News and Insights

The Secret Sauce of Building Community Philanthropy

02/08/2016

Audrey Haberman, The Giving Practice | Over the course of four years, the Building Community Philanthropy (BCP) initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Pacific Northwest team has brought together 20 partners — United Ways, identity-based funds, tribal governments and community foundations — to learn together, challenge each other and shift the way they see their role in their communities. In short, to participate in a peer network that rewards honesty and authenticity while also receiving funding to test new ways of working, and transform their work in positive and meaningful ways. Ted Lord and I recently facilitated a two-day convening for this learning cohort.  We’ve noticed three key shifts that BCP has helped unlock: more »

Surfing the Boundary Between Order and Chaos

10/27/2015

Ted Lord, The Giving Practice | In my experience, philanthropy too often stays in its safe spot, privileging white-paper expertise over lived experience, inviting compliance rather than building a plan together with the deep understanding that participants bring multiple forms of capital — influence, lived experience, community connectedness, time and energy — in addition to potential grant dollars. Is philanthropy’s job to underwrite what has an established track record? Or is it to provide the risk capital for demonstration projects or the resources for best-in-class organizations to pursue their highest-return ideas? more »

Getting to the Acupuncture Point of Change in Conversations

07/13/2015

Ted Lord, Senior Partner, The Giving Practice | A board retreat. We had just spent 45 minutes parsing the difference between goals and objectives, and it felt like things were heading south. Participants didn’t want to do either the exercise or break into groups, they just seemed to want to argue about planning in general — not unsurprising, since the board had a broad representation of youth, business, government and nonprofits. Then my co-facilitator stood up and offered five minutes of theory on the four types of conversation and how they can either evolve or stay stuck. more »

Health, Families and Innovative Collaboration: A Field Trip to Spokane

06/15/2015

Ted Lord and Leslie Silverman, The Giving Practice | Members of the Philanthropist Forum, a collaborative of Washington and California funders focusing on child welfare issues and staffed by The Giving Practice, spent Wednesday, May 27 on an all-day site visit to Spokane hosted by Empire Health Foundation. Here's what they heard and saw. more »

Poster-based sorting exercise: Molly McLeod/Code for America

Sort It Out Amongst Yourselves

06/10/2015

Audrey Haberman, Managing Partner, The Giving Practice | People often assume that everyone else agrees on certain fundamentals like strategy, values or approach. Sometimes they do; other times not so much. To draw out these assumptions, we have used a range of sorting exercises that can be both enlightening and thought-provoking. more »

Matt Krzycki (Good Side Studio)

Partnership in Action: Philanthropy Responds to the SR530 Mudslide

03/20/2015

Marie Sauter & Audrey Haberman | One year ago, on March 22, 2014, a devastating landslide hit near the town of Oso, Washington. On this somber anniversary, Philanthropy Northwest and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would like to share a story of tremendous community resilience. We were honored to observe first-hand the roles of three of the many agencies and community members that worked closely together to meet the needs of people affected by the mudslide. more »

Why I Always Start a Meeting With a Check-In

01/07/2015

Ted Lord, Senior Partner, The Giving Practice | One antidote to over-designed collaboration is the check-in. Check-ins are a way to open every gathering, whether a generative conversation or an implementation meeting. They can be as simple as asking everyone to share their current personal weather or as corrective as asking participants to share one thing from the last meeting that shifted or hasn’t sat well. more »

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