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A Farewell Message from President Sidney Hargro: A Time for Change

Friday, July 16, 2021

As announced recently by Board Chair Ashley Del Bianco, I am stepping down from my role as President of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.  My last virtual day in the office will be August 13. 

My tenure at Philanthropy Network began less than three weeks before the violent and deadly white supremacist Unite the Right rally and peaceful counter-protests in Charlottesville, VA.  This event would set the stage for a leadership agenda that encouraged philanthropy to lead with racial equity and intersectionality across all funding priorities and practices. Four years later, I will depart during a relentless global pandemic, a national, racial awakening, and continued attacks on American democracy, among other issues.

I am grateful to Philanthropy Network for providing the space, support, and encouragement to lead authentically during this period and take risks necessary to offer relevant and timely programming and initiatives. I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. I am deeply grateful to all of you — the Philanthropy Network team, network members, board, and others — who have helped advance this critical work. I am genuinely proud of what we were able to accomplish by exposing the complexities of systemic racism and oppression and acting with nimble urgency to spark action. Together, we committed to imagining new approaches to our work by advancing trust-based relationships with nonprofits and communities that honor lived experience, shift and share power, and seek to co-create change with communities, not for communities.

As a result, I believe I am well-prepared for the next leg of my work as I become the first Executive Director for the LeadersTrust. The LeadersTrust delivers responsive, long-term, high-touch investment to unlock leaders’ radical imagination and inherent power to achieve transformative change, healing, and liberation.  I am both humbled and excited about the opportunity to build and support an ecosystem of solid and durable organizations and movements in which leadership is cultivated, shared, and flexed in service of achieving change in communities across the country.

As I bid farewell, I want to leave you with my favorite message from James Baldwin, which reads,

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

The radical love that philanthropy can be for and with humanity requires a level of introspection and vulnerability that removes the masks that we feel we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. It speaks truth to power, mandates taking risks, acts in solidarity, and commits to personal growth while offering grace for all at every point on the journey to liberation.

I wish you all wellness and peace as you continue on this journey. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

With gratitude,
Sidney





 


@SidneyRHargro

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