Erin Thomas

Vice President, People and Culture

Erin is passionate about creating the conditions for people to thrive in the workplace by developing and stewarding a culture of performance through learning and development, coaching, and centering diveristy, equity and inclusioin.As our vice president of people and culture, she leads our organizational development and HR strategies through talent quistion and development, learning and development, internal DEI work, and coaching.

A northern California native, Erin grew up in a multi-generational pear farming family. After moving around the country working on issues related to the environment, she landed in Seattle at EarthCorps, a nonprofit organization that develops global environmental leaders through local land stewardship. She spent seven years there, most recently as director of programs, before joining Philanthropy Northwest in September 2015.

Erin earned a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Warren Wilson College and a MPA from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. She is an alumna of AmeriCorps VISTA and has extensive experience working in national service organizations.

Erin Thomas's blog posts

October 17, 2018

These are real and common challenges and they're complex issues not readily tackled with technical solutions, but rather, entrenched in our mindsets and structures of the status quo. I was impressed with how readily session participants were willing to talk about these challenges and dig into solutions. And these issues are solvable! more »

January 11, 2017

January is full of new beginnings and a renewed sense of purpose. It's also the month that hosts one of my favorite observances: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On this third Monday in January, people all over the country honor the legacy and impact of this courageous role model's spirited social activism and selfless community service. I can’t think of a more pressing time to be inspired by these tenets, to come together to help our communities and feel a shared responsibilty to make our places healthy and vibrant for all. I hope you can join me and the thousands of others who will be serving community on January 16, and continue working on six skills to become a more effective servant leader in 2017: more »

January 14, 2016

It’s a mid-January morning and there's frost on the ground. People from all over the city are huddling around the coffee and bagel tables, trying to get warm and fuel up for the day. You overhear murmurs of introductions, names and motivations for getting up so early on their day off: “I’m here with my kids and we wanted to do something as a family." "I’m volunteering with my office." "I believe in the message of Dr. King and I want to honor that today.” This is the scene I have experienced on the third Monday of January — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — for almost a decade. Whether you're fighting racism and poverty or preserving nature and wildlife, the MLK Day of Service offers an opportunity to connect with each other and work together to support a healthy and vibrant community. With more than a hundred projects planned throughout the Northwest, thousands of volunteers will be honoring this remarkable man and his message. more »