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Spotlight on New Grantmakers

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Money is power, and while that requires humility as we wield that power, it also demands us not only to be responsible as we steward foundations funds, but also as we develop and reimagine our practices.These will not be two days of being talked at and taught, they will be two days of deep engagement with the complexities and nuances that come along with being a part of this field." -Kate Seely

This year, Kate Seely designed NCG's 2015 New Grantmakers Institute, a two-day workshop welcoming people to the field. Hear what attendees had to say.

Alie Feldman, Program Assistant, Koret Foundation | Attendee

What did you think about your NGI experience?

The amount of information, opportunity for interaction and space to soak it all in, packed into this two-day workshop is incredible! I left feeling validated in the career that I’ve chosen, clearer in how to approach the day-to-day tasks of my new role, and equipped with tips and tools to map out my career trajectory. Probably the most valuable takeaway, is the connections I’ve made with a community of peers and thought partners in my field.

What was your favorite session?

The closing session with Judy Belk. She had such a clear and digestible tips and tools for us-her enthusiasm for this field and for our newness was intoxicating.

Jim Brown, Program Officer-Grants Manager, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County | Attendee

What did you think about your NGI experience?

This was my second time going through the New Grantmakers Institute, and I have to say it was even better the second time. The presenters shared a great deal of practical experience, but also a lot of heart. The experience left me inspired and excited to return to my work helping make my community a better place.

What were your key takeaways from the two days?

  • Get away from my computer and spend time learning from our grantees.
  • Trust is key, to better relationships, to reducing bureaucratic burdens, and ultimately expanding impact.
  • Build a kitchen cabinet of people in the field you can turn to for support both as friends and mentors.

Jamie Allison-Hope (left), Senior Program Officer, S.H. Cowell Foundation | Presenter and Angie Chen (left), Director, Blue Sky Funders Forum | Presenter

Attending NCG’s New Grantmakers Institute provides a foundation on which to build a career in philanthropy by providing practical insights and introducing attendees to others who will hopefully be their colleagues for a lifetime.

Rebecca Verlaque (right), Program Assistant, Firelight Foundation | Attendee

What did you think about your NGI experience?

As someone very new to philanthropy and grantmaking, the New Grantmakers Institute gave me an excellent foundation to build from! All topics covered- ranging from financial analysis, legal parameters, effective and equal communication, to networking and professional development tips- will be essential for me going forward. Thank you!

What were your key takeaways from the two days?

  • Equal and effective communication with partners is essential (honor the grantee, think about what information your questions are really getting).
  • Legal requirement differences for public vs private foundations was very useful in discerning what my foundation does because of legal obligation vs our organization’s choice.
  • The scope of foundations in the Bay Area is incredible, and NGI was a great introduction to the field and a wonderful network of professionals in our geographic area!

What were your favorite sessions?

My favorite sessions were the “Meet the Grantee” panel, and David Greco’s financial session.

Jeff Tiell, Program Associate, Jim Joseph Foundation | Attendee

What were your key takeaways from the two days?

  • The power of relationships in this business. We need more events and activities around catalyzing robust relationship-building at every level.
  • The power of mentorship in this business. Would like to see more formalized mentor programming.
  • How much of grantmaking is art vs. science. So much of this is based in experience and trial and error. Which is why it is always super educational to have others sharing their wisdom/experiences.
  • Irvine was a terrific host!
  • I think there is a space for a mid-level grantmakers institute … going deeper into some of the themes that we just touched on the surface. Perhaps this could also be just individual workshops,etc.

What was your favorite session?

My favorite session was with Jamie and Angie … their enthusiasm was great. You can tell they love what they do.


Check out the 2015 NGI Resources page to see the presentations!