July 9, 2015

June 24, 2015 — Rusty was recently interviewed by Greg Cherry, a consultant and former grantmaker, on his new podcast, “Philanthropy Hour”. Below we have re-posted the blog post that accompanied the episode. Be sure to check out philanthropyhour.com to hear other interviews with philanthropic leaders and change makers.

Rusty Stahl and the Talent Philanthropy Project

Twitter: @RustyStahl and @FundthePeople

Rusty Stahl is the Founder and CEO of Talent Philanthropy Project, a campaign to inspire Foundation and grantmakers to fund and nurture developing staff and leadership in grantee organizations and the nonprofit sector at large. He is helping to build a movement to maximize talent investing.

Previously, Mr. Stahl founded Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and served as Executive Director from Fall 2002 through Summer 2012. EPIP is the association for young and new foundation professionals, and focuses on leadership development talent within the philanthropic community. In 2012, Rusty partnered with Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, American Express Philanthropy and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to launch EPIP’s Generating Change Initiative, which began to explore the issues addressed by the Talent Philanthropy Project.

Rusty Stahl on Talent Investing

Prior to EPIP, Stahl served as a Program Associate at Ford Foundation making grants that supported the health of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. He holds a Masters in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University. He is a leading voice on generational change and leadership development in the nonprofits sector.  Rusty currently serves on the board of Idealist.org. He has participated in the White House Forum on Nonprofit Leadership, and has served on Independent Sector’s NGen Advisory Committee, the Council on Foundation’s Next Generation Task Force, and other efforts.

Today, Rusty joins us to talk about the deficit of talent investing, and how grantmakers can leverage the impact of their philanthropic dollars by supporting and nurturing the community of change makers in their grantee organizations and the wider social sector.


In this interview, we discuss:

  1. That only 1% of all grant money goes to actual development of nonprofit talent. (11:30)
  2. The organizations with a high profile, charismatic, and well-connected leader are likely to receive funding, at the expense of worthy organizations with underdeveloped talent. (15:00)
  3. How the Baby Boomer generation is retiring soon, and the next generation is going to step up into these leadership positions. (21:30)
  4. The challenges of young professionals working in foundations, as part of Rusty’s work with EPIP.  (24:30)
  5. Foundations need to reconcile that they are not businesses, and the model of philanthropy works in different patterns. (35:00)


“Movements don’t happen because of one person. They might be sparked by one person, but organizations are built on teams. Building benches of talent and supporting whole teams, rather than cherry picking individuals, is a necessity.”


  1. About the Talent Philanthropy Project.
  2. His previous work in Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.
  3. EPIP: The Nonprofit Talent and Leadership Development Toolkit.
  4. The seminal research article: Talent Philanthropy: Investing in NonProfit People to Increase NonProfit Performance.
  5. Report: The Nonprofit Talent Ratio.


  1. Mission Driven: Moving From Profits To Purpose by Laura Gassner Otting
  2. Compassionate Careers by Jeffrey Pryor and Alexandra Mitchell.
  3. The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman.
  4. Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership by four authors.
  5. Nonprofit Leadership Development: What’s Your “Plan A” for Growing Future Leaders? by Bridgespan Group.


If you enjoy The Philanthropy Hour, please leave a review or a rating on iTunes. I read every review and it helps to make the podcast better.



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