Leap of Reason Updates Archive

21
Aug
2019

Fool Me Ten Times, Shame on Me

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.”

24
Jul
2019

Going to Bat for Grantees

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…

19
Jun
2019

The Right Was Right on This

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…

22
May
2019

A Paradoxical Mix of Arrogance and Insecurity

In our continuing series of mini essays unpacking each of the “Five Habits of Highly Effective Funders,” we’re going to drill down on the number-one success factor for foundations that aspire to help grantees become high-performance organizations: having talented, empathetic leaders at the trustee and executive levels. Lowell just got an inspiring dose of…

25
Apr
2019

Uncommon Mindset, Uncommon Results

Over the coming months, we’ll unpack “Five Habits of Highly Effective Funders.” Last month, we offered greater specificity about how highly effective funders manage to build bonds of trust with their grantees, despite the inevitable power differential. This month, we’re going to look at another one of the habits: “Effective foundations exemplify a ‘growth mindset.’” Our timing for this post isn’t…

20
Mar
2019

Our ‘Conspicuous Miss’

This month we’re going to share some of the key lessons we’ve learned about how highly effective funders have successfully built trust with their grantees. We’ve drawn them from Edelsberg, Bonbright, and other experts in the…

20
Feb
2019

Five Habits of Highly Effective Funders

Lowell recently started advising a Seattle-based technology entrepreneur who’s right at the beginning of his philanthropic journey. This new donor posed a question we wish all new donors would ask: “What do I need to do if I want to be effective at this?”

24
Jan
2019

Why Aren’t We Talking About ML?

To kick off the new year, we want to spark a conversation that clearly demands our attention this year: how our sector can make smart use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the latter a form of AI that can learn…

20
Dec
2018

A True Profile in Courage

Our post last month on gratitude struck a resonant chord with many of you. So we want to end this year by talking about a related virtue: courage. The kind of courage we often read and talk about is physical—like Lowell’s father-in-law’s heroic combat on the frozen slopes of Monte Belvedere to liberate Italy from …

28
Nov
2018

Gratitude Isn’t a Platitude

Fair warning: We’re gonna get personal in this post. That’s because we’re feeling extra reflective this holiday season. We both had milestone birthdays this year (50 for Lowell, 75 for Mario), and we’ve both experienced personal loss. In the past month alone, Mario lost…

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