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Ron Ragin

Self-employed performing artist & culture worker (as of August 2016)

Former position at CEP
Senior Research Analyst

Length of tenure at CEP
2.5 years

What are you up to these days?
I am a self-employed performing artist and culture worker, working on a number of different projects, including: a mini-documentary film about metered hymn singing in African-American churches; a performance project called Vessels, which explores singing as a survival tool during the Middle Passage; and my first book of poetry. I am also picking up consulting, research, and writing projects in the philanthropy and nonprofit arts sectors. My life feels beautifully balanced and “on purpose.”

How did your time at CEP prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I arrived at CEP straight out of college. At that time in 2005, the organization still felt very much like a start-up, so I had an opportunity to explore many facets of nonprofit operations. I became a full-fledged data geek, beefed up my analytical and research skills, improved my writing and public speaking abilities, and learned a lot about institutional philanthropy. Most importantly, my managers at CEP helped me develop the soft skills necessary to work effectively in any environment.

What did you do between your time at CEP and your current role?
I worked in arts & cultural philanthropy for seven years. I was first a fellow in the offices of the President and Vice President at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where I later became a program officer in the Performing Arts Program. In 2014, I was hired as the inaugural program officer at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, where I helped develop new grantmaking programs at the intersection of arts and social change.

Alongside my full-time employment, I’ve continued to work as a performing artist and creative writer.

What do you miss most about working at CEP?
My colleagues. CEP consistently attracts smart, hard-working, and hilarious people.

What advice would you give someone about working at CEP?
It’s a gift to work at an organization that is committed to its employees’ growth and development. Soak it up.

Describe your perfect Sunday
I have a small bag that contains one book, my journal, a pen, and a pencil. I set out in the city on foot and see where the day takes me.

Photo by Melisa Cardona:

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