Leap of Reason Updates Archive


The ’Show-Me’ State of Mind

This month, I want to start off with some optimism rather than being that guy with the fire hose dousing the campfire. In my most recent column, “Why We Need a Mass ’Missouri’ Movement,” I reference the famous 1899 quotation by Rep. Duncan Vandiver that gave Missouri its state slogan: “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor …


Momentum for Merit

This month I will lead off by thanking the Communications Factory, in Hiram, OH, for doing a great job of condensing my address to the City Club of Cleveland into a quick-hitter five-minute video. We realize that a YouTube video of a pontificating funder can’t possibly compete with skateboarding dogs and sneezing pandas. But we …


The Unlikely Proliferation of ’Radioactive Broccoli’

A year ago this week, we at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) launched Leap of Reason. We cautiously hoped that a few thousand leaders would find our little chartreuse book (one colleague quipped that it’s the color of “radioactive broccoli”) to be of practical value for their work. A year later, the physical or digital book …



Our subject line reflects the title of the passionate and personal speech Mario just finished giving at The City Club of Cleveland, based heavily on his work with Venture Philanthropy Partners. He’s handling Q&A right now, so we appropriated his email account to send out this message. We’re biased of course, but we think the …


If you want to hear a fast-talking Italian

I gave a speech at the City Club of Cleveland (my hometown) at 12:30 EDT on Friday, April 27. You can watch the rebroadcast of the speech as well as read the prepared remarks. The speech seeks to lift up the Leap of Reason message—from one about outcomes assessment and performance management to one that …


Which Comes First: Leadership or Money?

I’ve got a classic chicken-or-egg challenge for you. For an organization to make “the leap of reason,” which comes first: courageous nonprofit leadership or courageous, results-driven funding? In my column this month in VPPNews—and in a speech I will deliver next month at the Cleveland City Club (we’ll send a link to the webcast when …


Happy Leap Day!

Recently a colleague was eating at a Smith & Wollensky’s steak house and saw a giant banner apprising diners that 2012 is “The Year of the Steak.” If Smith & Wollensky’s can unilaterally appropriate a whole year to market a product that my doc has all but banned from my diet, then there’s no reason …


How to Make 2012 a ‘Leap’ Year

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to follow the KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Stupid—more often. I’ll try to put that principle to use in this update, given how many developments in the Leap of Reason community we want to highlight this month. First, we want to share some concrete ideas for how boards, foundations, …


“Tough Times, Creative Measures”

With this month’s update, we are pleased to share a detailed summary of the “Tough Times, Creative Measures” symposium Urban Institute hosted in October to exploreLeap of Reason’s key themes. The all-star participants shared great insights into the lack of support in the nonprofit community for data-driven management, human-capital development, and performance cultures. And they …


Six Wrenching Questions Every Board Must Answer

For those of you who are new to our monthly Leap of Reason updates, welcome to the community. For those of you who have been part of this journey for a while, thank you for all that you’re doing to spread the word. Thanks to the power of your networks, 23,000 copies of the book …

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