November 3, 2021

Today’s social justice nonprofit leaders are fighting for communities that have been impacted by trauma, even as the nonprofit leaders are experiencing or organizational and personal trauma themselves. Racial equity and social justice require talent-investing. In this episode, Rusty talks with Sidney Hargro, the inaugural Executive Director at The LeadersTrust, a new multi-funder grantmaking initiative that offers an effective, evaluated approach to talent-investing that has been tested for 20 years with over 120 nonprofits and more than $30 million in investments.

To help advance transformation in the sector, The LeadersTrust was recently created by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and other foundations. The LeadersTrust offers the Flexible Leadership Awards, a sophisticated talent-investing model initially developed by Haas Jr. Fund as a strategy to invest in nonprofit staff in order to expand program impact and financial sustainability.

Topics discussed include:

  • Sidney’s journey into and through philanthropy, including a recent stint as the head of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and his studies in engineering and divinity.
  • The foundations that have come together to form The LeadersTrust.
  • The core components of the Flexible Leadership Awards.
  • The importance of talent-investing layered on top of general operating support.
  • Responding to three common “pushbacks” on talent-investing. 

Links & Resources mentioned in the episode: 

The LeadersTrust website

Introducing the LeadersTrust

Flexible Leadership Awards at Haas Jr. Fund

LeadersTrust team member bios

5-Year Evaluation Report and Videos on Flexible Leadership Awards

Fund the People’s Case Study + Videos on Flexible Leadership Awards


Guest Bio:

Sidney Hargro (He/Him/His) is a nationally known philanthropic leader, advisor, speaker, and advocate for leading with racial equity and intersectionality across all philanthropic practices in pursuit of liberation.  Prior to joining the LeadersTrust, he led the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia where he implemented a leadership agenda that established onramps and opportunities for the regional philanthropic organizations to reimagine their philanthropic practices regardless of grantmaking priority to embrace intersectional racial equity. 

Sidney is also a Lecturer in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching Equity-informed Social Impact Measurement.  Previous roles include, leading the Community Foundation of South Jersey and serving as a Senior Officer of Strategy and Organizational Learning at The Columbus Foundation, the nation’s 7th largest community foundation.  

Hargro serves on regional/national boards, including the Independence Public Media Foundation, National Art Strategies, World Education Services US/CAN, Mayor’s Fund of Philadelphia, The Regional Foundation/CDC, and United Philanthropy Forum. Sidney holds a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University, a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary (Faith and Community Power), and a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. Follow Sidney's work on Twitter @sidneyrhargro (personal) or @TheLeadersTrust (organizational), as well as on LinkedIn.

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