Calendar of Events


2012 EPIP Conference Reflection - Engaging Foundation Stakeholders

Lauren Tulp, our most recent Co-Chair of EPIP Bay Area and Impact Planning and Analysis Associate at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, shares one of her highlighted experiences from this year's EPIP National Conference:

At this year’s EPIP National Conference I had the opportunity to present a workshop called “Do Nothing About Me Without Me: Engaging Stakeholders for Better Results” with two fantastic staff members of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Andy Freeze and Jason Twiss.

During the session, Andy reviewed the results of the GEO 2011 Field Study. The results show that more funders are asking for feedback from stakeholders, but funders aren’t doing more to seek input when it’s particularly impactful—when they make decisions. Potential foundation stakeholders might include grantees, community members and external experts.

Strategies we at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have used to engage stakeholders include:
  • Participating in grantee and staff surveys with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (we recognize staff are key internal stakeholders!)
  • Creating a 10-Year Review with interviews of staff, board members, grantees and experts to inform future decision-making
  • Convening advisory boards of experts and grantees to provide feedback on program strategies
  • Sharing decision-making and funding responsibilities through collaborations such as the Climate and Land Use Alliance and Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Moore Foundation Plant Biology Investigators
  • Using crowdsourcing techniques to poll the scientific community about opportunities to make transformative change through a request for ideas (RFI)

These are great steps, although I think we still have room to do more. Which leads me to another topic we addressed in the workshop—how it can be especially difficult to encourage stakeholder engagement when you’re a junior staff member. During the session, we discussed some of the challenges to convincing others in your organization of the importance of stakeholder engagement and strategies you can use to make change, including asking key questions and helping design effective engagement processes.

Thank you to everyone who attended the session for your great ideas and participation! I was impressed with everyone’s thoughtfulness on this issue and commitment to making philanthropy more responsive and accountable.


2012 EPIP Conference Reflection - Learning Tour: Ports of LA

One of our Steering Committee members, Ginger Hintz, attended the Learning Tour of LA Ports at this year's EPIP National Conference. She shares her reflections here:

Philanthropy is about relationships. I think good philanthropy supports and builds long-term connections. These axioms were reinforced on a learning tour to the San Pedro Bay ports (the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach). Patricia Castellanos, Deputy Director and Director of Ports Project at LAANE, and Angelo Logan, Co-Executive Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, were our guides into a system that most people never see but are affected by every day. It is estimated that over 40% of all international trade comes in and out of the San Pedro Bay Ports. The scale of consumerism and scope of logistics surrounding such a mammoth enterprise was overwhelming as we stood at the top of Knoll Hill and surveyed the industrial landscape.

As we drove to Knob Hill, we took a count of how many trucks we saw on the opposite side of the highway. In the span of only 15 minutes, over 300 trucks passed us. And it was a slow day! As the trucks whizzed by and we drove past the refineries, past residential neighborhoods and tight-knit communities, Angelo and Patricia gave us an overview of the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports. Angelo told us about the impacts of truck traffic and the pollution of the Ports on the communities they drive through, and more importantly in the communities the truck drivers live in. Because of train, truck, shipping, refinery, and other Port activities, the communities that the drivers live in have high rates of asthma and cancer. Patricia told us about how de-regulation classifies the truck drivers as "independent contractors" which keeps wages low and benefits non-existent. The drivers must pay for their own trucks, the maintenance, and other costs that are usually absorbed by the trucking companies. According to one driver we met, he receives $40/load and can transport two loads a day. It is a system that grossly privileges the trucking companies and feeds consumers expectations of cheap goods.

Organizing and empowering truck drivers is a visible intersection of worker and environmental justice. These workers and their communities sustain the economic engine of our goods movement system yet they struggle to support their families. It's an old song that grantees seek long-term funding to sustain the complex social change work we all want to see in the world. Having an opportunity to witness the connections and hear the stories of the organizers, the truck drivers, and the grantees supported this outcome. As we ensure that the voices of communities most impacted by issues of social justice are included in our vision of change, we weave new perspectives into that narrative and that takes sustained commitment to a larger vision.

One of the main reasons I support and participate in the EPIP community is because we value that larger picture. EPIP provides the space to talk and learn about these critical social justice issues. I urge you to think about how you can bring your commitment to supporting strategic and sustainable coalition building like the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports to your own work. We will all benefit from such connections.


Post Event Highlights and Announcing Nicole Puller as New EPIP Bay Area Co-Chair!

A few weeks ago, at our EPIP National Conference Reflection and Social event on May 22 at Cantina, a few members shared their main takeaways from their experience and participation at the EPIP National Conference. One member spoke about the Learning Tour she attended at the Port of Los Angeles, where they discussed the pollution created by the thousands of trucks transporting goods from the Port every day, the labor injustices experienced by the truck drivers, and the grassroots policy efforts happening in the community surrounding the Port to better their neighborhoods. Other members shared thoughts about the "real, honest, and approachable" attitudes of the presenters/panelists, the easy and exciting ways to meet and connect with new peers and continue those connections after the conference, and judgments about celebrity philanthropists were changed for the better.

We were fortunate to have many Bay Area members at the conference and will be posting more stories and highlights from the conference on this blog, so be sure to check back over the following weeks. (Or, sign-up to receive our blog posts via email by entering your email in the appropriate box located on the right-hand column.)

The event at Cantina was also a farewell and celebration for Lauren Tulp who was our Bay Area Co-Chair for the past year. She has provided great leadership and commitment to this chapter and we will miss her very much. We wish her all the best on her next adventure!

Lastly, we are happy to announce that Nicole Puller of Tides is our new EPIP Bay Area Co-Chair and will join fellow Co-Chair, Thuy Kumar and the Steering Committee to continue building a stronger philanthropic community. Please help us welcome Nicole to the executive team!