Generating ideas, connections, and action

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Leadership and Imagination: A cool story, resources, and tools

Really, the only way to start this blog is with a story I heard from Irvans Augustin of Urban Impact Labs, at a convening of the Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunities Initiative funded by the Kresge Foundation. A group of organizers in Miami wanted to do something about transit problems.They looked at the lack of transit access in high-density neighborhoods where the FEC railroad line passed and didn’t stop. They brought together community organizations and identified a perfect underpass parking space for a pop-up train station adjacent to the FEC line that would be an ideal transit stop. They came up with a brand for a transit system, the Purple Line, a transit line that would provide equitable service to neighborhoods throughout the city. They then began to plan a train station opening at this location and with the social media buzz in people’s minds it became a real grand opening for a train station. Within a couple of months’ people started coming up and saying how cool that there would be a station in this location. For the weekend-long grand opening, 25 collaborating businesses organized the event with container cars, artists who decorated the parking lot with transit maps, train noises, local restaurants serving food and a DIY crosswalk. Thousands of people attended the Purple Line opening, and many expected a grand opening for an actual train station. Even a public official who thought it was a real train station opening showed up.

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An Excited Welcome to Eleanor and Tiffany -- Two New Members of Our Team

If you call into Leadership Learning Community this month, you may very well hear two new voices on the line. We're excited to welcome our new staff members: Eleanor and Tiffany. Both of them are working part-time to manage the office, as fits their schedule over the next few months.

Eleanor will be joining us in the mornings. She will be in charge of much of our office management and work with contracts in communication with our fiscal partner Tides. Luckily for us, she is a morning person and will keep things running smoothly while the rest of us are undercaffeinated. She has already been a "part" of our office for quite some time, as she works for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth in the afternoon, the awesome organization that shares our open office space.

 

When asked about working for LLC, Eleanor said, "I have long admired the LLC team from my desk next door- and now I am overjoyed to be a part of it. Each morning I look up at the LLC Mission and Values and think 'Hey- Right On!' This is definitely a community I am proud to support." read more »

Leadership Learning Community: Survey Findings -- What We Are Learning About Our Community

By Deborah Meehan and Natalia Castaneda

 

First, a big “thank you!” to all of you who took time to complete a survey to help us learn more about our community.  We received 181 responses and wanted to share some of the key insights and provocative questions that your responses helped to surface.

Many of you who responded are relatively new to LLC and have connected to us primarily through our webinars and the resources available on our website.  At LLC we have been talking about the changing nature of the relationship we have with our community. We believe there are several factors contributing to this change.  After bringing on a fabulous marketing director, our reach has expanded tremendously.  In the past two years the number of people subscribing to our newsletter, which is our primary channel for communication, has increased from 1,000 to nearly 3,000.  Attracting a much larger group of people who are more broadly distributed around the US, and the globe for that matter, has transformed the way we connect from what had been face-to-face learning events to a more virtual exchange of ideas and resources. As the economy has taken a toll on travel budgets for leadership program staff and made it more difficult for us to raise funds for convenings, we have not been able to hold our national meeting Creating Space for the past couple of years.

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LLC Survey: Help Us Understand How to Support Your Leadership Work

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It's the New Year and we want to learn more about our community!

First, thank you for being an integral part of the LLC network. Together, we work to leverage leadership as a means to create a more just and equitable society. We are committed to transforming the leadership development field, and to understanding how leadership is practiced and evaluated in the nonprofit sector and beyond.

Over the past two years, our membership community has grown significantly to over 2,500 members across the nation, comprising a broad network of funders, practitioners, researchers and consultants. You are part of this network, and your feedback is important. We hope that you will take this short survey of approximately 7-10 minutes. We want to learn from everyone who has interacted with LLC - event participants, blog readers, long-time advocates, etc. Survey responses will help us better serve our community and mission in both efficient and innovative ways.

By completing the survey, you will participate in a raffle to win one of 5 Amazon gift cards for $25 (if you do not want to participate in the raffle, please indicate your preference at the end of the survey). Please complete the survey by February 6, 2012. If you have any questions please contact us. read more »

What makes a community able to take effective action? Is this a leadership question?

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 We have been involved in a number of conversations lately about how to support leadership in communities so that a community is able to come to agreements on what is most urgent and coordinate their efforts to take effective action to tackle problems or respond to opportunities.  There is growing recognition that the best solutions emerge when people who are directly affected by a problem are the ones making decisions about how to respond.  For foundations who agree with this and want to support communities this means figuring out how to invest in a community’s ability rather than funding a specific solution or work on a problem chosen by people who are not well connected within the community.  (Of course there can be many ways of thinking about what constitutes a community, e.g. a shared identity, a common purpose, or proximity.  For the purpose of this conversation we want to focus on place.) 

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Weekly News Brief: Program Evaluation, Community, Collaboration

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•     "6 Powerful Tips for Philanthropy Leaders" 
        Author:  Stanford Innovation Social Review                                                                    
        Date:  Spring 2010
        Source:  Stanford Innovation Social Review
        URL:   http://www.ssireview.org/philanthropytips
This article provides a brief summary  of each of the six tips and includes links to other articles in the Stanford Social Innovation Review for a more in-depth examination.  Examples of topics covered include being a catalyst for change and evaluating programs to create long-term strategies.   read more »

Weekly News Alert: Community Engagement, the Power of Networking, Self-Organizing and Design Thinking!

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On Community Transformation and Engagement... read more »

  • We know that cities and communities are constantly changing and we often attributethe change to economic factors (think Detroit) or specific circumstantial or environmental factors (think New Orleans), but a blog post from nuPolis argues that there are intentional cultural factors that lead a community to change as well.   According to the article there are three dynamics – shared vision and goals, social engagement, and systemic improvement – that, if unleashed, have the potential to fundamentally change a community.  It is by unleashing these cultural components that communities can address issues such as economic capacity, poverty levels, and increased interaction with a larger region.

Weekly News Alert: Evaluation, Innovation and Women in the Workplace

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On Evaluation... read more »

  • Donors looking to make donations to non-profit organizations have recently been encouraged to look at program evaluation in order to measure the organization’s impact rather than looking at financial ratios.  However, PhilanTopic publishes a post explaining that while it is true that program evaluation is important, financial evaluation is important as well.  An organization’s financial stability, its ability to service any debt it has and how much money it has raised in excess of expenses can be learned from financial evaluation; all of these should be important factors for donors when deciding which organization they would like to donate to.

A ‘Gift Economy’ Approach to Nurture Our Community

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At the Leadership Learning Community, we strive to be an open community where members can exchange ideas and information in a safe, collaborative environment. We capture the learning and insights on our wikis and website, in an effort to open up the access to information so those interested in leadership development for social justice are better equipped to move the needle in their own work. We have successfully grown a community of hundreds of individuals and organizations across the nation, and have built a central repository where anyone can access information at no cost. We are extremely proud of our model – but we want more. To advance true change, we need to scale the level of connections and information exchange to higher levels. read more »

News News Alert: 09/03/09 - 09/10/09

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On Networking, Community and Storytelling read more »

  • "Network weavers", or “people who intentionally and informally weave new and richer connections between and among people, groups and entities in networks” play a large role in organizing and bringing together communities.  They are leaders who unite people who have similar interests and goals and are strong networkers.  Their impact can be measured by “social network mapping” which is a visual representation of a network.  The representation itself also helps to build community.
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