The 3rd Annual Youth Nonprofit Symposium, held yesterday at Peirce College in Center City, was a half day of breakout sessions led by leading figures in philanthropy. The speakers talked, often candidly, about the funding world from their perspective. This meant dolling out everything from helpful advice to hard truths.
Laura Kind McKenna, managing trustee of the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, for instance, led a session and held no punches in explaining exactly how she decides whether or not to fund an organization. Much of it, she explained, has to do with how well an organization can represent the work it does. She stressed that this is more important than showing data on their impact, which, she added, many small nonprofits don’t have the money or resources to properly measure.
Generocity.org Founder and Chair Sandra Baldino, who serves on multiple boards of arts and culture institutions in Philadelphia, weighed in on what she looks for in a grantee in the keynote speech. She advised to be patient and make sure to develop a relationship with the funder. One cup of coffee, she said, won’t guarantee a grant.
Other speakers came from major corporations and foundations such as Coca Cola, Comcast, the Seybert Foundation and others.
The Symposium was created three years ago by Councilman-at-Large David Oh in response to a problem he often ran into as a city official. “As a city-wide councilperson, people were coming to me asking for money, but I don’t have any money,” he said. “So I would ask ‘have you reached out to a corporation or foundation?'”
Sixty people attended in the first year, 120 the next, and around 200 this year.
Funders look forward to the event as well, Oh said, because it gives them a chance to meet the organizations and people that are reaching out to them for support.
“People still come to me for money, but because we do this, I can direct them somewhere,” Oh said.
Photo courtesy of Sheila Hess-30-
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