Exponent Philanthropy

About Philanthropy Lessons

Philanthropy Lessons is a video series and campaign produced by Exponent Philanthropy, funded by the Fund for Shared Insight, and released in partnership with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Together, to help others be more effective and efficient in creating the change they want to see in the world, we are sharing words of wisdom from some of our industry’s most inspirational funders about what they have learned throughout their philanthropic careers.

We invite funders to share your philanthropy lessons as we work to increase openness in the field and accelerate effective philanthropy. Read more >>

 

All Videos

  • by exponent May 10th, 2016

    [Over the past 20 years] I have changed in my understanding of my various roles in philanthropy and the value I bring to those roles. Twenty years ago I thought if I could just be the smartest person in the room I would be a valuable asset because I would have all the answers. I am not exactly sure when I realized that my pursuit was not only an impossibility, but the wrong goal.

    (more…)

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  • by Carrie Avery, The Durfee Foundation May 8th, 2016

    I was excited when a colleague told me about her idea for a grant program to help retiring baby boomer executive directors of nonprofits transition out of their roles and into consulting positions at other nonprofits. I thought this was genius. Not only did it address an issue that funders have been discussing for a long time—the need to smooth the transition of outgoing EDs and pave the way for new talent—but it provided wise counsel to mid-sized nonprofits in need of senior staff. Thinking that this was a program that Durfee could launch, I presented it to my board. They shared my enthusiasm and signed off on planning funding.

    (more…)

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  • by Michael Corley, The Patterson April 2nd, 2016

    You have a good idea for your organization. You have the opportunity to receive free consulting to help implement that idea. However, you aren’t sure your organization has the capacity to execute on that idea. What do you do? Do you take the valuable, free consulting or not?  (more…)

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  • by Rob DiLeonardi, VNA Foundation March 30th, 2016

    Not all that much good comes with getting older, but one exception is time spent with the best teacher of all: experience.  (more…)

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  • by exponent March 28th, 2016

    Foundations are only meeting three or four times a year if you are lucky, so your window for training opportunities can be very small.   (more…)

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  • by Jamie French, The French Foundation March 26th, 2016

    If you believe passionately in the mission of an organization, you’ve got to commit and call on your networks. Maybe I can’t give a five- or six-figure gift personally, but I can engage others and piece together the total.

    Share Your Philanthropy Lesson for the benefit of others

    Excerpted from philanthrofiles.org

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  • by Sasha Rabsey, The How Fund March 24th, 2016

    As funders, we go to conferences and talk about our grantees, but our grantees are rarely in the room. I felt the conversations were going nowhere.  (more…)

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    No Comments On Building Relationships That Run Deep

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  • by Colleen O’Keefe, Sauer Children’s Renew Foundation March 23rd, 2016

    “Bad systems will trump good programs every time,” I remember hearing from Annie E. Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy. We need movements working to improve our systems. (more…)

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  • by Jenna Wachtmann, Ball Brothers Foundation February 23rd, 2016

    A fair number of the grantmakers I came into contact with during my years writing and managing grants were cognizant of the power dynamics inherent in grantor/grantee relationships. They treated me and the organization I worked for with respect, listening intently and making themselves available to provide guidance and support. These grantmakers recognized that developing authentic relationships with their grantees led to honest conversations and, ultimately, better outcomes. (more…)

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    No Comments On We don’t get it right every time, but we’re working on it!

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  • by Lisa Tessarowicz, The CALM Foundation January 25th, 2016

    It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, and it’s okay to not know the answer. We need to experiment more and think critically about how we give away money and the impact we’re trying to have. I make uncollateralized loans to nonprofits, but none has been fully repaid yet, making my efforts an experiment in success. I wish more foundations were comfortable with failure.  (more…)

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