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Effective Matters: Building Strong Leaders, Organizations, and Movements

Date: April 28, 2023

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This month’s special edition Effective Matters takes its cue from a recent piece authored by leading organizer and activist Maurice Mitchell: “Building Resilient Organizations: Toward Joy and Durable Process in a Time of Crisis.” If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to start by reading the essay. In this newsletter, CEP offers a few additional resources and opportunities to pull at the threads and expand on the themes that Mitchell raises, with a view toward building resilient, effective leaders, organizations, and movements supported by philanthropy. 

Mark Your Calendars – CEP and INP Cohost a Conversation with Maurice Mitchell

At the next event in the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Leadership Learning Series, President and CEO Yolanda Coentro will interview Mitchell about his insight into some of the practices and behaviors that can hinder progress in social movements. He will offer practical steps to address root causes and build resilient organizations.

We hope you will join us for this vital — and free — conversation on May 18th at 1pm ET/10am PT.

Register Now

Supporting Leaders

The Need for More Inclusive Leadership Narratives
The kick-off to a recent series in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on leadership, this article calls into question the individualistic “hero narrative” of leadership. The authors make the case for a broader conception of leadership and leadership values, sharing examples of alternative and broader narratives around leadership in practice.

Leadership Development Programs Need an Upgrade: Five Ways to Advance Racial Equity
“Notions of leadership are evolving, particularly as the nonprofit and philanthropic sector considers what it takes for individuals, organizations, and communities to drive systemic change in pursuit of racial equity and more effective outcomes for all,” say Idalia Fernandez and Lori Bartczak of Community Wealth Partners. In this blog post, they share key ways philanthropy can better support leaders to build strong organizations and movements.

Transformation Through Rest: A Conversation with Olatunde Sobomehin
Founder and CEO of California-based nonprofit StreetCode Academy Olatunde Sobomehin chats with CEP about the value and transformative potential of rest. In the midst of a 6-month sabbatical at the time of the conversation, Sobomehin notes the power of rest not only for individual renewal but for strengthening organizations as a whole.

Building Strong Organizations

CEP Research on how Philanthropy Can Support Nonprofits

  • Giving Big: The Impact of Large Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits: This report provides insight into the transformative power of large, unrestricted gifts for both organizations and leaders and reveals that despite fears from some about unintended consequences, these unusual gifts have not resulted in disruptions or challenges.
  • Persevering Through Crisis: The State of Nonprofits: Following up on a report released in 2020 on the state of nonprofits at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report reveals how nonprofit organizations were faring in early 2021, the ways in which foundations have stepped up support, and where there are still gaps.
  • Look for new research from CEP on the state of the nonprofit sector based on a survey of hundreds of nonprofit leaders, coming in summer 2023.

Burnout From an Organizational Perspective
This article defines burnout and names its symptoms, noting the various levels at which burnout can occur — individual, team, and organizational. The author argues for the importance of awareness and diagnostic steps and also addresses steps leaders and organizations can take to create a “burnout shield.”

Philanthropy and Movements

A Call to Attention Liberation: To Build Abundant Justice, Let’s Focus on What Matters.
In this op-ed, adrienne maree brown makes a case for the power of focused attention and the potential of growing ideas and movements if attention is focused, individually and collectively, on values rather than on reacting to events or responding to the news cycle. She identifies fault lines in the way attention is focused — or unfocused — and offers practices to reclaim attention for coming together and building strong movements.

Philanthropy’s Responsibility to Movements is About More than Moving the Money
Kataly Fund CEO Nwamaka Agbo argues that philanthropy must do more to support and build social movements than simply “move the money.” She argues that philanthropy has a role rooted in building right relationships with movements and movement leaders and offers modalities and spaces to put this into practice.

Learn More & Build Leadership Skills

May 18: Building Resilient Organizations: A Conversation with Maurice Mitchell (free webinar)

Oct. 30 – Nov. 1: CEP2023: The CEP Conference

(early bird registration ends on May 31st!)

May 11 – Nov. 14: Trust-Based Philanthropy Learning Cohort (Now sold out – look for future dates in the coming months or reach out to Amber Bradley to find out more.)

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