Working for one of the largest private foundations in the Rocky Mountain West is an interesting way to get your start in the nonprofit sector. Instead of cultivating relationships with donors or recruiting volunteers, we spend our time reviewing grants and studying the impact Foundation dollars have on a community. However, one of the things that I am most grateful for in the Fellowship is that our professional development is not confined solely to the grantmaking side of the sector. We actually do have the chance to experience the nonprofit world from all angles—and this pays off. (more…)
Archive for May, 2011
When Theo Gregory was a youngster, he distinctly remembers a moment that helped put him on a path to success. His mom pointed to a door. He walked through. It doesn’t get much more symbolic than that. This door was in South Carolina. It said ‘Men” on the front. There were two other options. He wouldn’t have gone in the one marked “Women.” But he could have gone, like so many others, through the one labeled “Colored.”
El Pomar Foundation will welcome ten college students over the next few weeks as participants in the 2011 Internship Program. Internship Director Mariah Golden welcomed the first intern on Monday and is eagerly awaiting the others’ arrivals. Over the course of the summer they will assist the foundation with a variety of programs and departments. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the projects they will be working on with interns hailing from St. Louis, Florida, and Mongolia with majors ranging from communications to art history.
Golden, an El Pomar Fellow entering her second year, serves as director of El Pomar’s summer internship program. She has a remarkably concrete idea of the kind of difference she wants to make in the world, and a conversation about her background reveals some thought-provoking reasons why.
Mike Maiurro is one of those people you immediately like, and you know he is claimed by more than one student as a favorite teacher. He has a firm handshake and a warm smile, and you immediately feel at ease in his presence which, when you’re only a year out of college and about to give advice to a classroom full of high school students, is a very good thing.
In a 1999 book, “The New Public Service,” Brookings Institution scholar Paul Light pointed out an increasing trend—over the past decade, more and more young people interested in public service had ended up working in the nonprofit sector, rather than in government.
First-year Fellow Chris Ellis does both.
On a daily basis, El Pomar Fellows put theory to test. After reading a chapter about leadership styles, they go into a meeting and have to guide the group through an agenda and toward a goal. In the second year of the program, Fellows are given the opportunity to venture outside of El Pomar’s boundaries to work directly with a nonprofit on a Technical Assistance Project. For the Fellows, this is a chance to do something different and challenging on a consulting basis—and make a difference in an area about which they are passionate, all while fulfilling the Foundation’s mission to enhance the well-being of the people of Colorado. At a recent meeting at Penrose House, several of the Second Years shared reflections on their projects. Here are a few highlights.
El Pomar Fellows spend two years studying the inner workings of foundations and theories of leadership. By the end of the program, this much is clear: funders love evaluation and so do most effective leaders. They want to know when something is working, and what can be changed to make it work better. As a group, we understand that. But what are we supposed to do when fixing a problem depends on hanging around with a horse, and knowing when it’s fixed is almost impossible?
What does a next-generation philanthropist look like? For blogger Emily Davis of EDA Consulting, the answer is Alan Frosh. Frosh, a member of the Fellowship Class of 2005, is a sixth-generation Denver native who began his philanthropic journey as a child growing up in a household where the Jewish values of tzedakah (charity or giving back) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) were very much present. (more…)
On Monday morning, the El Pomar Fellows gathered at Penrose House for their final Investment Challenge class, where the winner of their nine-month stock market simulation game would be revealed and awarded a set of engraved bear and bull bookends. The class introduces Fellows to the important role that investing plays in helping a foundation fulfill its mission. (more…)