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Vision and Voice: The Role of Leadership and Dialogue in Advancing Diversity, Equity, and inclusion

This year-long study surfaced two key findings for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion — organizational culture is central; and leaders need support from peer networks. The study also surfaced corresponding practical lessons: Leadership, from the CEO in particular, is critical to advance this work. Changing an organizational culture requires leaders to foster an environment that encourages learning. Talking with board and staff about race, sexual orientation, disability, class and other forms of inequality is difficult and complex, but essential. Experimenting is good, particularly when it comes to policies and practices to recruit and retain diverse candidates. Sharing life experiences builds trust. Read more





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A Call to Action: Trustee Advocacy to Advance Opportunity for Black Communities in Philanthropy

This Call to Action encourages foundation Trustees to increase the representation of Black leadership among foundations’ staff, vendors, consultants and grantees. It emerges from the Association of Black Foundation’s (ABFE) initiative, “Leverage the Trust”, which promotes the role of Black Trustees in making philanthropy more responsive to Black communities.







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Who Becomes a Foundation CEO? An Analysis of Hiring Patterns, 2004-2008

This study provided baseline data about the professional and individual characteristics of 440 candidates selected to be the top executive in a grantmaking institution during a five-year study period (2004-2008), and about the hiring patterns of the diverse institutions making these appointments. Most new chief executive officers (79.5 percent) were not hired from within the same foundation. The percentage of external appointments grew in each successive year of the study period. Most new foundation CEOs (67 percent) were not working for a grantmaking institution when they were appointed. This majority made the transition from fields outside of philanthropy, such as Read more





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Assessing Nonprofits’ Communications Capacity: An Online Self-Assessment Tool

Foundations increasingly recognize the importance of strategic and effective communications to advance their social-change goals. This article provides a framework that helps foundations to better understand the communications capacity of their grantee partners. Based on a detailed analysis of a survey of 529 foundations, universities and nonprofits, the authors created a six-point index that identifies the characteristics and practices of organizations that are ranked as highly effective at using communications to advance their goals. The six indicators are: Involvement of organization leadership in communications, communications planning and organization-wide planning, staffing and the use of outside expertise, donor understanding and support Read more





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Leadership Development in the Social Sector: A Framework for Supporting Strategic Investments

While much of the research on leadership and leadership development has historically studied private sector settings, recent work has begun to build knowledge about leaders in public and community settings. New models of leadership, including collective leadership, are being developed and implemented by foundations. A framework for identifying the level of intervention (individual, team, organization, network, or system) and the level of impact (individual, team, organization, community, or field of policy and practice) is proposed as a tool for more strategic investing in leadership development.