Ellen Hwang on her move to the Knight Foundation: 'This is my dream job' - Generocity Philly

People

Apr. 18, 2019 4:59 pm

Ellen Hwang on her move to the Knight Foundation: ‘This is my dream job’

Her own personal mission — to engage and inform people — aligns particularly well with the funder's, said the former city staffer and smart cities pro.

Ellen Hwang.

(Courtesy photo)

Ellen Hwang, the city planner who for the past four years has been a staffer of the City of Philadelphia and overseen the creation of SmartCityPHL, has been named the Philadelphia program director of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“I am really excited about the opportunity,” she told Generocity. “This is my dream job.”

Hwang takes on the job four months after the former program director, Patrick Morgan, left to take a city government job as Parks and Recreation’s first deputy commissioner for strategy and engagement.

Immediately after the appointment was made public, Hwang tweeted that she had some “big shoes to fill,” and thanked Knight for what she later told Generocity had been “a wonderful [hiring] process, even the interview!”

The Knight Foundation’s mission, and her own personal mission — to engage and inform people — are particularly well aligned, she said. (Check out the organization’s recent report on its Reimagining the Civic Commons project, for instance.) She admires the work the foundation has done, and having been a resident of the city for the past 13 years, she’s very familiar with it.

From our Partners

“Two things I think I’m bringing to the organization are the fact that I was a Knight grantee, so I know the process and can share my perspective of what Knight brings to the table,” she said. “The other is that much of my work with smart cities has been exploring collaborations, partnership opportunities, and the type of work that Knight invests in.”

Hwang, who was a presenter at last year’s Tech in the Commons, says the greatest challenge she sees in Philadelphia is the sheer number of people and organizations doing great things in the city. “There are so many opportunities,” she said. “What I hope to do as I start my job is to prioritize where Knight investments can make the most impact.”

“I think it is incredibly important to know who you want to impact,” she added, “because that informs how you can impact them.”

And she doesn’t mean only the grantees Knight funds — she means a broad swathe of Philadelphians.

“I started out at a nonprofit in the community,” Hwang said. “I intend to continue that process of interacting directly with community members. This is not just about funding, this is about having a dialogue.”

Her message to the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia?

“I can’t wait to see what we can do together.”

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Vanessa Briggs: ‘Upstream solutions are key to authentic engagement of our communities’

‘If you think the protests that are happening now are just about convicting a cop, you’re missing the boat’

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

¿Cómo preparamos a estudiantes sin ninguna historia familiar de educación universitaria?

Kensington, Philadelphia

Rock to the Future

Youth and Family Coordinator

Apply Now
Coatesville/Telework

Brandywine Health Foundation

Senior Program Officer

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Episcopal Community Services

Digital Marketing Manager

Apply Now

These 8 Philly orgs that support Black communities have made public pledges, organized cleanups and called for action

In a public statement, Urban League proposes four areas of focus for police reform

Pedagogy amid pandemic and protest

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

How do we prepare first-generation graduates for college?

Philadelphia (currently remote)

Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence

Human Resources Director

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Urban Technology Project

AmeriCorps Digital Service Fellow

Apply Now
Philadelphia/Baltimore

Heifer International

Director of Philanthropy, Mid-Atlantic Region

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity