Erickson Blakney, Program Officer
Erickson Blakney presented himself to the foundation with an impressive background as an award-winning writer, reporter and interviewer for Bloomberg and CBS News. Now those career skills are all important for a successful program officer, but in fact it was his extracurricular activities that set EB–as everyone calls him–apart. Throughout nearly two decades in the media business, he displayed a deep passion for the worlds of philanthropy and social service and managed to amass a wealth of experience in the process. After graduating from Hobart College, he did an early career stint at the Daytop Village substance abuse treatment program and later earned a certificate in nonprofit management from CUNY’s Hostos College. In 2005, EB and several friends organized a private “giving circle” to identify, assess and make grants to various educational, social service and human rights organizations. (To date, the circle has distributed over $3 million.) And for the last seven years, he’s been a thoughtful, engaged and effective board member of the DreamYard Project, a longtime Pinkerton grantee in the Bronx. He plays a similar role on the board of The Lower Mississippi River Foundation, an organization devoted to protecting the Mississippi Delta and providing outdoor experiential education. In his spare, spare time, EB also produced a documentary film on the Delta’s blues tradition, but that’s another story. Feel free to ask him.