Learning From an Adaptive-Consultative Approach: One Foundation’s Experience in Creating Systems Change in Education

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  • This article describes a creative relationship between the Ball Foundation and the Rowland Unified School District. The approach was adopted by the Ball Foundation when they observed that grantees who had a closer relationship with them were more successful than those who had a more traditional relationship with them.
  • Based on the concept of “adaptive leadership,” the relationship allows for flexibility and a more collaborative approach between the foundation and grantee.
  • This approach requires both the funder and the grantee to be committed to learning and adapting strategies as needed to respond to both results and changing contexts.
  • The funder must have skills in facilitation and play a much greater role in implementation than in the typical funder-grantee relationship.

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