Leap Update December 2021

This is the time of year when we write out our respective New Year’s resolutions. We often make modest resolutions, because we know that we humans are just not wired for making big life changes. But behavioral science has shown that there’s one exception to this rule: We’re pretty good at making significant personal change…

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New Signs of Evolution in the ‘Galapagos’

Leap Update November 2021

Foundations are among the least responsive institutions in America. Even foundations that focus on sparking positive behavior changes in others (e.g., giving up smoking or eating a healthier diet) are remarkably good at resisting change themselves. As thought leaders Tom Tierney and Joel Fleishman wrote in their book Give Smart, “The absence of external accountability…

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Ditching Privilege

Leap Update October 2021

Lowell’s alma matter, Amherst College, has taken many steps over the past five years to embrace and embody anti-racism. And yet the school’s anti-racism efforts felt hollow. That’s because the school retained an embarrassing vestige of the old-school old-boy network: the admissions boost it bestowed upon the children of alums—a clear example of an elite…

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Cultivating Great Leadership from Within

Leap Update September 2021

Just before COVID hit the U.S., the Leap Ambassadors Community published guidance on succession planning for high-performing CEOs and got great feedback on it from social-sector CEOs starting to think about passing the baton to the next generation of leaders. Today, we’d like to augment those insights with those of a Leap Ambassador who was…

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We’re Awful at Rethinking

Leap Update August 2021

As the delta variant spreads like a western wildfire, many of us are wondering why brilliant scientists and communicators like Anthony Fauci haven’t been able to move more than half of us to get a free, highly effective vaccine. We’ve recently gained some valuable insights by reading Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s thought-provoking book, Think…

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Ignoring Gravity

July 2021 Leap Update

We know it’s not everyone’s idea of a beach read, but we both just read and loved The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by former Demos President Heather McGhee. We came away thinking that social-sector leaders who don’t factor McGhee’s brilliant insights into their advocacy work might…

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The LeBron of Philanthropy

June 2021 Leap Update: The LeBron of Philanthropy

In 2003, Mario’s hometown Cleveland Cavaliers made Lebron James the number-one pick in the draft. Even though James was right out of high school, he immediately went on to record one of the greatest rookie seasons in history. MacKenzie Scott may just be the Lebron of philanthropy. In her first full year of grantmaking, she’s…

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We can’t help but start with a few words about the Chauvin case. The jury’s verdict doesn’t indicate we have true justice in America. As our colleague Janeen Comenote remarked, “True justice would include George Floyd still being alive.” It doesn’t even mean that we can feel true relief. As another colleague confided and then…

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The Reads That Rocked Our World

In an effort to close out this hellish year on a high note, we put our heads together (virtually, of course) to create a list of the six books that sparked the most insights for us. Not all of these wonderful works came out in 2020; in some cases, we were embarrassingly late to the…

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Half Empty is OK, But Full Disdain is Not

If we were to assemble America’s red and blue bubbles into a national Venn diagram, we wouldn’t see a lot of intersection on issues like pandemic response, but we would see big overlap in the realm of emotions. Disbelief. Suspicion. Anger. Fear. Exhaustion. Following this bitter election season, we all have some or all of…

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