Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes. --Peter Drucker
Each month, we publish a Leap of Reason Update to share insights, tools, and learning opportunities for those who are working to raise their performance.
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.
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.
This week, Lowell will conduct the first of a series of learning sessions for an entrepreneur at the very beginning of his philanthropic journey. He’ll ground the session in borrowed wisdom from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Tom Reis: “All new philanthropists get a black eye. That’s fine—and can actually be a good learning experience. But if they get ten black eyes, they’ll say, ‘To hell with it!’ So help them avoid repeated black eyes. Help them learn from others’ mistakes.”
One of Lowell’s foundation clients is in the midst of a generational succession and looking with new eyes at some long-established practices. Two practices under review are the foundation’s default…
In the fourth installment of our continuing series of mini essays on the “Five Habits of Highly Effective Funders,” we turn this month to this core habit: “Effective foundations help grantees strengthen their organizations, not just programs.” Thanks to a productive meeting we attended last week at the Ford Foundation, we’re charged up with new insights to share. The leaders of Ford’s BUILD initiative convened the meeting with…