Philanthropy on the Fringe | PEAK Insight Journal
Issue 4

Philanthropy on the Fringe

Change, disruption, risk… these are everyone’s favorite concepts, right? Probably not. But embracing the reality of these ideas – welcoming them, even – can make organizations and partnerships stronger. If we envision foundations as living entities, we have to account for evolution. And that means allowing room for things to go wrong.

Working within an environment that encourages learning from failure makes this much easier. Organizational cultures can encourage or discourage honesty and candid exploration. Which does yours do? Think about how your team would react if things went radically off plan. If failure sparks conversations about process and relationships, or if it forces grants teams to flex across arbitrary lines in the sand – is it really that bad? When things fall apart and you must start over from scratch, the opportunity is there to analyze and communicate within your group and forge new paths together. It’s amazing the things even senior members of the field can learn if every potentially risky tactic or partnership is not approached like a win-or-die situation.

In this issue of GMNsight: Philanthropy on the Fringe, we’re looking at examples of limits tested and boundaries crossed in the name of organizational and team growth. Risking failure is uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s sometimes downright painful. But, it’s necessary.

 

The Value of Universal Outcomes

The Value of Universal Outcomes

The social sector has long struggled to organize, measure, and understand social change. And, though we have made many important strides, like developing improved reporting and outcomes tracking software, evaluators still face a number of obstacles in their attempts to measure and demonstrate the value of social impact programs. To better measure social impact, we need standardization to compare social programs and gain insights into what really works. Unfortunately, the sector has failed in our attempts to standardize metrics because every organization uses different strategies to accomplish their goals.  After years of experience helping nonprofits evaluate their work, my “aha”
blue moon fund: a Model for Future Philanthropy

blue moon fund: a Model for Future Philanthropy

Change, whether large or small, disrupts convention and invites collaboration and innovation. Effective leaders harness the power of change to bring new executions to well-established ideas. In philanthropy, foundations are altering their organizational structure and approach to effect change. The blue moon fund is a dynamic foundation transforming the grant making process and creating a new philanthropic venture. Twelve years ago, blue moon opened its doors in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organization was established by Diane Edgerton Miller and Patricia Jones Edgerton; together, they shared more than 70 years of experience in philanthropy.  The fund emerged from the 2001 restructuring of