Advancing the Next Generation: EPIP’s Impact on 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. Last week we highlighted 7 ways EPIP provides support and opportunities for emerging leaders in philanthropy. Below we share 6 key findings about EPIP’s impact on the broader field of philanthropy.

1) EPIP’s focus on multigenerationalism has had a positive impact on philanthropy.

  • Ninety-seven percent (97%) of survey respondents reported that as a result of EPIP, there is increased interaction and dialogue between senior and new foundation staff
  • 95% said they believe philanthropy has benefited from EPIP’s efforts to prepare the next generation of leaders.
  • They also reported that young or new foundation staff now have more opportunity to get involved in philanthropy (60%) and that these staff are more active in the field than they were before (50%).

“To the extent that you care about the future of philanthropy, you’ve got to care about the next generation of philanthropic leaders. EPIP represents a group from which the next generation of philanthropic leadership will be drawn.” — Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President, Annie E. Casey Foundation

2) EPIP has expanded professional and leadership development opportunities for emerging practitioners.

  • 60% of survey respondents believed that EPIP increased the opportunities for involvement in philanthropy for young or new foundation staff.
  • Almost all (98%) believed that EPIP has been “somewhat to very effective” in increasing the presence and participation of new, emerging staff at philanthropy conferences and in increasing the number of sessions and workshops for and about younger/new foundation staff at conferences.

“Being part of the EPIP network helped me hone my leadership skills and take risks in my career. I was able to build relationships outside of my region and state and was able to apply those leadership skills not just in my own foundation but on a national scale, which allowed my national network to flourish. — Melissa Johnson, Executive Director, Neighborhood Funders Group


Daniel Lee describes how EPIP helps his employee, Elizabeth Ramirez

3) Employers benefit from EPIP’s contributions to professional development.

  • 75% of EPIP members surveyed reported making positive contributions to their organizations as a result of their involvement with EPIP.
  • This includes becoming more confident in taking on more responsibilities (37%), becoming better able to advocate for issues they feel are important in their foundations (24%), and learning ways to do their jobs more effectively (23%).

“From my perspective as the executive director, our staff who have been engaged with EPIP have brought a capacity for bold vision and for confident and competent leadership.” — Ned Wight, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

4) EPIP brings value to national and regional associations of grantmakers.

  • EPIP has collaborated with a wide range of funder networks, including 11 regional associations of grantmakers (in the locations of all its chapters), national affinity groups, and the Council on Foundations.
  • According to those interviewed, EPIP provides value because these associations can leverage EPIP’s network of next generation leaders, expertise, and infrastructure.

“For affinity groups that want to engage younger and newer foundation staff, it makes sense to partner with EPIP rather than reinvent all the work yourself.”  — Carly Hare, Executive Director, Native Americans in Philanthropy

5) EPIP fills an important need in educating and orienting those new to philanthropy.

  • Many senior leaders and EPIP members interviewed described the need to “demystify” philanthropy and grantmaking work, and to orient those new to philanthropy.
  • This was recognized as an important need that EPIP helps to fill, with several executive directors stating appreciation that their staff has a venue for learning about the field beyond their own institutions.

“Increasing the pipeline of people who are familiar with philanthropy — familiar with how it works, its challenges, and its opportunities — is an important service to the field.  I think it is a great opportunity for philanthropic institutions to pay attention to EPIP, and to make sure that we’re connected with them, and helping them place the people that they’re training.” — Luz Vega Marquis, CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

6) EPIP brings increased attention to social justice philanthropy.

  • About one-third said they feel that there is increased dialogue and awareness in the field about social justice philanthropy as a result of EPIP (36%)
  • 30% reported that as a result of EPIP there is increased attention on racial, gender, and class diversity at foundations.

“The EPIP conference is probably one of the most diverse cross-sections of people that I’ve ever seen in a philanthropic meeting, and social justice philanthropy is integrated into all the sessions. This requires courage and commitment. To see that social justice is front and center at EPIP gives me hope in the next generation of philanthropists.” — Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director, Levi Strauss 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.

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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