Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 8:00am to Friday, February 5, 2016 - 5:00pm EST
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
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Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers (ESS) provides an introduction to grantmaking and philanthropy for program officers with less than two years of experience in the philanthropic sector.

The three day course will help newcomers build a framework for understanding and implementing ethical and effective grantmaking.

Through highly interactive sessions, you will engage with your peers around opportunities and challenges of the work, such as identifying key factors in making funding decisions, and expectations and core tensions of your role as foundation staff.

Curriculum & Faculty

Navigating Legal & Ethical Issues

  • Pam Foster, Managing Director, Program Operations & Associate General Counsel, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Kelly Shipp Simone, Associate Counsel, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Making Sound Funding Recommendations and Communicating Funding Recommendations & Decisions

  • Molly Schultz Hafid, Assistant Director, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Evaluation and Learning

  • Bess Rothenberg, Deputy Director of Research & Evaluation, Wellspring Advisors LLC
  • Tamara Fox, Director of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

Maximizing Grant Impact

  • Chris Cardona, Program Officer, Philanthropy, Ford Foundation
  • Kavitha Mediratta, Chief Strategy Advisor, Equity Initiatives & Human Capital Development, The Atlantic Philanthropies

Personal and Professional Excellence

  • George Suttles, Vice President, Foundation Officer, U.S. Trust

(Since PNY offers an extensive course on financial due diligence each spring, this course will not cover financial due diligence.)

Program Schedule

  • Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 9:00 to 11:00 AM
  • Friday, January 22, 2016 - 
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

 (Snow date: Monday, January 25)
  • Friday, January 29, 2016  - 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

 (Snow date: Monday, February 1)
  • Friday, February 5, 2016 
- 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (includes closing reception) (Snow date: Monday, February 8)

Please note: Participation in all events is mandatory. Please hold the scheduled dates and snow dates on your calendar.


  1. ESS is open to program officers and directors with less than two years of philanthropic experience who have the following responsibilities:
    • Programmatic due diligence of potential grants (i.e., proposal review, site visits)
    • Communicate funding recommendations and decisions to foundation stakeholders (i.e., CEO and/or Board, grantees)
    • Assessment of grant performance and evaluation of grantmaking portfolio
  2. Participants are required to submit a Statement of Support from a supervisor, as this program requires significant time out of the office.
  3. Please apply only if grantmaking is the core component of your position as the curriculum focuses almost exclusively on grantmaking.
  4. Given the high demand for this program, ESS is only open to Philanthropy New York members.

Application Process

  • Please click on the "Apply Now" link above to sumbit your application.
  • Applications will be accepted from November 16, 2015 to December 14, 2015.
  • In order to apply, you must meet all eligibility requirements. Please review these carefully.
  • Once you have applied, please ensure that your supervisor submits a brief statement support indicating his/her support of your application via the link provided on the application. (If selected, you will be out of the office the morning of January 21st and all day on January 22nd, January 30th, and February 5th, 2016.)

Applications and statements of support must be received by December 14th.

We will follow-up with all applicants by December 16 regarding participation in the program

Space is limited to 25 individuals.  (We will limit participation per organization in order to accommodate as many member organizations as we can.)

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