What we're learning as we head toward our Sunset

Ten years from now, who will lead us?

Ten years from now, who will lead us?

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a leadership crisis and as funders we need to step up. Since we first opened our doors, we’ve invested in building the capacity and leadership of environmental organizations in the Northwest. We know more needs to be done.

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Hope is not a strategy. A champion is.

Hope is not a strategy. A champion is.

We asked our colleague Rick Johnson to share one of the big lessons his organization (a long-time Brainerd grantee) has learned about making conservation progress in a deeply red state. Here’s his story.

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How we're helping to seed new philanthropy

How we're helping to seed new philanthropy

It all began six years ago when we provided seed funding for a philanthropic training program that we hoped would buttress the current investments of existing Northwest environmental funders, as well as spawn new ideas for the challenges that will emerge after our sunset.

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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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Ten years from now, who will lead us?

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a leadership crisis and as funders we need to step up. Since we first opened our doors, we’ve invested in building the capacity and leadership of environmental organizations in the Northwest. We know more needs to be done.

Go »

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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