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The Unlikely Proliferation of ’Radioactive Broccoli’

A year ago this week, we at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) launched Leap of Reason. We cautiously hoped that a few thousand leaders would find our little chartreuse book (one colleague quipped that it’s the color of “radioactive broccoli”) to be of practical value for their work. A year later, the physical or digital book…

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Relentless

Our subject line reflects the title of the passionate and personal speech Mario just finished giving at The City Club of Cleveland, based heavily on his work with Venture Philanthropy Partners. He’s handling Q&A right now, so we appropriated his email account to send out this message. We’re biased of course, but we think the…

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If you want to hear a fast-talking Italian

I gave a speech at the City Club of Cleveland (my hometown) at 12:30 EDT on Friday, April 27. You can watch the rebroadcast of the speech as well as read the prepared remarks. The speech seeks to lift up the Leap of Reason message—from one about outcomes assessment and performance management to one that…

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Which Comes First: Leadership or Money?

I’ve got a classic chicken-or-egg challenge for you. For an organization to make “the leap of reason,” which comes first: courageous nonprofit leadership or courageous, results-driven funding? In my column this month in VPPNews—and in a speech I will deliver next month at the Cleveland City Club (we’ll send a link to the webcast when…

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Happy Leap Day!

Recently a colleague was eating at a Smith & Wollensky’s steak house and saw a giant banner apprising diners that 2012 is “The Year of the Steak.” If Smith & Wollensky’s can unilaterally appropriate a whole year to market a product that my doc has all but banned from my diet, then there’s no reason…

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How to Make 2012 a ‘Leap’ Year

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to follow the KISS principle—Keep It Simple, Stupid—more often. I’ll try to put that principle to use in this update, given how many developments in the Leap of Reason community we want to highlight this month. First, we want to share some concrete ideas for how boards, foundations,…

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“Tough Times, Creative Measures”

With this month’s update, we are pleased to share a detailed summary of the “Tough Times, Creative Measures” symposium Urban Institute hosted in October to exploreLeap of Reason’s key themes. The all-star participants shared great insights into the lack of support in the nonprofit community for data-driven management, human-capital development, and performance cultures. And they…

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Six Wrenching Questions Every Board Must Answer

For those of you who are new to our monthly Leap of Reason updates, welcome to the community. For those of you who have been part of this journey for a while, thank you for all that you’re doing to spread the word. Thanks to the power of your networks, 23,000 copies of the book…

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“It’s Lonely Out Here”

I feel compelled to start this month’s update with my thanks to a growing group of organizations that are generously helping us learn from their experiences taking the “leap of reason.” In recent weeks, we have benefited greatly from site visits to Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Philadelphia) and Roca (Chelsea, MA). In the coming weeks, we’ll…

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When I Muzzled Myself

Before I share some heartening examples of the ways that the Leap of Reason message is rippling out into new communities, I want to share a disheartening personal story that I hope will embolden others to be a strong voice of reason on the boards they serve. When I first stepped into the nonprofit sector, I…

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