By Nathaniel James, Exponent Philanthropy
Over the years, participants in our Next Gen Fellows Program have contributed significantly to their home philanthropies’ work through strategic, programmatic, technological, and communications efforts.
Many fellows go beyond that by contributing expertise, ideas, and observations to Exponent Philanthropy’s community and to the field at large. Next gen leaders have written and been featured in multiple media since we launched our Next Gen Fellows Program in 2013, including over a dozen posts on this blog alone.
We want to share just some of pieces written by our fellows over the years that we feel are just as valuable today as when they were published.
The “Next Gen” Is Not as “Other” as You May Think by Kerry McHugh, The Helen J. Serini Foundation, and Katherine Palms, HP Family Foundation
When you think about next gen engagement, are you asking the right questions?
“Instead of focusing on what makes us “other,” we invite you to focus on what makes us all the same—and then acknowledge that our differences can lead to exciting, innovative work in philanthropy and beyond.”
Smarter Site Visits by Samantha Alarie-Leca, The West Foundation
In 2016, we hosted Truth to Power sessions during the Next Gen Fellows Program and at the National Conference. Nonprofit leaders and next gen participants shared frank, sometimes intense, dialogue about the true costs and benefits of site visits. In this post written the year prior, Sam captures some of those pitfalls and shares approaches to making visits work for both parties.
“You may not actually need to meet the executive director each time you visit. If you want to more deeply understand the program model, then meeting with the program director instead will give you better insights into how programs truly operate.”
5 Tips for New Foundation Staff by Jenna Wachtmann, Ball Brothers Foundation
Jenna offers concrete and clear advice for new foundation employees (of any age). In fact, her pointers are so valuable, foundations with staff may want to include this post in their orientation packets.
“For me, one of the best ways to understand donor intent was to review our foundation’s board meeting minutes, which date back to 1926. Although we no longer have living original donors, the deliberations, concerns, and enthusiasm about various projects voiced by our earliest board members—and documented in the board minutes—provide a good glimpse into their values and giving philosophies. By combining my reading of these board minutes with early letters, family memoirs, and other founding organizational documents, I gained a stronger understanding of the original donors’ priorities, giving practices, and commitments.”
Dear White Folks in Philanthropy: My “Miley, What’s Good?” Moment by Caitlin Duffy, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
I’ll be honest. I had to look up the pop culture reference in the title. But once I got past that, I appreciated Caitlin’s straight talk about equity to her white peers in philanthropy.
“…embrace discomfort and avoid defensiveness… to truly listen and learn.”
If You’re Trying to Save the World, You Better Stick Together by Alexandra Toma, Peace and Security Funders Group (and Exponent Board Member), for Inside Philanthropy
Everyone likes to talk about collaboration and collective impact. In this piece, Alex shares insights that might not occur to someone who has not led as many collaborative efforts as she has.
“… funders should encourage and reward ‘collaboration’ as a discrete budget line item in grant proposals. As many studies have shown and grantees know all too well, collaboration takes a whole lot of time. In fact, having a ‘backbone support organization’ is one of the five necessary conditions for collective impact success.”
Thank you to our Next Gen Fellows Program alumni for all the work you do!
Nathaniel James is a program director at Exponent Philanthropy. He leads the Next Gen Fellows Program and Master Juggler Executive Institute, and manages resources on family philanthropy, effectiveness skills, and transition points.