annual Conference


In these economic times, investing in the next generation of foundation talent remains a critical strategy for sustaining the legacy and innovation of our field. Yet, for understandable reasons, professional development budgets are being slashed. In response, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) is pleased to provide a new type of training that is highly affordable and offers a unique value proposition for foundation professionals and trustees in the under-40 demographic. This two day pre-conference offers in-depth skill-building workshops from some of the premiere educators in our field such as GrantCraft; semi-structured intergenerational learning featuring esteemed foundation CEOs and leaders; and personalized career services from This pre-conference is being held in partnership with the Council on Foundations, Resource Generation, and 21/64.


Separate registration is highly affordable at $200 per person, with a $150 discount rate for dues-paying EPIP members. Scholarships will be available for dues-paying EPIP members, including from the Professional Development Fund, which supports conference travel for young foundation professionals of color. Email to request scholarship information. Under-employed foundation professionals, as well as those from public foundations, are encouraged to apply for scholarships. With a start-time after lunch Saturday and adjournment Sunday afternoon, participants need not miss work days and will only need one hotel night. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the Council on Foundations 60th Annual Conference. Atlanta-based colleagues are strongly encouraged to attend. Information and registration is available on the website here. Online registration is reached directly here.

Is diversity philanthropy's Achilles' heel?

Diversity has long been as issue in philanthropy. One of the earlier examples was the courageous African American foundation staff that decided in 1971 to propose an all Black slate of new members for the Council on Foundations board of directors in protest of the foundation world's racial exclusiveness. As a result of that act 5 African American members were added to the board and ABFE was created and became the first Council on Foundations' affinity group. This is painful work that puts individual foundation staff members at risk but also creates important change in the sector. Fast forward 37 years to the Council on Foundation's conference in DC , where the organization was having its first conference plenary session on diversity. I find it a little bit shocking that in COF's 59 year history that there has never been a time where the organization felt like the entire membership would benefit from a session on diversity but I digress.

The session was an opportunity for council members and a California congressman to debate the merits of recent legislation in California that would require a small percentage of large California foundation to report the race and gender of grantees, staff members, and board members. I'd like to start by saying that the government doesn't really have the moral high ground on this issue, given the extreme lack of diversity in public office. Foundations aren't squeaky clean on this either since most changes related to this issue have happened because of mass protest (ala ABFE) or legislation (ala the California law).

There were a variety of perspectives on the panel from "diversity improves the quality of our grantmaking" to "you can't force us to have "others" on the board". Watching the panel in action was a painful reminder that we have a long way to go until there is true equality in philanthropy and some of that journey to equality will be voluntary and a part of that journey may need to be legislated. A summary of the session is available here.

What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of legislation related to diversity? Is it needed? Is it overkill? Do foundations need diverse staff members to make grants in diverse communities?

'Millennials and the Moment'

Entering the 'Millennials and the Moment' session, I scanned the room and noticed a much wider and well-distributed range of generations in the crowd. After a few days milling around in the Gaylord, I realized that I now recognized many in the once-indiscernible herd of philanthropists.

The panelists Cassie, Eddie, Andrew, and Carmen maturely reflected on their leadership experiences. Particularly striking points below:

  • Cassie started Campus Climate Challenge and hosted a conference of over 6,000 environmentalists featuring Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
  • Eddie started an organization for improvement of public housing in Oregon - at the age of twenty.
  • Andrew, a young City Councilperson from Tallahassee, wanted more opportunity to network with other young elected officials so he started an organization that now serves over 400 young elected officials.
  • Carmen is the Vice President of USSA a student-led and -run organization that advocates for educational equality.

Other than talking about their specific experiences, the students made the salient point that ours is the most diverse generation in US history and that it is up to us to reverse the polarization perpetuated by past generations.

Philanthropy 2.0

I'm blogging live from the philathropy 2.0 event sponsored by the Case Foundation, EPIP, and 3rd Wave. Packed, hot, techie. About to break a sweat hot.

Just a quick observation. In today's session on faith and feminism, the director of the Women's Funding Network, Chris, pushed me to present my small group's discussion points. Although the rest of the group urged her to speak, she clearly indicated that she wanted me to present because I am an emerging voice in the feminist movement.

This is not the only time this has happened. Today, in the session I co-designed, Luz gave way to Charles and Trista to allow them airtime. This level of collegiality and respect for the voices of young people in philanthropy is new to me. Just by creating it as a focus area of the summit and by hearing leadership frame the conference on Sunday, people are already taking action.

We are not just here to learn, existing leadership is not just here to teach. It is an exchange.

Social Justice Philanthropy: Where is the Movement?

On the heels of what will be one of the biggest gatherings in a long time of established foundations in the U.S., the field of philanthropy continues to be called into question. Where are philanthropic dollars going? Who are philanthropic dollars benefiting? Is change a real goal of these dollars? If so, what does that change look like?

The Council on Foundations is kicking off its annual conference in a big way on Sunday, May 4th, just a heartbeat away from America’s capital at the Gaylord National Resort on the National Harbor in Maryland. “Philanthropy’s Vision: A Leadership Summit,” is intended to attract many of the philanthropic leaders that help to shape the future of philanthropy. With new and interesting tracks on issues like diversity and inclusiveness, generational leadership, and rural philanthropy, it appears that this conference may broach the conversation and many values of social change in a way that has never been seen before.

But for those CEO’s, program officers, thought leaders in the philanthropic field who think, work, fund, and behave in ways that always embrace social justice values, they are not so sure how deep conversations may go. In an effort to maximize the seemingly prime opportunity to take advantage of issues like diversity, community change, and looking beyond to the next generation, the Social Justice Philanthropy Collaborative is holding a reception to help organize like-minded leaders in the field. This reception will help individuals NAVIGATE the conference, BUILD relationships and commitment, and STRENGHTEN the network of progressive funders and allies.

At a time where societal change is outpacing the ability to respond alone to community needs, it is imperative that every foundation and organization working within the field of philanthropy come together to network, strategize, and build collaborative action to truly achieve real change. This reception marks a pivotal moment of reinvigorating the movement.

So, in a hallway near you, COF participants, look for folks with the buttons, the stress balls, the candy, and the social justice guide to navigating this Summit so you can see where the movement is.

Go to for more information!

Special Guest Blogger Melissa Johnson, Field Director
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)