I looked forward to attending CEP’s Stronger Philanthropy conference, which took place in Minneapolis earlier this month. As a former capacity builder, I arrived at the conference hoping to learn more about the thoughtful application of values to practice. When I worked with nonprofits prior to my current role, it felt as if the skills required to support effective organizations could be learned with practice, but that the theory behind how funders made decisions was less accessible.
I received amazing advice throughout the week, which quickly emerged as the conference’s underlying theme. Small phrases and frank moments of pause are what I have carried with me, and I thought I’d share two of them here — for both those who missed them and those who, like me, were taken by them.
1: For the true leader, it is not about you, but it is all about you. Be you.
I so appreciated the simplicity of Grant’s advice. He implored the group to remember that we are not the ones at risk of many of the problems we try to solve, but that our approaches to finding answers are very much reflective of who we are. Understanding that the needs of the sector exist independent of us — but that our personal journeys inform its efficacy — helped shape my understanding of how to stay open to strategies and opinions that may differ from my own.
2. Don’t get comfortable.
Sessions I attended underscored a need to pay more attention to the process of grantmaking than to the outcomes, but with an urgency to act now. In one session, a panelist suggested that the “luxury of strategy is gone; the framework for action is good enough for now.”
Read the full article about stronger philanthropy by Jasmine Sudarkasa at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.
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