Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More gen crossing

At the Global Philanthropy Forum the featured group was The Elders.

At the Council on Foundations the biggest splash came from the Next Gen organizers (EPIP, Resource Generation, Changemakers, 21/64, etc). Should we assume from this n of 2 that:

• Foundations are run by old folks so younger people are the next new thing?
• Social enterprise and entrepreneurship is the purview of the young, and so older mentors are the invited voices?


Rusty Stahl said...

Lucy - this is insightful. To add some nuance: the 3 Emerging Leaders Salons that EPIP, Resource Generation and 21/64 put on at the COF Summit featured senior foundation leaders in dialogue with next gen leaders. The room was literally overflowing with young folks trying to get in to hear from Susan V. Berresford, retired from Ford Foundation, Julie Rogers, CEO of the Meyer Foundation, and Sherece West, the young but highly experienced CEO of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

And the only reason these speakers were there was because they wanted to learn from and share with young people.

The foundation world is heavily weighted toward older folks, and generally does not adequately recognize the role, opportunity, and asset represented by the young people in its midst.

However, and probably because of this, the young people in the foundation field want both more relationships with peers in their generations, AND learning relationships with seasoned leaders. In every focus group EPIP chapters hold, the need for mentoring bubbles up.

Clearly we all need inter-generational learning platforms and relationships that go both ways.

Lucy Bernholz said...

I agree - cross conversations - whether it be cross generations, gender, race, poverty, sexual orientation, culture, or all of the above - we need more of all of these The session on leadership was fabulous from what I heard in the hallways, from all age groups; the buzz in resource central was notable, the lines at other next gen sessions, and the blog mob that covered the whole shebang - this was a different, and better, COF conference and I think the international participation and the younger generational leadership is why.

Anonymous said...

There has been much discussion about this in my community. People in their 60's and 70's (if not older) who want to pass on the reigns and mentor younger professionals. I think the challenge that we are facing is getting each generation to HEAR what the other is saying. I wonder how we can take the excitement out of the conference and translate directly into our own communities and organizations. It's one thing when it is contained in an environment where everyone is trying to accomplish the same thing (idea generation for example), it's entirely different when there is no rally-point except to pass on the torch.