A Poetic Reflection on Professional Enrichment in Philanthropy

The St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (Fund), the only grantmaking foundation of Providence, is comprised of a tight-knit team of passionate individuals that invests in and fosters long-term partnerships to ensure communities are lively, hopeful, healthy, and just. Individually, we strive to better ourselves for the benefit of our work and personal lives.

Amy Huang, Program Officer for the Fund, recently completed an 18-month Momentum Fellowship as part of her ongoing philanthropic enrichment. The program supports people of color in philanthropy by inviting them to participate in virtual and in-person retreats where they discuss racial equity in philanthropy, authentic and adaptive leadership, change management, and personal strengths and motivations. Fellows set goals, have regular check-ins, and work with coaches to get support throughout the program.

It’s an intensive and reflective program, and we are proud that Amy was selected to the fourth cohort of highly experienced, passionate changemakers. The fellowship concluded at the end of January with a weekend-long retreat. During this time, the cohort was asked to reflect on the people and experiences that shaped them during the fellowship. Amy graciously shared with us her reflections, as poetry, on shifting into philanthropy and grant-making and how deeply rooted her passion for social justice is.


A poem by Amy Huang 

I remember when my day hasn’t even begun, and I wish it was over

It wasn’t the work. It was whom I reported to inside the office enclosure

She was facing her internalized oppression

Her unhealed wounds and trauma created abusive workplace transgression

She had an ambitious agenda – to climb the ladder and achieve those titles

So I saw the disingenuous practices and performative recitals

We kept in silence because she meant the world to community

And even if we spoke, there were granted immunity

From nonprofit to government, these dynamics became reoccurring

It seemed that my joy for social impact could never be fulfilling

Years and years go by, and I become immune

So I navigate with radical acceptance, but always like a whale dodging the harpoon

Compounded by the systemic and structural harm

You add the daily encounters of people and their sheep in wolf skin charm

When the transition to philanthropy seemed like my next journey

I carried a sense of trauma response, and always felt unworthy

Then when they asked what my hopes are during my interview

They urged me to fulfill them through grantmaking with support in queue

Everything still seemed too good to be true

So I remained floating in my canoe

But when they continued to invigorate me on each nuclear level

I felt like a little girl, riding fearlessly on the pedal

It was their optimal support that created nourishment

That unleashed my creativity for an ultimate omniscient

I thank them for their astronomic beam and generosity

They model the leadership I aspire to be

I have a deep sense of peace and tranquility

Which I always thought had its impossibility

As I awe in gratefulness for the past 18 months

I found my purpose as I navigate my next labyrinths

I was always searching for how well they spoke

And it was their racial equity warrior suit that made them appear woke

But I’ve learned that no matter what you cloak

Integrity, compassion, and love must be the prerequisite for true change to evoke

As I lean into this philanthropy and grantmaking path

There is no calculated method or something so black and white as math

Because when it comes to philo – love at its core

The relationship and fellowship must be at the forefront for any rapport

I find that community power may become muddle

By the agendas of non-profit and groups facing their own struggle

So how do we truly uplift and amplify our dear neighbors?

It should go beyond that one streetlight, one green space and always doing the most labor

It’s the mighty tools of mobilization and power building for transformative change

And there shouldn’t be any negotiation or seen as an exchange

We must disrupt the discriminatory and structural practices

For the sustained joy of community over individual statuses

When communities self-identify, advocate, implement and oversee their agenda

It overpowers any bureaucratic propaganda


My evolution is an ever-elusive victory from within, and I’ve learned in the chapters ahead

I find love to be the connected thread

Before any glorious campaigns, service delivery or implementation

There must be stewardship for healing, trust, and relationships to lay the foundation

Co-creation, collaboration, and mutual respect must be the prerequisite for this social justice destination