What are you thankful for in philanthropy this holiday season?

Written by: Jack Rome

Date: November 30, 2016

A lot is going on at NCRP. Between the brand new Strategic Framework, the upcoming fall edition of Responsive Philanthropy and our new website, it can be hard to find time for reflection. But at NCRP, we know how important it is to have time to reflect on our work and lives. With the holiday season in full swing, I posed this question to NCRP staff:

What is something you are thankful for in your work in philanthropy? How has this thing, concept, experience or person helped you in your own development as an advocate and person?

As a recent college graduate, new employee at NCRP and new addition to the sector, I have a lot of change coming my way. I face plenty of uncertainty and unanswered questions about my future, but I can confidently say that I am so thankful for this opportunity I have to work at NCRP. As the communications intern, I get to use my skills and knowledge every single day, assisting with work that aligns with my values. The fact that I can feel good about how I spend my time gives me a necessary sense of security with myself. Even if I don’t have it all figured out and even if I can’t yet articulate the end of this long and confusing transition from college, I feel incredibly thankful to be able to use my time for a worthwhile endeavor. So thank you NCRP, thank you to my colleagues and thank you to everyone for making this work possible.

Responses from other NCRP employees are below:

“Philanthropy provides an opportunity for each of us to be aware of our privileges and our personal and collective power. Despite the challenges we face, each of us has the ability to give something, monetary or otherwise, to improve our communities. It may be our time; it may be influence in our relationships. And it may in fact be money. Regardless we are all stronger when each of us becomes aware of what we have to offer, and then shares it with others in the ways that have the most impact. We become more grateful for what we have when we recognize that we have enough to give away and to keep. This is true as individuals, and it’s true for philanthropic institutions who can leverage a range of resources, including finances, to address the root causes of problems in our society.”

           — Jeanné Isler, Vice President of Learning and Engagement

“I am grateful for those in philanthropy taking the brave step to confront personal or institutional class and/or race privilege in an effort to advance equity. Especially individuals who have been willing to talk openly about this humbling journey, whether through a blog or at a conference.  Some that come to mind are Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, who are Putting Racism on the Table; The Colorado Trust, which replaced its program officers with community organizers in a shift to funding resident-led initiatives; and several Oregon funders, including Meyer Memorial Trust, which has overhauled grantmaking to become more responsive to communities of color, Northwest Health Foundation, which this year publicly shared its learning journey around ableism and disability, and The Oregon Community Foundation, which has made a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and is striving earnestly to embody that commitment in the face of ongoing criticism from numerous leaders of color. I am also grateful to Gita Gulati-Partee and Caitlin Duffy, who have both given me a lot of food for thought about what it means for me personally to be a white woman trying to advance equity.”

          — Lisa Ranghelli, Senior Director of Assessment and Special Projects

“My understanding of race and racism as a white person grew a good deal in 2016 thanks to some amazing folks in DC. The Washington Peace Center and local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice organized fantastic workshops and direct actions, and I was strongly impacted by an Undoing Racism workshop given by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and hosted by Service to Justice. I’ve also learned much from my fellow board members at the Diverse City Fund and from participation in the Putting Racism on the Table series organized by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. And after such an anxiety-ridden and hate-filled election year, I’m grateful for the healing and energizing spaces I found at the conferences held by Neighborhood Funders Group, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Race Forward.”

           — Caitlin Duffy, Senior Associate for Learning and Engagement


Jack Rome is a communications intern at NCRP. Follow @NCRP on Twitter.