Foundation fortitude

Foundations could have a greater impact on social change if they become “more imaginative, visible, and even controversial,” a new article says.

The article, printed in the winter issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, calls on foundations to use all their assets, including money, political access, media savvy and industry expertise, to drive change.

Called “adaptive leadership,” this model moves funders away from passive grantmaking into the development of bolder strategies to achieve their goals.

The article highlights the 2002 effort of the Heinz Endowments, Grable Foundation and Pittsburgh Foundation to bring attention to problems in Pittsburgh public schools by suspending funding in a high-profile press conference.

The action received national attention and eventually resulted in the ouster of the president of the school district.

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