Think back to your first day of kindergarten. Many of us may recall the nervous anticipation of walking into a classroom full of strangers. A natural response, which probably diminished once you introduced yourself. With the words “Hi, my name is Magnolia. What’s yours?” you successfully navigated your first networking event.
We’ve all heard the common phrase, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” We would argue, that it’s not who you know, but who knows you—your passions and what you care about. The value of networking is more in the quality versus the quantity of the connections you make. Being able to connect with individuals on a personal and professional level will ultimately provide you with a more authentic network.
With that in mind, we would like to introduce ourselves:
“Hi, we’re EPIP. What’s your name?”
We’ve been around for a while, but you may not have heard of us yet and we want to change that. As a group of up-and-coming leaders in the field of philanthropy we aim to create a networking space in both informal and formal capacities, either through professional and leadership development opportunities or through social events. We are passionate about understanding trends within the philanthropic and nonprofit sector, uncovering ways to work better as grantmakers, and establishing ourselves within a growing field.
Our goal is to be the go-to source for those who want to know more about the field of philanthropy. To that end, over the last year, we’ve hosted a series of events that aim to reach all levels of philanthropic practitioners (emerging and emerged). Here are some highlights:
- Breakfast discussions on philanthropic trends to encourage knowledge sharing
- Leadership salons, including one with Angela Brown of the Hyams Foundation, to learn from local leaders
- Panel discussions, including one with the focus on “More Than Money: Philanthropy for Social Change,” which explored different philanthropic institutions and giving strategies
Several initiatives that we have piloted over the past two years aim to continue conversations that are happening within the sector in a safe space where questions are encouraged and opinions are shared. EPIPhany groups, or communities of practice, are based on different topics, including Arts and Education, Career-Peers (for individuals who are at a similar level within their careers), and Work/Life balance (specifically for new parents in the sector). In addition, we host various events throughout the year to give EPIP members relaxed ways to connect and expand their networks, either through happy hours or through our annual open house.
According to Wikipedia, philanthropy by translation means "love of humanity" in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing "what it is to be human." We’re all human, so we can all be philanthropic. By enabling and encouraging a network of new or still emerging practitioners in the philanthropic sector, our hope is that with each year more understanding and knowledge is shared in an effort to produce the next generation of leaders in this field. EPIP aims to produce a quality network that cultivates and encourages its constituents to work towards improving themselves and the philanthropic sector, but we are just one of many affinity groups that want to build towards a better and more impactful sector.
Now that you know us, we want to know you. Please reach out to us if you have programming ideas, thoughts on how we can reach potential members, or just want to create your own network.
Caitlin Fisher is the Deputy Director of the Prime Movers Program of Hunts Alternative. She is co-chair of the Boston chapter of EPIP and sits on the EPIP National board.
Sarah Grosvenor is a Program Officer at Mott Philanthropic, a consulting firm that staffs family foundations. She also serves as co-chair of the Boston chapter of EPIP.