On the Art of Exiting Well

“As much as we love our students, we want them to leave after they’ve been successful.” The room filled with chuckles as university coordinators resonated with Lynda’s statement. The mark of a successful student is their ability to be launched from their post-secondary foundation into employment or graduate opportunities. As much as an institution may have loved the student or bonded over the progress made … Continue reading On the Art of Exiting Well

Hands-On Investing

Grantmaking can be likened to investing. The role of strategic grantmakers can therefore be likened to that of a money manager. Instead of a financial return, foundations seek a social change, which is much harder to measure. But the concept is similar. Philanthropy invests in ideas, people and organizations. Good foundations diligently check the people and the organization and debate the ideas and missions behind … Continue reading Hands-On Investing

A Lesson in Humility

When FSDB made the request to use JSF funds for a playground I remember thinking that a new playground would certainly be a nice thing for FSDB, but it didn’t seem very high on the priority scale for educating deaf and blind children. It was a close call, but we ultimately deferred to our grantee’s good judgment. And when Tanya suggested during our site visit … Continue reading A Lesson in Humility

The Intersection of Ideas and Pragmatism

Albert Whitaker’s review of the philanthropic tome, Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy, identifies the conundrum of professional grant making. He describes the book as a “powerful attack on professionalism, written in the most professional terms and style.” Professionalism is attacked because it robs philanthropy of its passion and innovation: “While grant making professionals may have the best of intentions… something is still … Continue reading The Intersection of Ideas and Pragmatism