With Gratitude and Much Good Luck

Leap of Reason Update: With Gratitude and Much Good Luck

Editor’s note: Listen to the audio version of this column. This issue of Leap Update closes a wonderful 11-year run for Lowell and me in writing this monthly newsletter. This decision is part of my bigger life decision as I’m currently scaling back and then likely refocusing the work I’ve done in the social sector…

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A Devastating Indictment

Graphic showing Leap of Reason Update 2022

In the 1980s, when Lowell was a teenager in the Maryland suburbs, he did a dumb thing and got himself into trouble with the law. Late one evening, he and a friend snuck onto a canal barge in Rock Creek National Park. They got busted by two federal policemen on a charge that carried a…

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Even the Highest Performers Are in Triage Mode

Leap of Reason Update January 2022

Over the holidays, which were snowy and slow in our home towns of Cleveland and Seattle, we had plenty of time for reading. We read one book in common: Voices from the Pandemic by the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Eli Saslow. We’re both fans of Saslow’s writing, based on our admiration for his book Rising Out…

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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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