This summer, Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend was named president of The Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, replacing 20-year veteran Nancy Wingo. Previously Fulmore-Townsend spent almost 20 years herself at Philadelphia Youth Network, including eight years as its CEO.
How do you define power in philanthropy?
Power in philanthropy is the ability to empower and inspire solutions in collaboration with your partners. The greatest source of power are the people and communities we support with the financial, relational and intellectual capital available.
You’re a longtime veteran stepping in after another longtime veteran. What excites you most about this role?
Building upon a strong legacy of service and impact is very exciting to me in this new role. There are so many ways the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust has and will continue to support young people as they prepare for academic success and meaningful careers. The possibility for scaling impact and continuing transformative work gives me great energy in this role.
Shifting from Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), a government funded intermediary, to HFCT a philanthropic trust, must be a real change. What pieces of PYN are you bringing to HFCT and what pieces of HFCT do you wish PYN could embody?
I am very thankful for the many lessons I gained from my previous experience. I am fortunate to apply that insight to my new role as President of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust. Both the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust and the Philadelphia Youth Network share a commitment to ensuring strong academic and career options for young people. I am bringing with me, the ability to listen, synthesize information quickly and plan for strategic growth and impact.
As an education and workforce development leader, what steps should funders be taking to support nonprofits in these spaces?
There are many great examples of ways funders and nonprofits are partnering effectively to promote strong academic and workforce outcomes. It is important to be curious and open to new solutions. We are experiencing unprecedented times, which requires a balanced approach to learning and innovation. One way to show a balanced approach to learning and innovation is to invite grantees to not only share successes, but to be transparent about growth areas and new insight they are gaining from change. Both success and failure have the capability to inform the quality of services and the consistency of results.
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As a Black woman and leader in philanthropy, what advice can you provide to others about supporting others?
It is important to be generous with knowledge and intentional as a listener. There are many great black women leaders in philanthropy, who have and continue to lead exceptional work. Trust, respect, and acknowledgment for the brilliance I have witnessed in philanthropy will only create room for more great leaders to enter and excel in this space.-30-
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