Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 (All day) to Friday, February 3, 2017 (All day)
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
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* The 2017 ESS class is full. We offer ESS annually each January. *

Tools and Techniques for Effective Practice

Philanthropy New York's Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers (with a new curriculum for 2017!) orients new program officers and directors to their role as funders. This three-day intensive course helps philanthropy newcomers build a framework for understanding and implementing ethical and effective grantmaking. It is a part of our PNY Core offerings.

The program prepares program officers and directors for the “science” of philanthropy – offering training on the tools and skills to be effective grantmakers and philanthropy professionals overall. Through highly interactive sessions with peers, it also offers strategies for managing the “art” of philanthropy – building participant intuitive skills that bring greater clarity regarding their role and help build self-awareness of their unique contributions within the larger sphere of social change.

We intentionally keep the class size small (20 – 25 participants) so attendees can build relationships with peers and develop a peer learning framework that will enhance their practice going forward.

Intended Outcomes

Upon completing ESS, participants will be able to employ tools and skills learned to:

  • Discuss philanthropy’s role in the social change ecosystem
  • Respond to legal and ethical issues
  • Make sound funding recommendations
  • Communicate effectively as directors and program officers
  • Discuss evaluation and learning methods used in philanthropy
  • Recognize variables that help or hinder capacity to maximize grant impact
  • Apply reflective practice in their philanthropy careers, which includes:
    • A personal strategy: how to recognize and analyze the interplay between role, self and the systems context
    • Relationship building: how to approach and grow relationships authentically, with colleagues in philanthropy and with grantees

(Since PNY offers an extensive financial series, this course will not cover financial analysis.)

    Program Schedule

    • Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 12:15 to 2:15 PM
    • Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

 (Snow date: Monday, January 23)
    • Friday, January 27, 2017 - 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

 (Snow date: Monday, January 30)
    • Friday, February 3, 2017 
- 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (includes closing reception) (Snow date: Monday, February 6)

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


    1. ESS is designed for and open to program officers and directors with less than three years of experience in the philanthropic sector and 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

    • Application period is now closed. (Applications were accepted from November 22, 2016 to December 16, 2016.)
    • There are two components to the application:
      • Candidate application
      • Supervisor statement of support
    • Both must be received by Friday, December 16, 2016.
    • 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.

    We will follow-up with all applicants by December 21 regarding participation in the program

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