Mid-Year Moment for Reflection

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mid-Year Moment for Reflection

A Message from the President of Philanthropy New York, Ronna Brown, published originally in the New York PhilanthroPost Monthly July 2017 edition.

The conclusion of a holiday weekend celebrating democracy is a particularly good time for just about anybody to take a moment and reflect on both the past and where you want to go next.  For Philanthropy New York, this a time of the year we usually do take stock.  We look back at last year, because we are usually releasing our Annual Report – and we think about the next, having just  concluded our Annual Members Meeting, which typically starts a year of programming on the topic of that meeting. 

Please do look at our 2016 report: Annual Report on 2016: Facts Speak for Themselves

In this year’s report, we are detailing key elements of progress we’ve made toward achieving our strategic goals by focusing on key facts. Knowing that most members use our annual report as a quick reference for seeing what we did in the last year, we highlight some key numbers – how many members we serve in multiple areas, how many convenings we organize, again, in multiple ways and for many different purposes, and how our budget reflects our strategic priorities and vision for the future.
We are using the completion of the period covered by our 2014-2016 Strategic Plan as an opportunity to structure the report around that plan’s goals for member engagement, public policy and institutional sustainability. There is plenty of narrative but the most prominent elements are charts, graphs and statistics that illustrate achieved objectives. A major accomplishment in 2016 was developing a new five-year strategic plan, so the report also gives a nod to the future and shares some of our new directions.

Another time when we take stock is at the Annual Meeting.  There were many terrific moments from our speakers on the day’s topic, “The Power of Participation,” the video and highlights of which are available on our recap page. But one message from the 38th Annual Meeting isn’t captured on that page, because it occurred during the members-only business portion of the meeting, and I want to reinforce it here now.  

Departing PNY Board Chair Phil Li, President of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, gave his remarks on the subject of leadership and the role Philanthropy New York plays in nurturing it within the philanthropic sector. He said:

“Leadership is not a figurehead.  It is not a board of directors. It is not a senior leadership team.  Leadership is not an act of courage or a heroic striving toward greatness leading to a predetermined outcome. Leadership is a daily practice that can and should grow in every department, in every individual, in every Philanthropy New York member-organization. It is a skill set that can and should be nurtured in every individual in our community… I am very proud that, during my tenure as Board Chair, Philanthropy New York has further expanded its already impressive number of opportunities for members to practice and grow their leadership skills… PNY presents countless opportunities for members to learn and practice leadership skills; to take them back to their organizations, share them with colleagues and put them into practice.”

Phil Li’s words are important because he clearly presented PNY’s philosophy about leadership.  It is also apt because it will shortly be time for Philanthropy New York members to sign-up for committees, networks and working groups, each representing an opportunity for leadership.  If you have considered getting involved in PNY committees like the Committee on Membership or the Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy, or professional networks like CEO Roundtables and Young Leaders Breakfast Club, or issue-based working groups like Education Working Group or Funders for Gender Equity, this is a great time to think about how you can get more involved and demonstrate leadership through that involvement.

Keep an eye out for the email from us in August that details how to go about signing up for committees, networks and working groups. If you have questions about any of our committees, networks or working groups, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  We would love to connect you to the leadership opportunity that is right for you.