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LLC Staff's blog

Guest Blog: Reflections from the Funders Evaluators’ Meeting by Sally Leiderman

I am a proud member of the Funders/Evaluators Circle of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC). I have always been impressed by the way LLC, and particularly Deborah and Claire, embody the ethics they espouse. They ask the hard questions about leadership development, redistribute resources to the LLC network (seed grants, evaluation opportunities, access to useful contacts), and collaborate, rather than compete, in a great deal of their work.

CAPD and I have often been beneficiaries of LLC’s fidelity to its principles. Most recently, I had a chance to be part of a Funders/Evaluators convening designed to look at ways that leadership development evaluation can support learning about the contribution of leaders and leadership to large scale social change. I have also had the opportunity to contribute to the resulting report: Leadership & Large Scale Change: How to Accelerate Learning and Deepen Impact. The convening, and the report, were organized around some of the thorniest questions in leadership development, and in its evaluation: what are rigorous ways to assess the contribution of a leadership development effort to population and community level outcomes, particularly in complex efforts with many actors and hard-to-see immediate change? How do we draw a path from supports to identify, strengthen and activate the capacities of leadership to their application and results? And, in the absence of random assignment, how do we know the value-added of those activities for individuals, cohorts and networks already on a path of leadership? As Claire Reinelt noted in last month’s blog post, the report describes several different approaches people are using that are pushing this work ahead.

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Guest Blog Post | CompassPoint of Views: Reflecting on Charleston

This article was originally posted on CompassPoint' Nonprofit Services' newsletter and is reprinted, with permission from both CompassPoint and Kad Smith.

Like you, we've been watching with anger, fear, frustration, and deep sadness at the events that unfolded in Charleston this past week. In a year where the trauma of violence against black lives and bodies has been acutely present in our communities, this act of racist terrorism cuts deeply into fresh wounds. Where do we go from here and how do we come together to take on the systems of racism and oppression that lay the groundwork for this kind of violence? As we grapple with the work ahead of us and create spaces for healing in light of despair, we wanted to take a moment to share some of our own thoughts and feelings, elevate some of the voices and calls-to-action that are resonating with us at CompassPoint, and honor the lives and memories of the nine victims: 
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Webinar Recap: Strengthening Network Practice Through Evaluation | July 2015

Growing numbers of social change agents are building networks to increase impact. Using real-life case examples, this webinar offered an introduction to basic network concepts and approaches with an emphasis on how practitioners can strengthen their network through systematic monitoring and evaluation. 
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CCL Announcement | Leadership Development Programs Please Take This 15 minute survey

The Center for Creative Leadership: As part of their ongoing networks research,  CCL is conducting a survey to learn more about the ways in which organizations are developing and leveraging relationships among individuals, teams, and business units. They are seeking responses from both practicing leadership development professionals as well as individuals who have participated in leadership development activities within the past year. By leadership development, they are referring to activities aimed at improving individuals’ abilities to lead as well as activities designed to enhance the leadership capacity of teams, groups, departments, organizations, and other collectives.
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Guest Blog: Practicing What I Preach: Creating a network to study and advance networks for impact by Jane Wei-Skillern

By Jane Wei-Skillern originally posted to Berkeley Haas School of Business' Center for Social Sector Leadership reposted with permission. 

have been doing research and teaching in the social impact field for fifteen years and have met countless social sector leaders over the course of my career. While I am always impressed by the good intentions and the drive of these leaders, only on rare occasions will I find a ‘needle in a haystack’. A leader that works tirelessly with a single-minded focus on advancing the mission rather than their organization, a leader who is better at being humble than at self promotion, works well with trusted peers and routinely advances the field ahead of their own interests. These are some of the most accomplished leaders that you likely have never heard of. They have helped to generate social impact efficiently, effectively, and sustainably in fields as wide ranging as environmental conservation/climate change, housing, education, international development, economic development, animal welfare, and health, among others. These leaders have achieved tremendous leverage on their own resources by catalyzing networks directly with the communities that they serve and supporting the development of local capacity to serve these needs on an ongoing basis.

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Threads Around the Country


The Independent Sector has identified nine key trends, obstacles, and opportunities that will shape the charitable sector in the next 20 years..

Threads is a national effort to pull together a vibrant cross-section of leaders and practitioners to meet face-to-face to collectively explore what's working in our communities. What's not? What's threatening? Inspiring? Frustrating? Scalable? Possible?


The conversations are designed to “weave diverse threads into the fabric of a stronger future.”

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Network Leadership Webinar Series: A Collaboration Between LLC, CCL, and NYU Wagner School of Public Service

We are launching a webinar series to provide a space for practitioners and researchers in both the leadership and network development areas to connect and learn from each other. Often these groups are not connected and we want to build awareness and even collaboration across the research – practice divide. We will focus on the intersection of leadership and network development. After clarifying the various ways in which leadership and networks intersect, we will consider the following questions: what does it mean for people in networks who see the need to be more intentional about developing leadership, and what does it mean for leadership development practitioners to design and deliver programs that better equip their participants to effectively utilize network strategies and tools.



Participation is FREE and funding is covered separately by Leadership Learning Community, NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and the Center for Creative Leadership    

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Guest Blog by Cynthia Chavez: The Promise and Potential of Place-Based Leadership Programs

LS Participants Team-BuildingIn the early 1990s, I had an inspiring mentor, Dr. Norm Brown, then-President of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Brown was a great believer in the value of nonprofit leadership development. He encouraged me to participate in a variety of such national programs. Dr. Brown also enthusiastically introduced me to the concept of place-based leadership development. His excitement was contagious: for 15 years now, I have been at the helm of LeaderSpring, an Oakland, California-based organization that explores the power and promise of leadership development within a place-based strategy.

Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity, the new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), invites further exploration into the impacts of place-based leadership development strategies. The growing interest in place-based initiatives complements what we’ve realized for some time – that place-based approaches offer effective strategies to boost impact, especially in addressing issues like poverty. The field also has accumulated a critical mass of experience and informed insight on such initiatives. LeaderSpring’s 18 years of combining a place-based strategy with a peer-based cohort leadership development model yields some core reflections:
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Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Lessons from the Pioneers in Justice Leadership Program

By Heather McLeod Grant and Daniel Lee

As leaders of nonprofits know, the social sector is at a critical inflection point, with external forces challenging many of our old ways of working. As the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) and others have written, new technologies are disrupting traditional approaches and breaking down silos within and between organizations. Simultaneously, collaboration and "networking" is becoming the new norm, rather than the exception.

In response to these trends, in 2010 the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) launched a program called Pioneers in Justice, offering intense support to a cohort of Bay Area Gen X leaders who had recently become executive directors of legacy social justice organizations. Over the past few years, with more than $3M invested in capacity-building, collaboration grants, and convening for peer learning, the program has helped these nonprofits leaders build their social media skills, transform their organizations, and mobilize larger networks and movements to drive greater social impact.

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