A Letter from Ronna Brown

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Letter from Ronna Brown

Dear Members,

We are nearly three months into this pandemic. Our hearts go out to those in our membership and in our city and larger community who have suffered in countless ways during these last three months. Those of us not on the frontlines are now moving from a sense of hectic adaptation to coping with the long-term maintenance and management of remote work and living
All of us together – members and PNY staff – have managed the transition to remote collaboration and learning. We have learned just how flexible and adaptable we can all be. And, as we enter into summer and begin planning fall programs, we had to decide whether to continue programming virtually for the remainder of 2020. We will. To reiterate: Philanthropy New York will keep all programming virtual through the end of 2020.
Guided by our values
We decided that in-person events are not the right thing to do for ourselves or for our members. This decision is guided by our organizational values of community, learning, leadership and equity. Keeping our events and convenings virtual is one small way we can show leadership as we also contribute to the health and safety of both our immediate community and the broader New York City community.

As some of you know, the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, our home, has decided not to hold any convenings for the remainder of this year. In the past, we have turned to our members to host events for us, both small and large. Knowing we have other options to hold in-person events, we still needed to make a decision for ourselves about PNY programming.
The virtual convenings we have done so far, and will continue to do for the rest of 2020, focus on ensuring that funders are part of a robust, collaborative learning community, whether you’re funding projects around the corner or across the globe. Making our decision now affords us the time and space to continue to reimagine and redesign our programs for high-impact learning and inclusive community building.
What the months ahead look like
We have made a pivot—but we are not pausing. Programming is ongoing. PNY members are joining forces through numerous issue-based working groups and networks to share real-time information, pool resources and coordinate work. More than 100 of you took part in our latest series, Humanizing Immigration. Hosting critical conversations by webinar is giving us the opportunity to bring in speakers from across the country, which we will keep doing in June with our Policy Core series on supporting advocacy work and into the fall with a renewed equity speaker series.
Open invitation: we want to hear from you
Now is a great time to reach out to me or any of the PNY team. We are starting to plan for fall programming. Let us know: what programs or other virtual convenings do you want to see?
The success of our virtual work over the last three months is a result of the foundation we’ve built together as a community—and I have no doubt we’ll continue to draw upon that strong foundation. I look forward to hearing from you.