Elevating the Conversation: A Note of Appreciation and Thanks

Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette

If you’ve read and appreciated a post from the CEP Blog over the past nearly seven years, then you have benefited from the thoughtful and skilled work of Ethan McCoy, CEP’s senior writer. Ethan joined CEP right out of Brown University, where he had been sports editor of the student newspaper. He took on responsibility for the blog, much of our fundraising and proposal writing (until he handed that off to our colleague Sarah Martin two years ago), CEP’s social media presence, and other writing and editing work.

Ethan has built the CEP Blog into a must-read space for foundation leaders and individual donors, mixing posts from CEP staff with guest perspectives from a wide range of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders. Over time, the CEP Blog became recognized as a place for thoughtful discussion of the crucial issues in philanthropy: how to best support nonprofits; how to think about strategy and assessment; how to advance racial equity through giving; and, for the last year plus, the right roles for donors and foundations to play in the midst of a global pandemic.

Ethan has a knack both for identifying those who might have a thoughtful perspective on a topic and for working with them to hone their pieces to be as clear and powerful as possible. He provides guidance to writers in a way that is supportive and respects their unique voices. We should know — he has worked with both of us to make our writing stronger.

He’s done much more than just curate the blog, of course. He has helped CEP raise millions of dollars in grant support for our research and other initiatives. His ideas have helped shape our biennial national conference and virtual programming. And he has helped us describe our work, and its value, much more clearly on our website and elsewhere.

He has also been a tremendous contributor to our culture internally — respected and appreciated by all for his thoughtfulness, humor, and calm and easy-going presence. Ethan’s voice is never the loudest in a room, but it is always listened to — and frequently acted upon. His kindness, integrity, commitment, and smarts have made CEP better.

Ethan is leaving us next month to accept a position at Grassroot Soccer, an adolescent health nonprofit, allowing him to combine his passion for writing and editing with his love of soccer and his desire to be working closer to the ground level to make the world a better place. We are thrilled for him, we will miss him, and we will do our level best to make sure we are good stewards of what he has built.

Phil Buchanan is president of CEP and Grace Nicolette is vice president of programming and external relations at CEP. They are co-hosts of the Giving Done Right podcast.

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