I am one of the fortunate recipients of a Stay in LA scholarship, a partnership between Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) and the Council on Foundations to allow Next Gens and emerging leaders (the new affectionate term for young people) to attend the two organizations’ annual conferences in Los Angeles. Both were invaluable experiences and I am going back to the Seattle International Foundation inspired and reenergized to do more for the communities we serve through our grantmaking.
As a young woman in a sector comprised of accomplished and seasoned leaders, it is undoubtedly daunting to walk into a conference of 1,300 people who have just a few years on me in the dynamic field of philanthropy. This scholarship allowed me to stay in L.A. for both events, but most importantly it showed me that young leaders in this field are not the next generation. They are this generation, and we must come together with veteran leaders in the field to change the way philanthropy is carried out today and in the future.
There were a few different “aha moments” for me throughout my time in L.A.—moments where I said to myself: “Gosh, I can relate to that,” “This sector has so much potential to create greater social change,” or “I cannot wait to sit down and discuss that with my team back in Seattle.” Rather than string all of those moments together, I’m going for bullet-point route because these grant applications aren’t going to read themselves. After six days of conferencing, I need to get back to work!
The following statements were bold, yet simple. They were concrete reminders of how far this field has come and how much further we have yet to go. These sound bites are summaries of what I heard in sessions and observed on the Twitter feeds.
I want to give a big thanks to the Council and EPIP for my Stay in LA scholarship—it was an invaluable experience to be able to attend both conferences. More importantly, it was fantastic to meet with leaders in the field who have a great deal to share with Next Gen-ers like me, but who are open to learning from us Next Gen-ers, too!
Michele Frix is the Program Officer at the Seattle International Foundation.