EPIP Provides Support and Opportunity for Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy

Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference (and many of the pre-conference events) in Philadelphia with the help of a blog team.  This is a joint post by Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.

by:  Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Rusty Stahl

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) is an affinity group of the Council on Foundations. Its mission is to develop extraordinary new leaders to enhance organized philanthropy and its impact on communities. EPIP released the findings of it’s 2011 Impact Assessment, in conjunction with its 10th anniversary and national conference held in Philadelphia.  Below we share the first of two blog posts: 7 key findings about how EPIP has provided support, opportunity, and leadership development for emerging leaders in philanthropy.  Next week we will share 6 ways EPIP has impacted the field of philanthropy.

1) Emerging leaders have benefited from EPIP’s efforts to connect new and experienced leaders in philanthropy.  Almost all survey respondents (92%) reported that they have personally experienced EPIP’s efforts to facilitate generational change, primarily by participating in forums and events that bring together established and emerging leaders in philanthropy.

Nick Scheibel explains the benefits of peer networking in EPIP

2) EPIP members value peer learning and networks gained through EPIP. Two-thirds (64%) of members surveyed reported that as a result of relationships they developed through EPIP, they are participating in new professional development activities. Half  (50%–54%) have met people they can turn to for help in performing their jobs well and regarding being underrepresented in the field.

“I’ve gotten to know so many different people in the field through EPIP. EPIP provides an amazing platform and network to new people in the field, irrespective of age.”  — Rohit Burman, Director of the Culture and Public Broadcasting Program at the Metlife Foundation

3) EPIP supports leadership development early in careers. Many members interviewed described how EPIP provided unique venues to learn, practice, and advance their leadership early in their careers. This included opportunities to propose and lead sessions at conferences, plan events, serve on steering committees, and lead chapters. Senior philanthropy leaders also noted that EPIP provides an important “alternative route to high engagement” for emerging leaders.

“EPIP has done a lot to strengthen a pipeline of leaders into and moving up through philanthropy by giving people mentoring opportunities, confidence boosters, and the chance to develop skills like serving on boards, public speaking, or social justice thinking.”  — Caroline Altman Smith, Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation

4) Participants use the knowledge, skills, and networks developed through EPIP to improve their job performance. 70% of all survey respondents who had been involved in EPIP longer than one year said that as a result of their involvement in EPIP they had established new professional relationships that have been beneficial to their work. Half (56%) described positive changes at their jobs as a result of their involvement in EPIP, including now seeing themselves as leaders in their field (26%) and improving their job performance (22%).

“We moved to a simpler grant process after I attended an EPIP conference, and that has improved our relationship with grantseekers.  — Survey respondent

5) EPIP helps members stay engaged in and advance their careers in philanthropy. Members interviewed described how involvement in EPIP helped reduce their feelings of isolation and helped them make critical choices related to staying in the field and charting their career paths.

“It was definitely motivating, inspiring, and compelling to be able to talk to others in the EPIP network when I was considering taking my first job in philanthropy.” — Christi Tran, Program Officer, Blue Shield of California Foundation

6) Participants value that EPIP is run by and for emerging leaders. Almost all (92%) of survey respondents reported that EPIP is different from other foundation associations they have been involved in, and this is primarily because it is run by and for young people (75%).

Jasmine Hall Ratliff describes how EPIP helps younger staff learn from experienced leaders in philanthropy.

7) EPIP helps grantmakers connect their daily work to broader social change. Among all survey respondents, 30% reported that they believe that since becoming involved with EPIP they can connect the ideal of social justice philanthropy to their daily job responsibilities. Sixty-four percent (64%) of members surveyed indicated that as a result of people they met through EPIP, they have established professional relationships with people with similar commitments to social justice philanthropy.

“I think a lot of people are equipped with tools to have better conversations about social justice philanthropy and being effective grantmakers, as a result of EPIP.” — Sylvia Spivey, Development & Scholarship Associate, The Philadelphia Foundation

EPIP’s 2011 Impact Assessment was conducted by Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc. It included a national survey of EPIP members, alumni, prospective members, and partners; in-depth interviews with 12 active members and 10 senior philanthropy leaders who have partnered with EPIP; and a review of existing EPIP data and documents. To learn more about EPIP’s impact you can read the full report.