About EPIP

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), a project of Tides Center, is a national network of foundation professionals, social entrepreneurs and other change makers who strive for excellence in the practice of philanthropy. Our mission is to develop emerging leaders committed to building a just, equitable, and sustainable society. EPIP exists to ensure that emerging foundation professionals are effective stewards of philanthropic resources and all social entrepreneurs reach their potential as leaders.

We’re often asked what we mean by “emerging.” Traditionally, our members have been younger than 40 years old, so most people associate us with that age cohort. But for us, emerging is a broader idea than that. We have grown our organization into one of the most diverse in the field. We reflect America’s changing ethnic and social demographics and attract members from diverse professional backgrounds. Over a decade of experience has shown us that you don’t have to be young to be new to the field of philanthropy. We also recognize that everyone should be supported as they practice philanthropy in their own lives.

EPIP supports emerging leaders and social entrepreneurs in their professional and personal philanthropy. Our organization promotes emerging thought nurtured in places outside traditional, old-guard philanthropy. We promote diverse, multigenerational perspectives and value innovation for meeting societal challenges. We recognize institutional and community-based forms of philanthropy.


EPIP’s mission is to develop emerging leaders committed to building a just, equitable, and sustainable society.


EPIP envisions a day when all generations of practitioners in philanthropy collaborate effectively to build better foundations for a better world.

Our Logic Model

EPIP employs a straightforward logic model grounded in our principles:

  • Better Leadership Development ensures more effective social entrepreneurs.
  • Better Social Entrepreneurs result in more effective philanthropy and greater impact.
  • Better Philanthropy results in better and more predictable social change outcomes.
  • Better Social Sector leads to a more just, equitable and sustainable society.


Guiding Principles

  • Generational Change & Multigenerationalism: We believe that foundations should integrate the experience of senior leaders with the innovation of emerging leaders.
  • Professionalism & Effectiveness: We believe that practitioners in philanthropy should be educated and trained to act according to the highest ethical and professional standards.
  • Social Impact to Build a Better World: We believe that philanthropy should endeavor to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable society.


Areas of Work

EPIP works toward its mission through the following programs:

We organize unique Networking opportunities for our constituents through local chapters and national meeting spaces (both virtual and in-person).

We develop the Leadership skills and analysis of our members for successful engagement in the workplace and the broader philanthropic field.

And we build an Advocacy voice for our generation aimed at transforming philanthropy, and strengthening the pipeline for young people into social change careers.


EPIP is a vibrant peer network of over 900 professionals participating through individual and institutional memberships. Members span 35 states and represent a diverse array of professional roles and grantmaking entities (e.g., foundations, giving circles, government, and corporate structures). Nearly 50% of EPIP members self-identify as people of color. We offer local and national opportunities for in-person and online participation.


EPIP was founded by a small group of young foundation professionals and individual donors who sought to work and learn with peers in order to transform philanthropy and confront generational issues in the social change community. EPIP began in spring 2001 as an informal network coordinated by volunteers through an National Organizing Committee, with some of Committee member Rusty Stahl’s time donated by the Ford Foundation. New England and New York City EPIP chapters were launched during this informal phase, throughout 2001-2002. In fall of 2002, EPIP became a project with a full time executive director housed at New World Foundation.

In this formalized phase, the organizing committee was expanded into a diverse Board of Advisors. Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC chapters were formed during 2002-2004. (Organizing efforts began in Philadelphia during this time as well.) Spring 2004 saw the first annual Philanthropology™ workshops held at our chapter sites. In fall 2004, EPIP left its start-up period with its first annual membership drive. Spring 2005 saw our first national Chapter Leader Gathering, which brought together leaders from our recognized and prospective chapters. In 2005, EPIP launched its field staff, with chapter organizers in Atlanta, New York City, and North Carolina’s Triangle and Triad communities. The last founding Board of Advisors member rotated off in summer 2005.


In fall 2004, EPIP was recognized as an affinity group of the Council on Foundations.

The organization has been featured in US News and World Report, Philanthropy News Digest (a publication of the Foundation Center, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Foundation News and Commentary, and other publications.

Strategic Plan 2010-2013

In late 2010, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), a project of the Tides Center, completed a comprehensive strategic plan, providing a road map for achieving its mission. The planning process engaged dozens of stakeholders – members, alumni, funders, leaders in the field, chapter leaders, board and staff – to give a 360-degree perspective on the strategic choices facing EPIP.

EPIP’s clarified strategic direction is guided by and embodied in its new mission, vision, and principles.

Download an executive summary of EPIP’s Strategic Plan.

10 Year Impact Assessment 2001-2011

In anticipation of its 10th anniversary, EPIP decided to look ahead, and also to look back. In 2010 it engaged in a strategic planning process and developed its first strategic plan, including updated vision and mission statements.

EPIP also wanted to look back at the last 10 years to better understand its impact on emerging leaders and on the field of philanthropy, and to inform the implementation of its strategic plan. To accomplish this, EPIP commissioned Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc., a national philanthropy consulting and evaluation firm, to conduct an impact assessment.

The full report maps EPIP’s organizational growth and accomplishments, and the concrete ways in which EPIP has been able to support and provide unique leadership development opportunities for philanthropy’s emerging leaders. The findings are informed by both quantitative and qualitative data.

Download an executive summary of the Impact Assessment.