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An Update from Christine Robinson

Monday, December 5, 2022

I hope that all of you are enjoying early winter and the wonders of the Greater Philadelphia region. I am looking back with joy on a restful, engaging, bountiful, and inspiring time with family and friends in Philly over the Thanksgiving weekend. We had a wonderful time together! This was our first Philly Thanksgiving in many years; we have much to be grateful for.

I have been reflecting on my journey and the present. Firstly, as the incoming President of Philanthropy Network, I am thankful for the opportunity to return to this beautiful region, full of vibrancy, life, culture, art, and hope. I am also grateful for numerous new relationships and the prospect of meeting with and thinking alongside many new colleagues. Over the past three months, I have worked to meet with most board members and spent a great deal of time with the current staff. So many of you have welcomed me to your home communities, and I plan to visit as many of you as possible over the coming year. I appreciate the warmth and hospitality shown to me. Every county has numerous communities: metro, suburban, and rural corners burgeoning with promise, and I look forward to continuing to explore the countless gems and neighborhoods throughout the region.

I also look forward to building Philanthropy Network’s capacity through numerous learning opportunities, networking opportunities, and partnerships. An area of initial emphasis has been to explore the viability of policy and advocacy work to leverage the collective power of our members and think alongside our public sector partners, thereby amplifying philanthropic investments across all areas of the region. I plan to fine-tune partnerships and align efforts strategically with the public sector. This builds the strength of philanthropic endeavors and benefits communities throughout the area. 

In alignment with our collective goal of strengthening the philanthropic field, Philanthropy Network is developing two cohorts for a deep dive into vital policy and partnership roles to augment the work of philanthropy and be more intentional about implications for traditionally marginalized populations directly affected. One is a group of philanthropic leaders interested in policy implications, public sector partners, the ramifications of municipal priorities and budgets and ways that we may partner more purposefully as a region. I am interested in beginning a series of listening sessions to learn more about ways this work can be grounded in the Network and built out over time.

The second priority is intentional work in the area of gun violence and violence prevention. Network members, the William Penn Foundation and the Philadelphia Foundation have taken extraordinary leadership in this area, recently spearheading the launch of the Civic Coalition to Save Lives. Philanthropy Network plans to serve as a convener, to share information, host film screenings and dialogues with public officials, and present other opportunities that might deepen knowledge, practice, implementation and, in the long-term, save lives. We all want to live in a safe community where everyone is valued and feels safe as they work, worship, play, and enjoy the wealth of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The groups are being formed to share philanthropy’s commitment to community well-being on critical issues and explore partnership opportunities that are foundational in the development of an equitable region.

As we embark on the New Year and continue this journey together, I would love to learn more about your work, aspirations, and perspectives. As a generative network, please take time to consider how we want to be with each other. How do we want to live in this region? How might we all link aims and arms to build an equitable region? Creating a beloved community of grace is within our reach if we all have the same dream, the will, the passion, and we all work with intention.