Tuesday, August 18, 2015
by Michael Hamill Remaley, SVP, Public Policy & Communications
This piece was originally published as the feature article for the August 2015 issue of the New York PhilanthroPost Policy Edition.
August is no vacation for our new Public Policy Fellow Stephanie Chrispin. Thanks to our Fund for 2025 donors, Chrispin started in July as the first PNY Public Policy Fellow and will be working full time with us for the next two years. She will be joined by a second fellow next summer, and we’ll have overlapping fellows for the next ten years.
Chrispin dove in headfirst and is swimming fast in breaking waves. In her first week, we immersed her in the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers community by taking her with us to the PolicyWorks Institute in Baltimore. There, she heard about state policy trends from the National Council of Nonprofits’ Tim Delaney and RA leaders from across the nation, in a panel discussion moderated by our own Ronna Brown. Over the two-day conference, she learned about innovative policy initiatives being undertaken by other RAs, heard about the power of data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count leaders and had the opportunity to pose questions about government’s perspectives on philanthropy to David Wilkinson, director of the U.S. Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
“It was exciting to learn how regional associations use their unique role to further philanthropic interests on a state-wide and national level,” Chrispin reported. “PolicyWorks provided me with a great overview of the myriad ways philanthropy and government can work together to influence policymaking to be more inclusive of the social sector.”
Apparently we didn’t scare her off that first week because she came back to the office excited to learn about our issue-based working groups and to begin researching new issue guides. With a career background in medical care and a freshly minted MPA in health policy and finance from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, she is especially excited to help with Philanthropy New York’s Health Policy Working Group and has already begun assisting in the management of that group.
Chrispin’s background and interests are wide-ranging, which will be great for Philanthropy New York as we involve her in all aspects of our public policy work, including education, women and girls, international grantmaking and sectoral concerns like nonprofit overhead. Her background in health services administration and community organizing influenced her passion for health equity, diversity and inclusion in executive leadership, and immigrant rights. Deeply involved in the Filipino-American community, she is also Vice President of Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc (UniPro). Chrispin previously served as Fundraising Director for UniPro, where she established the organization's fundraising and grants management programs. In addition, she currently sits on the board of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Metro New York Chapter.
In between the specific research projects we have her working on, she’s also been checking out all of the websites of member organizations that have them to better understand their specific priorities. It is a major undertaking.
“Philanthropy New York’s membership is as diverse as it is substantial —290 grantmakers thus far!” she said. “Through my research, I’ve had the chance to learn more about organizations I already admired, while also getting introduced to funders doing great work across the spectrum of arts and culture, social justice, and human services. The Fellowship has given me an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge of philanthropy and public policy, especially in issue areas that I’ve had a limited experience in, like Education Reform or Juvenile Justice. I look forward to spending these next two years supporting our members’ work in propelling social change.”
This is a learning year for her and for us. We are very lucky to have an immensely eager and intelligent inaugural fellow, and we are excited to see how much we can accomplish together.