Featured

26
Apr
2017

‘Full-Frontal Philanthropy’

Let’s be honest: foundation presidents’ annual letters tend to be pro forma at best. But this month we found a lovely and rare exception, by F.B. Heron Foundation President Clara Miller. Hidden behind bland design and a boilerplate title, you’ll find a sharp indictment of typical foundation thinking and a bold prescription for “this messier, less compartmentalized, and more urgent world.”

22
Mar
2017

Impetus to Change

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes it also takes an SOB. If David Hunter were a rapper rather than a performance whisperer, his stage name might have been Notorious SOB. (He’s a good friend, so we don’t have to beat around the bush.) His tough-love workshops are infamous for reducing participants to tears. A few years ago…

23
Feb
2017

The Right Kind of Tears

Recently, we met with Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, the dynamic executive director of the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, to discuss how funders can pay careful heed—not just lip service—to what their grantees need for improving performance. EFCT is deeply admired by its grantees for practicing what they preach about supporting their pursuit of high performance. EFCT has taken a “fewer, deeper, longer” approach that allows them to…

26
Jan
2017

Playing Well with Others

Meetings aren’t usually the stuff of spotlighting. But the twice-yearly confab of Playworks, an organization that promotes safe and healthy play, demonstrated not just what’s possible when a high-performance nonprofit interacts in a high-performance way with high-performance funders. It gave us a glimpse of what it might look like if there were a whole ecosystem of high-performance funders engaging with each other for the benefit of grantees and the families they serve.

20
Dec
2016

Go Fast and Go Far

Our colleague Patty Stonesifer, Martha’s Table’s brilliant CEO, loves to quote this famous African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Last week, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) went public with a bold move that may prove that going fast and going far are not mutually exclusive. EMCF CEO Nancy Roob and Board Chair Larry Clark announced that the foundation is going to…

30
Nov
2016

Preparing for the Unknown

Just prior to celebrating the American Thanksgiving with our families, we experienced the professional version of the holiday when we hosted a convening of the Leap Ambassadors Community in DC. We are deeply grateful that so many of the Leap Ambassadors, thinkers and doers committed to high performance, made the time to come together for relationship- and community-building. And although we certainly didn’t plan it this way, the timing of the event allowed us to work together to start to unpack what the earthquake election in the States means for the people and communities we serve. The first thing we concluded is that…

27
Oct
2016

Bring Back Our Better Angels

For a decade, the two of us have been writing and speaking about seismic shifts that are shaking the foundations of our economy and society–from the breakdown of the social compact between employers and employees to the displacement of workers by new technologies to economic immobility that threatens to turn the American Dream into a mirage. As if these forces weren’t staggering enough, they’ve played out in ways that have…

28
Sep
2016

Sacred Gift of Labor and Love

It won’t surprise you to learn that healthcare providers have high rates of burnout. Providers face the Sisyphean challenge of treating streams of patients one day and then starting over again the next. They deal with unrelenting exposure to human suffering. They struggle with the business imperative to speed up their patient interactions and reduce costs. Burnout carries direct, bottom-line costs. It produces…

23
Aug
2016

Performance Lessons from Rio

While we’d love to tell you that we kicked back and chilled out while watching the Olympics, the truth is that we’re too Type A to do that. We both watched TV with computer or tablet in our laps, scanning for articles that give clues about how the foregone-conclusion athletes–Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, etc.–managed to become so dominant…

27
Jul
2016

A Dirty Secret and Neat Solution

Funders are like fingerprints: No two are exactly the same. Yet all funders—from individual donors to large foundations—have one thing in common. They want their grants to make a difference. There’s another common denominator, which doubles as a dirty secret…

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