Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Web Platform Encourages Foundation Transparency in the Digital Age


How does the foundation of the 21st century achieve transparency? Does it post a searchable grants database at its web site? Does it use Twitter or Facebook to distribute news about its program priorities? At www.glasspockets.org, a web site launched February 1 by the Foundation Center, foundations that have taken the lead in communicating about their work, particularly using online resources and social networks, are featured along with direct links to their current initiatives. Designed to inspire greater openness among private foundations, Glasspockets encourages these organizations to tell the stories of their successes - and failures - in part by highlighting exemplary efforts of their peers.

According to Foundation Center President Bradford K. Smith, the term "glasspockets" was used more than 50 years ago by then-Carnegie Corporation of New York Board Chair Russell Leffingwell, who told a McCarthy-era Congressional hearing: "We think that the foundation should have glass pockets."

Read more at: www.glasspockets.org/about/

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Several years ago, a foundation client of mine sent me to a national conference of foundations where I met the President and CEO of the Durfee Foundation in California. Durfee's primary capacity building/leadership development strategy was a well-planned sabbatical for the CEO that forced the leader to delegate and grow the rest of the staff leadership team. That conversation has stood out in my mind since then and I have mentioned it to many people. Now a study has been completed that validates their strategy.

Bryan Orander

Creative Disruption

Sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders can be a relatively inexpensive but highly productive capacity-building tool that yields measurable results. "Creative Disruption: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building and Leadership Development in the Nonprofit Sector" provides emerging evidence of the benefits to nonprofit organizations, leaders, funders, and the sector.

This study exposes the myth that an executive sabbatical will be a chaotic disruption, finding instead that the creative disruption of a well-planned sabbatical can be productive for the entire leadership of an organization.

Organizational capacity is increased as the second tier of leadership takes on new responsibilities. Governance is strengthened as a result of the planning and learning that goes with a sabbatical process. Executive directors come back rejuvenated, with a fresh vision and innovative ideas, and tend to extend their tenure with the organization. And funders gain a deeper perspective on community needs from the feedback, networking, and innovative ideas that sabbatical alumni bring.

>>Read entire article