Back to top

100+ gather for Philanthropy Network's 35th Annual Members' Meeting

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

On March 28, 2023, more than 100 members gathered at the beautiful Center for Architecture & Design in Center City Philadelphia for Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia’s 35th Annual Members’ Meeting.

Opening the program was Board Chair Ashley Del Bianco, who welcomed members to our first in-person annual meeting since 2019 and subsequent onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before officially calling the meeting to order, Del Bianco invited to the podium Dale Mitchell former President and Executive Director of Delaware Valley Grantmakers (precursor to Philanthropy Network) to offer a memorial tribute to the organization’s founding executive director Alexandra (Sani) Wolf Fogel. Mitchell described Fogel, who led DVG from 1988-1995, as a “force of nature” and went on to detail some of her many contributions to the organization’s early development, regional philanthropy and the nonprofit sector as a whole.

Following Mitchell’s remarks, Del Bianco called the meeting to order and began by welcoming new president Christine Robinson. She thanked her fellow members of the Transition Committee - Romona Riscoe Benson, Aldustus (A.J.) Jordan and Dwayne Wharton - who have been instrumental since Christine’s hiring to help ensure she has the necessary connections and resources to position her for success in her new role. 

Del Bianco went on to offer an additional welcome to new members who have joined the Network in the past year - W.K. Kellogg Foundation, M&T Bank Charitable Foundation, The Sarah Ralston Foundation, Salem Health & Wellness Foundation, Schultz & Williams, and van Ameringen Foundation – and acknowledge departing Board members  - Romona Riscoe Benson, Nell Booth, Bill Golderer, Aldustus (A.J.) Jordan, Michelle Legaspi Sanzhez, Dwayne Wharton and Omar Woodard - whose terms conclude as of April 1st.  Del Bianco also offered a special thanks to her fellow officers of the Board – Kristina Wahl (Vice Chair), Donna Frisby-Greenwood (Secretary) and Laura DeFlavia (Treasurer) – all of whom are retiring from their roles after more than two years of exceptional service.

Next at the podium was Board Secretary and Governance Committee Chair Donna Frisby-Greenwood, who presented the nominating slate of new directors. 

Candidates nominated for an initial three- year term 2022-2025 were:

  • Bethany Flood, Executive Director, Foundation for Health Equity 
  • Gwyneth Gaul, Associate Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Community Impact, Comcast NBCUniversal
  • Dominique Goss, Executive Director, The M&T Charitable Foundation; Senior Vice President M&T Bank 
  • Peter Gonzales, Trustee, The Merchants Fund

A second class nominated for a first term 2023-2026 were:

  • Leon T. Andrews, Jr., President and CEO, Equal Measure
  • John Barber III, M.B.A., Senior Regional Giving Manager / PA & NJ, Office of Charitable and Community Giving, TD Charitable Foundation
  • Jody Greenblatt, JD, Executive Director, Philadelphia City Fund
  • Ann Marie Healy, Executive Director, Philadelphia Health Partnership
  • Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, MGA, FAAN, President, Independence Blue Cross Foundation
  • Rashanda Perryman, Program Officer, Community Stewardship, Vanguard
  • Danielle Y. Scott, Executive Director, Pincus Family Foundation 

Frisby-Greenwood called for a motion and second from the floor to approve the slate, which were offered, and a voice vote from members carried the slate unanimously.  Read more about our newly-elected Board members.

Next on the agenda was Christine Robinson, who proceeded to present her first-ever President’s Report to the membership. She started by extending thanks to her family and the Philanthropy Network team and Board for their support, as well as to a number of members, including Independence Public Media Foundation, Wells Fargo, BLBB Charitable, William Penn Foundation, PECO, and Pew Charitable Trusts, who provided early funding and encouragement during her first months on the job.

Robinson shared how her personal background and professional experience inform her approach, then went on to review a number of frameworks she sees as foundational to the mission of Philanthropy Network. She noted that for each of us, authenticity and identity are central to our work - knowing who we are, listening to the lives of others, and valuing traditionally marginalized identities and bringing their voices and perspectives forward in our work. 

Robinson highlighted the critical importance of partnership and her commitment to building insightful, thoughtful and transformational relationships with members across the Network. She articulated some of her plans and priorities for the coming months, including:


  • Strengthening our muscle to build a solid foundation as a learning organization; 
  • Bringing on additional staff and consultants to broaden the heft and depth of the network; and
  • Supporting data management and outcomes research on the region and the philanthropic sector.

And programmatically:  

  • Building out a multi-part Equity Learning Series accompanied by consultation and toolkits;
  • Offering Affinity Learning Cohorts for Grantmakers of Color and for others who identify as white to learn about race and racism;
  • A learning session on the Modes and Modalities of Philanthropy, exploring the roles philanthropy can play beyond grantmaking to create catalytic change; 
  • Establishing new Communities of Practice to include (but not limited to): Early Childhood, Elders, Environmental Justice, Behavioral Health, Addiction, and Well-being; Data and Evaluation; Immigration; Public Policy; and
  • Revitalizing the Corporate Roundtable and creating reports that track the regional impact of corporate giving.

Robinson also encouraged members to attend one of her upcoming Listening Tour sessions (kicking off on April 27th hosted by the Montgomery County Funders) where she will meet with groups of members across the region to hear their feedback, insights and ideas for the Network and our collective work. 

Robinson concluded by reinforcing her vision for the Network, which is that:  Philanthropy realizes its extraordinary potential as a catalytic collective to foster ingenuity and partnerships in new ways that transform our region into a place where everyone has the opportunities, resources, and access needed to fulfill their greatest potential.

Closing the program, Robinson was joined by Mailee Walker, Executive Director of the Claneil Foundation, who facilitated a Q&A session with members. In response to a question about what trustees can do to create a community of allies in support of our efforts to build an equitable region, Robinson replied that trustees have enormous influence and can serve as ambassadors and advocates with other funders, especially with their fellow trustees. When asked what she sees as our region’s biggest challenges, Robinson said that since relocating to Philadelphia she has been most struck by the issues of addiction, homelessness and gun violence. As we make strides to address these issues, Robinson cited the power of conversation, and added that it will be critical to bring diverse voices to the table to listen to each other and have honest dialogue that, while it may be difficult, can propel us toward greater understanding and progress.

As the formal meeting was adjourned, attendees enjoyed a lively networking reception to make new connections and catch up with friends and fellow members.