School’s out but the learning continues

July 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

headshot of claudia smilingThe idea that learning only occurs during an academic year has never really been true for me. When I was in junior high school – back in the dark ages – I became a voracious reader, visiting the local branch of the Columbus Public Library weekly. I’d walk the several blocks to the library, pick out a big stack of books and spend the summer days reading on the porch rather than sunning at the pool. Thus was born my love of Russian literature (yes, I read War and Peace one of those summers) and through reading I learned so much about different cultures, political systems and worldviews.

In high school, I took history or math classes during the summer so I could double up on language, vocal music (I sang alto) and orchestra (I played violin) classes and edit the high school newspaper during the regular school year.

I continue the year-round learning here at Philanthropy Ohio, and this summer I’m devoting time to learn more about a couple of topics.stack of books

First, racism in 21st century America. I’m taking time to watch an incredible set of speakers talking to Washington, D.C. grantmakers. Titled Putting Racism on the Table, the recorded talks cover a wide range of issues, including structural racism and implicit bias. Thanks to our colleague organization, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, for making the talks available to everyone. I’m also reading a couple of books: Dog Whistle Politics, by Ian Haney Lopez, a constitutional law professor at UC Berkley who has studied and written extensively on racism’s evolution in contemporary American society. I’m also dipping into Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. The book explains the development of racial identity and frames the challenges in talking about race and racism.

Second, I’m learning more about collaboration – its best practices, challenges and opportunities. All three aspects of collaboration were part of a workshop we offered, our Three City Learning Tour that was led by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations staff and Chris Thompson from the Fund for our Economic Future with a keynote by Lisa S. Courtice (who was kind enough to let us post her remarks on last week’s blog). And, last week I was in Indianapolis at the Forum of Regional Associations’ Annual Conference where collaboration discussions included international presenters.

learning institute logo There are many opportunities to continue learning throughout the summer here at Philanthropy Ohio, culminating in our Learning Institute. The last two days of the summer – September 20 and 21 – will find us gathered on The Ohio State University campus for deep dives into a number of highly relevant topics for today’s grantmakers with a keynote and panel: The Equity Effectiveness Imperative. Check out the agenda and see which workshops will be most helpful in expanding your knowledge and skills. See you there.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

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