Generating ideas, connections, and action


Cost Benefit Analyses for Leadership Programs

LLC asked The Center for Assessment and Policy Development to investigate how leadership programs think about their benefits in relationship to their costs. The purpose of this project was to glean ideas and lessons from three case studies that would be useful to other programs that are considering doing a cost/benefit analysis of their work.
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Leading Edge Promising Practices in Leadership Development

A growing emphasis is being placed on how to support a critical mass of leaders who mobilize their resources to catalyze large-scale sustainable change. With support of the Packard Foundation, and in the context of their Population Leadership Initiative, LLC staff identified and shared promising practices for collective and individual leadership development based on what we have learned through our work during the past 10 years.
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Cultivating Leadership Through Social Change Initiatives

How does leadership get cultivated within a broad social change initiative? This brief describes the variety of ways in which leadership was developed and strengthened within a ten-year Community Clinics Initiative (CCI) in California. While CCI’s experience focuses specifically on the community clinics field, the lessons about leadership are applicable to other large-scale efforts to catalyze social change. This brief is designed to inform grantmakers’ and nonprofit practitioners’ thinking and decision making about how to support and advance leadership among individuals, organizations, networks and the nonprofit sector more broadly. read more »

Building Organizations in a Movement Moment

I just read a fascinating article I thought would be of interest to the Leadership Learning Community. Authors Beth Zemsky and David Mann in their article Building Organizations in a Movement Moment describe how we are in a “movement moment.” This is being demonstrated in the ways that group identities are being reframed, new coalitions and partnerships are forming, connections among issues are being articulated, and there is greater focus on systemic change. So what does this movement moment mean for organizations? According to the authors, there is a blurring of organizational lines in structures, strategies and in how the actual work gets done. The article distinguishes “social change organizations” and “social movement organizations” and suggests that the planning process for each type of organization is radically different. read more »

Resources for Connected Nonprofit Leadership: A Collection of Research

For the past five months, Impact Brokers-a cooperative of nonprofits, investors, consultants and community partners coming together to improve our collective capacity to tackle complex social challenges-has had a presense here on the Leadership Learning Community blog. We've thoroughly enjoyed using this space as a means of reflecting on our work and related issues like the value of networks for nonprofits and their constituents, the meaning of shared leadership and leadership as a process, and the pros and cons of nonprofit culture. We hope these blog posts have had some value for others interested in the same topics. As a more tangible offerring, Impact Brokers is sharing the attached document for your reading pleasure. It is a collection of more than 20 research items and readings that make up the basis for Impact Brokers activities. It includes links and abstracts of titles in three main sections: read more »

Network for Change


I once worked for a nonprofit designing treatment programs for inmates in correctional facilities. My mentors there taught me that a good leader surrounds herself with people who have strengths she does not so that the leader’s team is ready to deal with as many potentialities as possible. I believe this is the same thinking behind the advice to be mission focused, not focused on the organization. What good does it do the organizations in Impact Brokers to be stable, salient, long standing, etc, if that doesn’t translate into: less homeless women and children; more volunteers for local non profits; healthier youth? read more »

Yes we can! ....But how? *

* the election-specific responses are the personal opinions of Deborah Meehan and not of the Leadership Learning Community or The Tides Center (the 501c3 charity, which is by definition non-partisan). I found myself completely swept up in the election fervor this year. It was contagious and I know where I caught it, my daughters! I was curious, hopeful and undecided over a year ago when my daughter talked me into attending an Obama rally in San Francisco. I was immediately hooked. read more »

Participate in Shaping our Upcoming Creating Space Meeting in Oakland on May 20-22, 2009

Creating Space, the annual gathering hosted by the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) is scheduled for its ninth year May 20-22, 2009 in Oakland, CA. This year's gathering will be jointly hosted with the Tides Center, which supports a wide range of projects (including LLC) that work on social justice issues. In the wake of the recent election, what questions are you asking? Questions we have heard include: read more »

  • What do we need to do to deliver on the promise of change?
  • What opportunities can we create to work more effectively across our different issues and communities to create a better and more just future for all?
  • How do we open up the leadership paradigm to be more inclusive?

A New Culture for the Non Profit Sector: The Culture of Impact Brokers

Janice Epstein

In an online article titled “ Are Nonprofits Terrible Tech Clients?,” Holly Ross responds to the complaint that non profits are hard for technology providers (read: for-profits) to work with because they demand more and want it for less:
"Most funders won't pay admin costs. Donors expect increasingly large percentages of every dollar to go straight to program. We're not supposed to spend money on rent, phones, or, god forbid, computers. We're not supposed to hire the staff that keep our nonprofits humming -- the bookkeepers and admin folks. And we're not supposed to pay very much to anyone. That's the culture we live in. I don't like it. I wish our culture believed that nonprofits should be well-staffed and have adequate infrastructures. But that's not where we're at right now." read more »

The Lab-Social Capital: What’s Leadership Got To Do With It?

Janice Epstein

Over the 100 plus years of its use, the term social capital has acquired different meanings depending on the context of its usage-economics, politics, sociology. At the risk of oversimplifying the concept, I like Wikipedia’s succinct definition of social capital: “the advantages available to a person or group of people through their position in a network of relationships.” Impact Brokers (IB) is very interested in the social capital of both its members and its members’ constituents. read more »