Inherent to being a young professional in the 21st century is the drive to combine career and philanthropy. But how do you put that intention into action?
While your company may offer opportunities to give back to your community, you may be thinking more deeply about what it really means to make an impact and how to fully understand philanthropy.
That’s where the annual Emerging Philanthropist Program, or EPP, comes in. Now accepting applications for the 2019 class, EPP is coordinated through a partnership between The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, or TFEC, and Harrisburg Young Professionals that was formed in 2014.
The program seeks to engage Harrisburg’s emerging business and community leaders with the great possibilities that lie within philanthropic endeavors in our region. Additionally, EPP provides resources and educational opportunities for Harrisburg’s developing leaders who wish to be actively and regularly engaged in giving back to their community.
Each year’s class spends 10 months attending monthly educational sessions featuring speakers from the Harrisburg region. These speakers represent organizations from the public and private sectors, nonprofit and for-profit. Session topics include: establishing the needs of the community; grantmaking and fundraising basics; giving back to the community; personal philanthropy; and wealth management practices.
For the EPP capstone project, the class applies the community engagement and grantmaking skills it’s been refining for nearly a year by awarding a $5,000 grant to a nonprofit organization chosen by the class based on funding needs. After all the speaker panels and sessions, the class collectively creates an RFP that goes out to Harrisburg-area nonprofits.
The focus of the RFP has ranged in previous years from decreasing childhood poverty by eliminating barriers to education to eliminating the root causes of poverty by building human capital to better stabilize the community. Leading up to choosing the grant recipient, nonprofit applicants are interviewed, and EPP participants visit the organizations. Since 2014, EPP has graduated over 80 students and provided $25,000 in grant funding to local nonprofits.
Another key component of EPP is the annual Harrisburg Hoopla, an annual field day for adults planned by EPP participants. The goal of the Hoopla is to raise unrestricted funds for local nonprofits, as well as grow the EPP Endowment Fund at TFEC. Teams, made up of community members and co-workers from local companies, compete in tug-o-wars, relay races, volleyball games, inflatable obstacle courses and more, all in honor of a different local nonprofit they’ve each chosen to support. At the end of the competition, a portion of the funds raised are split between the first, second and third-place teams’ chosen nonprofits.
In 2018, 181 participants on 24 teams raised $10,904 for local nonprofit organizations and added $7,269 to the EPP Endowment Fund.
Recent graduate Kathleen Wojtowicz of the Society of Neuroscience said EPP “opened my eyes to the importance of nonprofit funding and the difficult decisions grantors must make. This perspective will prove invaluable as I move forward in my career.”
If being part of a one-of-a-kind team and meaningful experience like EPP sounds like your cup of tea, I invite you to apply to be part of the 2019 class. The deadline for applications is quickly approaching. Click here to apply.
Thomas Bradley is a scholarship associate for The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, a Harrisburg-based nonprofit.