AAPIP Voices

Part 2: Civic Engagement Fund Critical Collaboration Series


[Editors Note: This is the second installment of the CEF Critical Collaboration series, from the perspective of one of CEF’s core supporters – Kathy Reich, Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Philanthropy and President’s Fund, at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Kathy participated in a CEF convening held on March 28, 2012, and has been invited to provide key observations following her time with the CEF grantee partners and other Bay Area funders.  Part 1 of the series can be found here – Laila Mehta – Director, Civic Engagement Fund]

By Kathy Reich, Director Organizational Effectiveness, Philanthropy and President’s Fund
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Thanks to all of you for inviting me to the CEF convening. I truly appreciated the opportunity to get to know you in a relaxed, candid, and open environment.

I learned (or re-learned) a few very valuable lessons from our time together:

1. Building a network takes time. In the beginning, each of your principles, experiences, and strategies felt very different. The identity called “AMEMSA” (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) was hard to define, in your minds as well as in the minds of others. I was struck that your entire first year was spent building sustainable, values-based relationships with each other. Only then could you move toward joint strategy and action.

Funders often expect results from their investments quickly, almost instantaneously. But CEF shows that real and lasting change takes a long time to enact. And what a distance you’ve traveled in the past few years!

2. Coming to the CEF is a hopeful act for each of you, as individuals and as grassroots organizations. When you are part of CEF, you are not alone in your work.

3. AAPIP has played a critical role in providing a safe space for AMEMSA groups to forge a common identity, share information, and strategize together. In this case, the process–building a network–is also the outcome. As one of you said, “The environment that’s been created has been beautiful for us.”

Thank you for letting me share in that.