The Philanthropy 101 series was designed for an audience new to the philanthropic sector. For the fifth module on power, the facilitators pushed participants to think beyond power in a grantmaking role. The session thus concentrated on navigating power within the foundation and professional and personal networks - for example, how it is that when you have Philanthropy or Foundation after your name and title, your acquaintances and/or friends automatically think you have power, even if you are not in a grantmaking role (e.g., communications, finance, administration). Within your foundation, you also have various levels of power (or are perceived to have power) with different colleagues/teams.
The facilitators shared their experiences of managing self, their various roles within their foundations and within the system. Because there were a wide range of professionals new to the philanthropic sector represented in the room (operations, communications, finance, human resources, administration, and program), it helped that we shifted away from “power over nonprofits."
In this interview, Nicole Thomas of Citi Foundation, talks about how she is re-thinking power after attending the Philanthropy 101 series at Philanthropy New York.