Generating ideas, connections, and action


Creating Space 2019 - Tell us what you think!

The LLC team is excited to be working on the next Creating Space event, tentatively planned for Fall 2019 in Detroit, MI. Creating Space was

first held in 1998 to test the idea that people doing leadership development would benefit from connecting our learning and that first Creating Space became the mandate for LLC's formation two years later. Creating Space is a truly innovative event which brings together practitioners, funders, evaluators, students, and others passionate about leadership. This event is unlike other conferences, and is more akin to an “unconference.” Creating Space is a gathering that allows folks to build authentic relationships and think differently while learning and sharing new tools, practices, and ways of being. Since LLC strives to walk it as we talk it, Creating Space intentionally embodies LLC’s core values. Because equity is an essential value for LLC, we intend for Creating Space to be a convening which pushes the edges of centering equity, particularly centering directly impacted people.

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An Update : The Next Frontier For The Leadership Learning Community

It has been four months since LLC has gone virtual. As you may recall, at the end of March, LLC decided to give up our Oakland office and have our staff work from home. As promised, we thought now might be a good time to share what we have learned during this process.


The Scoop


Working remotely has had several advantages. As an organization, our overhead is much much lower, individually our daily commute time has significantly decreased,which means less time stressing over traffic. Though there are core hours we commit to daily, there are times when we each may need some flexibility and we are easily and smoothly able to transition between work and life. For example, when we were all able to walk to our voting sites for the primaries for a few minutes and return to work quickly without any added commute.

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The Next Frontier For The Leadership Learning Community By Deborah Meehan & Miriam Persley

As an organization, we have always prided ourselves on being experimental and pushing the edge and in 2016 we will be honoring that part of ourselves. LLC is making some big moves this month. After many years of partnership with Tides, LLC is changing fiscal sponsors. Beginning tomorrow, LLC will be fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives. Ultimately this change will position us for more changes in the near future which are in-line with our results-based strategic planning and have been approved by our board after much deliberation and planning.


What does it mean?

For LLC, it means a change in our legal identity. Our new identity will be held by Community Initiatives. Community Initiatives is a fiscal sponsorship organization that was established 20 years ago by The San Francisco Foundation, but became it’s own organization outside of the Foundation 8 years ago. It may take us  some time to transfer everything over, so bear with us, but in the next few weeks you’ll notice our identity changing subtly. For instance, our website and donation page will be updated and our main phone number is now a mobile number so you can now text us too.

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Guest Blog Post by Lori Lobenstine: Tricks for Innovation: Boston Innovation Lab

Guest blog from Lori Lobenstine, from the Design Studio for Social Intervention

At the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), one thing we've learned over time is that coming up with new ideas is more than a matter of being asked. Even when people are asked to "think outside the box," we tend to have a hard time getting away from the things that limit our thinking. In the nonprofit sector, those things include: "Is this fundable?" "Do we have the staff to do this?" and "Does this sound too crazy?" among others. Youth are not immune to the challenges of innovation either. Sometimes in youth programs we feel that "youth know what youth want", and if we just get out of their way, they'll come up with the perfect idea. While youth are just as likely as adults to come up with a good idea, they also have the same challenges and needs for tools to help them think creatively.

We were excited by the possibility of co-leading an
Innovation Lab with the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) that was focused on developing leadership, especially when we talked with Claire Reinelt, LLC’s Evaluation Director, and found out that we could really think at a large scale. The very question that Claire posed, "How do we support and catalyze 1000s of leaders with a passion and a vision for whole child development in vulnerable communities?" meant that neither we nor our participants could think in traditional ways about leadership development. It was time to imagine entirely new possibilities for LD! 

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Nonprofit Leadership News Brief: Week of September 26th

On the Future of Philanthropy...

  • The Stanford Social Innovation Review has an article talking about the changing face of philanthropy. The new generation of philanthropist are young, skilled and tech-savvy individuals. They desire to share their fortune in the same focused manner they have acquired it, by using their knowledge and skills to work on their passions. As larger foundations have been scaling back their contributions, these smaller mid-sized foundations have been increasing both their donation size and number of donations. With online giving associations such as Kiva popping up, perhaps the next wave will include donor-matching organizations that will match foundations with nonprofits as easily as Flixster makes movie recommendations.
  • Information is becoming more and more key in the modern era. Foundations are finding they can further their goals of philanthropy through information distribution, but with the sunset of traditional media sources such as newspapers, that task is somewhat complicated. The CT Mirror and the New Haven Independent are part of a new trend and a new experiment. Both are funded by organizations instead of being profit based and both have hired social media strategists to increase their engagement online. 

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News Brief: Week of July 25th

On Transparency...

  • The Packard Foundation talks again on their "glass filing cabinet" transparency and what they have learned from it. One important lesson is that creating useful transparency encouraging people to comment and collaborate on provided data involves properly sorting and preparing the data so it can be presented in an easily accessible format. Simply viewing unsorted information can be like drinking from a fire hose.

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Leadership and Innovation: Three questions we should be asking ourselves


Are nonprofit leaders producing innovation and break through change?

In the past twenty years, have we made impressive progress on even one significant social problem (hunger, poverty, environmental degradation…take your pick)? Beth Kanter, a leading nonprofit blogger suggests we haven’t, “There has been an explosion in size of the nonprofit sector over the last twenty years, huge increases in donations and number of organizations, and yet the needle hasn’t moved on any serious social issue. Growing individual institutions ever larger has failed to address complex social problems that outpace the capacity of any individual organization or institution to solve them.” Whether we agree with the extent of the problem, it would be hard to disagree that we have a problem calling desperately for innovation. Among the proponents of strategies that promise innovation there is one common thread, it’s the work of many! Investing in individuals will not seed innovation and breakthrough change. read more »

News Alert: Networks, Innovation, and Transparency!


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  • A report, Network Evaluation: Cultivating Healthy Networks for Social Change, released by Centre for Social Innovation and Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, examines the theory and practice of network evaluation.  The think tank’s goal was to develop a series of tools and strategies for evaluation that were unique to networks, as opposed to being adequate for other types of evaluation efforts.  The publication includes  background information and a framework for network evaluation.
  • LinkedIn recently launched InMaps, a project that visually demonstrates all of the connections within a business network.  It helps users see connections, bridges, and influencers (all with different visual designations) so that they can see the depth of their network and can understand how to utilize it.
  • On her blog, Beth Kanter shares a photo that was tweeted by the National Wildlife Federation that shows a network mapped out with sticky notes.  Kanter discusses reasons why visualizing networks is essential: “mapping can be really valuable for understanding relationship networks by visualizing and seeing patterns and connections… Networks are more than random gatherings of people and organizations online.  Social networks have specific structures and patterns to them.”

Nonprofit Leadership Weekly News Update: Networks, Collaboration, Learning

 On Networks...

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  • Valdis Krebs, the Founder and Chief Scientist at, shares his thoughts on “thriveability” and on social network analysis (SNA).  SNA – the "mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers, URLs, and other connected information/knowledge entities” – either supports or constrains cultural, organizational, and individual change.  It is the structures that maximize emergence, learning, agility, and adaptability that prompt positive change by properly preparing people for the unknown, Krebs says, while “highly homophilious networks” will only hinder us.  Leadership, also, and emerging ideas about different types of leadership, are prevalent and encouraged in networks.
  • Weaving, “an intentional practice of helping people connect to information, opportunity, each other and, most importantly, their own personal power," is propelled by institutional “helping” spaces.  In a powerful blog post, Bill Traynor of Lawrence CommunityWorks Inc., explains the importance of creating these spaces and methods by which to do so.
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