Six Years Later, Hull Fellows Experience Continues to Make an Impact
I won't say that I was cocky or that I believed I knew all I needed to, but there was a large part of me that understood philanthropy as a simple and straightforward mechanism of American society. If the me of ten years ago was questioned, I would, more than likely, admit that the world of organized philanthropy was as about as complex as grass farming. Plow ground, sew seeds, water in, wait eight weeks, and bam...grass.
My year in the Hull Fellowship program changed this view completely. Not only did I discover that large social issues are a bit more complicated than basic agriculture, but also I found that many of the solutions I touted had been tried repeatedly, with little to no success. I learned that my family's foundation was as unique as it was common, that many of the issues we faced had been addressed by other family foundations in the past, and that many of our quirks were our very own. There were literally hundreds of insights on operations and governance. I imagine the virtual lightbulb above my head burning with a blinding light by the end of my fellowship year.
Yet, these were not the most important things. My Hull Fellows class remains one of my favorite groups of people I have ever encountered. The diversity of background, of opinion, of thought, and of context drove incredibly rich discussions that forever altered how I understood parts of my world. There were fierce conversations, incredible moments of honesty, lasting insights, and friendships forged through it all. To this day, should a question or need arise, I have 19 people whom I trust intensely to answer my call. I was affirmed in my belief that it takes great people to make great ideas work. These were truly great people.
Meet the 2017-18 Class of Hull Fellows
Developing the next generation of leaders in Southern Philanthropy is central to SECF’s mission. At the heart of this work is our Hull Fellows Program, which has graduated more than 300 people – many of whom are now CEOs, senior executives and engaged trustees at their organizations.
Today, we’re excited to announce the next group of men and women who will enter into this transformative program. The 2017-18 class of Hull Fellows represents the full diversity of SECF’s membership. The 24 fellows shown below will soon begin a year-long program that will explore the latest trends and best practices in the field, the history of the South and its philanthropic development and the major issues facing foundations today.
As with any SECF program, connections are central to the Hull Fellows experience. Each Fellow will be paired with an experienced mentor that will serve as a source of knowledge and wisdom, offering their own insights on how to lead in the world of philanthropy. The class will also develop long-lasting relationships among themselves, resulting in a peer network that will benefit them for the rest of their careers.
You’ll get the chance to meet the new class in person at the 2017 Annual Meeting. In the meantime, if you see anyone on this list you know, offer them your congratulations and support as they begin this journey!
Introducing the 2019-20 Class of Hull Fellows!
In two months, the 2019-20 class of Hull Fellows will gather at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting to kick off the next chapter of the South's premier philanthropic leadership development program! The 25 men and women below will spend a year exploring their own leadership style while learning more about best practices and trends in philanthropy, the opportunities and challenges present in the South and ways they can help push philanthropy to new heights as they continue in their careers.
Following a two-day kickoff at the 50th Annual Meeting, the 2019-20 Class will participate in monthly webinars on a variety of topics, attend a Spring 2020 leadership retreat, and work in groups on capstone projects that will be presented at the 51st Annual Meeting in Nashville. Each Fellow will also be paired with a Hull mentor who will over advice and guidance during the coming year and beyond!
If you know a member of the new Hull class, send them a note of congratulations!
Special thanks to SunTrust Foundation for its ongoing support of SECF’s Hull Fellows Leadership Program
Hull Fellows Highlight: Allison Brody
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
Allison Brody’s experiences within SECF, including the work she’s doing today as a Hull Fellow, have helped her during a critical time for not only her professional development, but also the future of the Williamsburg Health Foundation.
“SECF has helped me find the language and the direction I needed to better do the work of equity,” said Allison, the foundation’s director of community engagement. “At an Annual Meeting a few years ago, I heard Michael McAfee from PolicyLink speak. His session helped me put pieces together.”
This year, Allison is putting those experiences to work as the Williamsburg Health Foundation moves through the strategic planning process – one that has been directly affected by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd.
“I think COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd have made us all work deeper on racial justice and equity,” she said. “My foundation is going through strategic planning. Equity has a greater imperative in that plan, I think, than it might have otherwise. We’re doubling down on social determinants of health.”
Allison’s family history has had a strong impact on her perspective on racial equity. Her uncle, a white Jewish man from Long Island, participated in the 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and served as a trustee for Alabama’s Tuskegee University, among the country’s most prominent historically black colleges and universities. Years later, her son, a Jewish student leader at the University of Virginia, would lead a candlelight march through campus in response to the white supremacist “Unite the Right” event.
“Working – and I mean that in the most active sense of the verb – toward a more equitable future is part of my cultural and personal inheritance, not to mention my job,” Allison said. “Seeking justice is not only part of both who I am as an individual and as a professional but also part of my Jewish cultural and familial inheritance.”
Allison, noting that she is married to a white police officer, said she still believes that overcoming division to combat racism is still possible, even in a polarized country.
“Some of my close friends and family believe being anti-police is equivalent to being anti-racist. I don’t and I can’t,” she said. “I hope philanthropy can be the ‘passing gear’ to help heal the divides in our country, which feel overwhelming at times.”
Allison is now investing in her own future in philanthropy as a Hull Fellow. She says the experience has already allowed her to form deep connections, even if most of her interactions take place via videoconference.
“I’ve have met many determined and inspiring people,” she said. “I absolutely love my Hull Capstone group. We meet once a week, and our discussions are incredibly valuable to me personally and professionally.”