What we're learning as we head toward our Sunset

What happens when a sleeping giant wakes?

What happens when a sleeping giant wakes?

In this Medium post, the Brainerd Foundation is pleased to highlight the work of our colleagues at the Conservation Alliance. Their work in defense of public lands is an object lesson in what 21st Century advocacy can look like.

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Finding a place under the big tent

Finding a place under the big tent

The Northwest Conservation Philanthropy Fellowship, a program operated by Social Venture Partners and funded by the Brainerd Foundation, was inspired by Paul Brainerd’s belief in the importance of passing the baton to a new generation of conservation philanthropists. Here’s the story of one participant’s philanthropic journey.

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What this moment demands of philanthropy

What this moment demands of philanthropy

These are extraordinary times for our country. At the Brainerd Foundation, we are focused on protecting the environment in the Pacific Northwest, but we recognize the challenge of this moment goes well beyond our air, land, and water.

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Finding a place under the big tent

The Northwest Conservation Philanthropy Fellowship, a program operated by Social Venture Partners and funded by the Brainerd Foundation, was inspired by Paul Brainerd’s belief in the importance of passing the baton to a new generation of conservation philanthropists. Here’s the story of one participant’s philanthropic journey.

Go »

What happens when a sleeping giant wakes?

In this Medium post, the Brainerd Foundation is pleased to highlight the work of our colleagues at the Conservation Alliance. Their work in defense of public lands is an object lesson in what 21st Century advocacy can look like.

Go »

Mid-Career Institute for Environmental Leaders

The Mid-Career Institute for Environmental Leaders (MIEL) at Seattle University is designed to enable mid-level nonprofit environmental leaders in the Northwest to assume larger leadership roles in their organizations. Its five-day residential program teaches strategy formation, adaptive leadership and organizational change, equity and environmental justice, fundraising and financial sustainability, and effective governance. Subsequently, participants receive a 360-degree leadership assessment and one-on-one coaching, and attend equity training and a virtual cohort gathering. The Brainerd Foundation recently invested in the development of this program and we’re pleased to partner with other foundations in sponsoring grantees to attend.

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Grantee Close-up: Emerging Leaders Board

In 2010, the Oregon Environmental Council created an Emerging Leaders Board to increase the engagement of younger Oregonians in its work. In 2016, the Brainerd Foundation took a closer look to see what we can learn from this approach. Our findings and advice for other organizations working to engage the next generation are available here.

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The Next Generation of Environmental Leaders: Opportunities for Investment and Action in the Northwest

For two decades, the Brainerd Foundation has invested in the capacity and leadership of environmental organizations to build power for conservation. As we trek towards our sunset in 2020, we are committed to strengthening the bench of new talent for the conservation movement. To help develop this initiative, Brainerd staff explored how we can best build the next generation of conservation leaders in the Northwest. Here's what we learned.

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Nonprofit Leadership Best Practices

At the Brainerd Foundation, we recognize that effective organizations practice leadership at all levels. Of course, leadership from the executive director and board are critical components to high functioning nonprofits, but senior management, junior staff, and volunteers should not be overlooked for their roles in strengthening overall organizational leadership now and in the future. Having supported capacity building since its inception, we offer here some of the best practices in the leadership of nonprofit organizations.

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Nonprofit Leadership Training Inventory

The Brainerd Foundation maintains this resource that provides information about various nonprofit leadership training programs and providers.

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Leadership Self-Assessment Tool

The Brainerd Foundation created this tool based upon the Capacity Assessment Tool created by McKinsey and Company for Venture Philanthropy Partners. It is designed to help you evaluate your organization against best practices in the leadership of nonprofit organizations. We hope it will provide fodder for internal discussion about the effectiveness of your organization and opportunities for support of your capacity aspirations.

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Building Executive Leadership Capacity

Recognizing the role that leadership plays in the effectiveness of our grantees, our foundation has grappled with how groups support leadership in ways that will ensure high performing organizations. To explore these questions more deeply, we contracted with Janna Rolland, a consultant with extensive experience in both nonprofit management and leadership. The findings of her research are available here.

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Restrictions on Lobbying Activities

Private foundations, such as the Brainerd Foundation, are prohibited from earmarking funds for lobbying activities. This memo provides helpful information for grant applicants, particularly advocacy organizations, who must be sensitive to these legal issues in soliciting private foundations for support.

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