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DVG Celebrates Silver Anniversary at 25th Annual Meeting

Wednesday, March 27, 2013  
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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2013 Members' Meeting explores 'The Chemistry of Philanthropy'



On March 20th, over 120 members of Delaware Valley Grantmakers gathered at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Old City Philadelphia to mark the association’s 25th Annual Members’ Meeting.

President Ronnie Bloom called the meeting to order, welcoming members to DVG’s silver anniversary gathering. Elaborating on our theme, The Chemistry of Philanthropy, Bloom noted similarities between the two fields, which are both grounded in the art and science of transformation. In keeping with the chemistry analogy, Bloom offered her thanks for some of the elements that contribute to DVG’s ongoing formula for success: the 13 new members who joined DVG since last year’s annual meeting, event sponsor FMC, and DVG’s highly-engaged board of directors.


 Governance Committee member Paul DiLorenzo took the stage to present the nominations for new directors and officers. After acknowledging fellow committee members Sara Moran, Russ Johnson and D-L Casson, DiLorenzo presented the 2013 slate to the membership for approval. Two motions were offered: one for first- and second-term directors, and another for 2013 officers. Unanimously approved for service commencing on April 1 were:

Ronnie Bloom
Paul Di Lorenzo

Second Term:

  • Bill Black, The Comcast Foundation
  • Ann O’Brien Schmieg, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern NJ
  • Andrew Toy, The Merchants Fund

First Term:

  • Ruth Clauser, Sunoco Foundation
  • Anna Guarneri, William Penn Foundation


  • President - Susan A. Segal, Lincoln Financial Foundation
  • Secretary – Russell Johnson, North Penn Community Health Foundation
  • Treasurer – Valerie K. Martin, John Templeton Foundation*
    *elected to serve a 1-year term extension

Bloom returned to the podium to offer appreciation and well-wishes to the directors who are retiring from DVG’s board. Honored were: D-L Casson, Union Benevolent Association; Heidi McPherson, Chester County Fund for Women and Girls; Gregory T. Rowe, The Pew Charitable Trusts; and Wes Somerville, previously of Prudential.  On behalf of the membership, President-elect Susan Segal offered heartfelt thanks to outgoing president Ronnie Bloom for her eight years of service on the board and for her leadership as president over the past three years.

Debra Kahn
Patricia LePera
Debra Kahn then took the podium to deliver her Executive Director’s report.  After offering her personal thanks to the board and membership for their continued support and commitment, she unveiled the expanded narrative of the strategic plan framework, Sparking Solutions for Greater Philadelphia, and elaborated on some first steps DVG is taking toward implementing its new vision.

A key initiative is a re-branding and communications project, which will serve as an important tool to power and connect the elements of the strategic plan. DVG selected the firm of SteegeThomson Communications to work with on this effort, so Kahn invited their Senior Vice President Patricia LePera to offer a few words about their approach to branding. LePera explained that a brand serves as the "front door” for an organization, capturing its essence and serving as the basis upon which to build a communication strategy that advances the organization's mission and goals. Branding will be an important step to better positioning DVG as a catalytic, constructive and collaborative partner for community change.

Doug Bauer
Next on the agenda was keynote speaker Doug Bauer, executive director of the Clark Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations and programs in education, human services, employment, and children/youth services in New York City and Cooperstown, NY. Bauer’s talk, titled "A Grantmaking Formula for the New Normal,” focused on three things grantmakers can do to empower grantees and help them be the best that they can be: Provide General Operating Support; Fund Technical Assistance; and Support Advocacy. Bauer argued that as grantmakers, we have enormous freedom and capacity to take risk, so it is our responsibility to "embrace the economic and political change and behave differently AND adopt a grantmaking formula for the New Normal that is pragmatic and generates strength and leadership within our grantees.”

>> CLICK HERE for a printed copy of Doug Bauer’s complete remarks.

The event concluded with the Member Appreciation presentation. Leading off was Lisa Farnin of IBM, who welcomed The Rosenlund Family Foundation as the 30th member of DVG’s A League of Their Own – a special group of organizations who have reached the 20-year membership mark. Accepting the award on behalf of the foundation were trustee Stephanie Rosenlund Shim and executive director Dale Mitchell.

Member Appreciation
Sarah Martinez-Helfman

Kahn then introduced the DVG Doers awards, the annual ceremony to express collective appreciation to the members who go "above and beyond” to advance the association in important ways. This year’s "honorable mentions” included over 80 individuals and organizations who contributed in the highly-valued categories of volunteer leaders, members contributing beyond dues, event hosts and early dues payers.

Next, DVG director of member services Ashley Feuer-Edwards presented individual recognition in two categories:

· SUPERNOVAS - Members who make connections that attract new recruits to DVG: Sarah Martinez-Helfman, Eagles Youth Partnership and Eagles Football Club; Bruce Melgary, Lenfest Foundation; and Andy Toy, Merchants Fund

· CHEMICAL CONSTANTS - Members who constitute the most frequent attenders at DVG programs and events: Ray Murphy, Bread and Roses Community Fund; Frances Sheehan, Brandywine Health Foundation; Susan Sherman, Independence Foundation; and Libby Walsh, The Philadelphia Foundation
With final thank you to all members for their continued support and engagement, and an invitation to toast to the future at the reception, the meeting was adjourned.

Photos by Barrie Blau Photography