Membership on My Mind: A Conversation with GMN’s Newest Board Members
You may be thinking – “Wait, I just read an article about four new board members in the last issue of the GMN Examiner. Where did these two come from?” GMN is proud to announce that Andrew McFarland (Sea Change Foundation) and Ericka Novotny (The Annenberg Foundation) have been appointed as Interim directors, serving as Co-Chairs of the Membership Committee. Andrew recently completed a two-year term (2007-2009) as a GMN Board Member, and Ericka currently serves as editor of the GMN Examiner. In their newest role, Andrew and Ericka will join Kent Cozad in leading GMN’s outreach efforts to new members and supporting new and established regional chapters.
While you can click here for their official bios, I asked each of them to answer a series of questions as a further introduction to the GMN membership. From the responses below, it is evident that both are dynamic, smart and ready to contribute their energy and expertise to the board and the organization. As your Membership Committee Co-Chairs, Andrew and Ericka are eager to hear from you on how your experiences with GMN could be enriched, so please connect with them.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to grants management.
Andrew McFarland: I began my career in philanthropy at an organization providing funding for the performing arts. Since then, I have worked for a wide variety of philanthropic entities, including a membership association, a community foundation, a corporate grantmaker, a state funding agency and now the Sea Change Foundation, a private family foundation based in San Francisco supporting climate change mitigation efforts both nationally and internationally.
As the Grants and Knowledge Manager, my responsibilities include ensuring the accurate reporting of financial and programmatic activities funded by Sea Change and that grants are awarded, administered and terminated in accordance with established policies and procedures. I am also working to develop a network of knowledge systems that will collect a wide range of data from disparate sources (grantee reports, policy papers, stakeholder meetings, etc.) in order to facilitate individual and organizational learning.
Ericka Novotny: I worked in advertising/marketing after college and before moving to Los Angeles. Looking for a career change and living in close proximity to the Getty Center, I landed a job with the Getty Foundation. There I worked on a number of internship programs and had a strong interest in the grants management side of the work. I joined the Annenberg Foundation just as the organization was looking to expand its grants management presence in the Los Angeles office. My role as the Foundation’s Grants Manager has given me the chance to delve deeper into philanthropy and specifically grants management by refining and developing processes and procedures, as well as advancing the role the grants manager can play in grantmaking.
What strengths or skills are you bringing to the board and to GMN in general, and what are you hoping to accomplish?
AM: I believe my skills and experiences of working for and with philanthropic organizations, coupled with my commitment to social change work, to be well suited to the grants management field. I also have a strong background in creating processes, implementing systems and designing workflows for grantmaking programs in early stages of development. I hope to advance the Membership Committee's strategic objectives set forth for the year, including developing and implementing outreach strategies for reaching new members, and developing a mentoring program that supports those new to the grants management field.
EN: I have a good deal of project management experience and I like to think that I have a strong ability to lead people in a no-nonsense, non-commanding sort of way. I am very serious about the work that I do, but I like to have fun. I am hoping to use these skills to grow the member cohort and support the regional groups as best as I can by reaching out to as many grants management professionals as possible to share the many benefits of GMN membership. I suspect there are a lot of people who feel isolated in their career and don’t even know of this wonderful organization.
If you could plan the GMN Conference for any location in the world where would it be?
AM: London - I lived there for two years twenty some odd years ago and haven't been back since.
EN: Italy - instead of cookies and coffee during the breaks we would have wine and play bocce ball!
What are your interests outside of work?
AM: My two-year-old son keeps me pretty busy. I received my degree in fine arts and I still keep a studio space, making art when I am able.
EN: I am kept very busy by my two-year-old son and five-month-old daughter, as well as my three furry children (dogs), and I enjoy every second of it! When I can, I enjoy time with my friends and family, reading, hiking, skiing, golfing, dining out, painting and traveling. I also enjoy art, crossword puzzles, Wheel of Fortune, cards and board games.
What food you could eat everyday and never get tired of it?
AM: Onion rings.
EN: Hands-down, pizza. My favorite kind is Chicago-style.
If you had your own foundation, what kind of grantmaking would you do?
AM: I think I would most likely be a part of an arts-related, community-based grantmaking effort. I define social change as long-term, sustainable change in the attitudes, beliefs and behavior of individuals, communities and institutions. It is work that addresses the root causes of social problems rather than seeking short-term solutions that provide only temporary relief. Ultimately however, the funder relationship within the community must be predicated upon mutual understanding, recognizing that individuals are the agents of their own change. I have always placed a priority on being involved with cutting edge initiatives that hold these ideals as guiding principles.
EN: Programs for underserved or abused children, animal welfare groups, work to empower women, and services to end human slavery and trafficking would be high on my list of areas. I feel passionate about helping victims that can’t or don’t have a voice.
If you weren’t in grants management, what would you be doing?
AM: I would most certainly be involved in the nonprofit sector in some way, perhaps working in the artist-run gallery/performance space community.
EN: I would be back in the marketing/advertising field or working with dogs, though I’m not exactly sure in what capacity.
Finally, thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond to my inquiring mind!
Both Ericka and Andrew invite you to contact them with any ideas, suggestions, or thoughts on the best onion rings and pizza in your city.
The Annenberg Foundation
enovotny [at-sign] annenbergfoundation [dot] org
Grants and Knowledge Manager
Sea Change Foundation
Andrew [at-sign] seachange [dot] org
The GMN Examiner Editorial Team
The GMN Examiner is published three times a year through the dedicated efforts of GMN members and volunteers.
Ericka Novotny – Editor
Allison Gister – Associate Editor