Leap of Reason Updates Archive


Five Habits of Highly Effective Funders

Lowell recently started advising a Seattle-based technology entrepreneur who’s right at the beginning of his philanthropic journey. This new donor posed a question we wish all new donors would ask: “What do I need to do if I want to be effective at this?”


Why Aren’t We Talking About ML?

To kick off the new year, we want to spark a conversation that clearly demands our attention this year: how our sector can make smart use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the latter a form of AI that can learn…


A True Profile in Courage

Our post last month on gratitude struck a resonant chord with many of you. So we want to end this year by talking about a related virtue: courage. The kind of courage we often read and talk about is physical—like Lowell’s father-in-law’s heroic combat on the frozen slopes of Monte Belvedere to liberate Italy from …


Gratitude Isn’t a Platitude

Fair warning: We’re gonna get personal in this post. That’s because we’re feeling extra reflective this holiday season. We both had milestone birthdays this year (50 for Lowell, 75 for Mario), and we’ve both experienced personal loss. In the past month alone, Mario lost…


The Red Pill

Last month, we wrestled with the implications of the new book ‘Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World’, which has earned more buzz in our sector than we’ve seen in a long time. This month, we’re turning our focus to ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’, a book that…


A Gut Punch

During the Jewish High Holidays, Lowell’s rabbi implored his congregation to spend less time with eyes fixed on our algorithmically narrowed news feeds and more time looking for new perspectives. In response, Lowell picked up Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, a book that was likely to challenge key assumptions that he and Mario hold about social change.


How Funders Can Leap from Good to Great

Last week, Lowell made a presentation to new board members of a family foundation interested in raising its game. It was a great opportunity to synthesize several years’ worth of learning about how positive-outlier foundations find good organizations and help them become great.


Collaborative Patriotism

On July 4th, Lowell and his family participated in one of their favorite annual rituals: attending a naturalization ceremony at the foot of the Space Needle and welcoming America’s newest citizens. The ceremony featured more than 500 new Americans and roughly three times as many cheering onlookers, many of them wearing red, white, and blue …


Flashlights Not Hammers

As readers of this update know, we’re big believers in the power of data for learning and improvement. But we also recognize people can—and often do—use data in ways that create harm. The latest example comes from this New York Times podcast, which aired on June 5. It’s the sobering story of how then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley‘s good intentions for data use led to severe unintended consequences, especially…


A Passionate, Personal Drive for Performance

When reading the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s May 1 feature story on the Leap Ambassadors Community, we got a kick out of a quotation by our friend Brad Dudding, the brilliant COO of the Center for Employment Opportunities. Perhaps channeling Mario, Dudding pulled off a rare triple mixed metaphor when explaining one of the community’s key aims: “Right now there’s a big push … to hammer away at funders and get them on the bus.”

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