It is a great pleasure to introduce myself as the new president and CEO of the Maine Philanthropy Center. I am honored and thrilled to serve in this role, especially during a time that demands that we, as a sector, lead in new ways: creatively, boldly, and with love. As a leader, I always have prided myself on building leadership around me by acting only after listening to those who are impacted the most, holding brave spaces for hard conversations, and cultivating environments in which acknowledging mistakes serves as the first crucial step in learning from them. When I say “lead with love,” this is what I mean.
Over the past 10 years, I have explored the nooks and crannies of different philanthropic institutions and approaches. After working for a member-serving organization, I moved into the field of venture philanthropy before ending up in social justice philanthropy, where I have spent most of my career. I have witnessed first-hand the power of philanthropy and nonprofits to transform individuals and communities, and I’m excited to lead efforts that are increasing the vitality and visibility of Maine’s philanthropy community.
Philanthropy in 2019 does not look like the philanthropy of yore. Donor-advised funds, collective giving circles, crowdfunding, The Giving Pledge, and more have not only changed the fabric of what was once considered “traditional philanthropy,” but redefined the word “philanthropist.” For this and many other reasons, MPC’s strategic plan has asked each of us to think differently about our roles in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Therefore, with your guidance and support, I am excited to focus on:
- Making the case and strengthening efforts for intersectional diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The world is only going to continue to change around us, and it is time for us to reckon with the lack of diversity in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors—especially as it pertains to leadership. As a woman of color, this issue is very close to me, but it isn’t just an emotional or personal one. Time after time, data shows us that diversity increases “collective accuracy and objectivity, analytical thinking, and innovativeness.” Focusing upon diversity will prove imperative as we consider how to build economic opportunity for those that need it the most. MPC and its members have the opportunity to lead these conversations and meaningfully drive this work forward.
- Building a voice for MPC and the philanthropic sector. From the disincentivizing of charitable giving leading, to a drop in giving to attacks on the census—a nonpartisan activity vital to fair funding for our state—our sector cannot simply sit back; we must use our individual and collective voices to fight against harmful policies and advance those that create a more equitable state for all Mainers.
- Increasing spaces for collaboration and understanding across and between sectors. MPC is unique; nationally, we are one of only three statewide membership organizations that serve both nonprofits and philanthropy. One of the most powerful roles MPC can play is as a connector and convener, giving our members access to networks they may not otherwise have. How can we create meaningful, transformative change if we aren’t talking and, perhaps even more importantly, listening to each other?
The above focus areas reflect just a few of the many important initiatives we at MPC will tackle together. While I am a native Floridian, my husband and I are committed to building our home and family in Maine with our two Australian Cattle Dogs and the baby we will welcome in December. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you, as we collaboratively build a bold vision for MPC’s future.