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‘A Change Is Gonna Come’

Sam Cooke composed “A Change Is Gonna Come” in 1963, shortly after “I Have a Dream,” the Birmingham church bombings, and his own imprisonment for “disturbing the peace” after he was refused a room at a Holiday Inn because of his race. The song is considered one of the greatest of all time because of the way it captured the hope and despair of the Civil Rights Movement.

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The Hardest Leadership Decisions You’ve Ever Faced

This month, we’ll get right to practical advice for social-sector leaders trying to captain ships through the dark, stormy seas of this pandemic. We’re by no means leadership experts. But Mario is a longtime student of crisis leadership and has been forced to navigate—as a CEO, director, advisor, investor, and donor—through many different periods of turmoil. Sometimes he was successful. Sometimes he screwed up. Here’s what he learned from both.

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Brutal Truth & Credible Hope

The wonderful Cheryl Collins told us, with the firm but loving tone she used in her schoolteacher days, that we must use this platform to share both brutal honesty and credible hope. So that’s what we’re going to try to do.

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Empathy is Infectuous

Let’s be clear: The Coronavirus pandemic is deadly serious, and we all need to observe the CDC’s latest guidelines for keeping ourselves and others safe. There’s good reason that Lowell’s home state (WA) and Mario’s (OH) are on virtual lockdown, and we have great respect for Governors Jay Inslee (D) and Mike DeWine (R) for making these calls. These two elected officials are demonstrating precisely what courageous, adaptive leadership looks like!

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‘Men Are Coming to Kill You’

When we talk about organization building, we know some people think we sound like one of those podcasts designed to put you to sleep. But this past week Lowell got an epic lesson in how organization building can have life-and-death importance for millions of people.

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Elegy Economics

Well before the tsunami election of 2016, we were reading, writing, and speaking about the seismic shifts rocking and rending American society—from the technologies that are fundamentally altering the nature of work to the wealth and income inequality that is cleaving us into factions with completely different financial prospects. But neither of us are economists. And we’re sure as hell not Nobel Prize winners. That’s why we were eager to read Good Economics for Hard Times, the new book by…

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The Link Between Humility and Effectiveness

In last month’s update, we mentioned that we were looking forward to reading Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s new book, From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth. We both chose to listen to the audio version while we got some much-needed holiday exercise. The original “Gospel of Wealth,” penned by Andrew Carnegie in 1889, implored…

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Nothing but Bionic Parts

Wouldn’t you like a good way to take a deep look into your organization—to discover how you’re doing, identify ways to get better, and create open introspection that helps people learn and improve? If so, please take a look at the Performance Practice, a resource from the Leap Ambassadors Community. According to Ingvild Bjornvold, who oversees the continuous-improvement process for the Performance Practice, “I doubt there’s a nonprofit out there that…

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The Ultimate ‘Hyperagent’

Have you seen the new Netflix documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates”? If you haven’t, you should! The film does a great job of illustrating how philanthropy can be, in the words of educator Paul Ylvisaker, “society’s passing gear.” It also offers great lessons for donors who don’t have Gates’s stratospheric wealth.

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Great Ways to Squander Your Money

Last month’s update, “Fool Me Ten Times, Shame on Me,” struck a chord with many of you. This month, we’ll stay with the theme of unforced funder errors and share five more examples of 💩 that funders routinely step in.

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