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Effective Foundation Management

14 Challenges of Philanthropic Leadership--And How to Outfox Them

Joel J. Orosz

There is no science to the management of charitable foundations, and even the art of managing them is poorly understood. The foundation field is relatively young, university centers for the study of philanthropy arrived only recently, and foundation leaders typically had little experience in the foundation field before taking their posts. Consequently, both seasoned and aspiring CEOs fall into traps that make them less effective leaders. These traps arise from the highly idiosyncratic nature of the foundation field, and thus are not fully understood by leaders whose training and experience generally lie elsewhere. But there are predictable challenges and recognizable dilemmas, and a hard-won knowledge base does exist. In Effective Foundation Management, seasoned philanthropy professional and educator Joel J. Orosz introduces the new foundation board member CEO, vice president, program officer, and other foundation staff members to seven vexing challenges and seven inescapable tradeoffs, along with strategies for meeting and resolving them. In simple and engaging terms, Orosz describes the steps foundation leaders need to take to maximize positive social impact and avoid poor outcomes—in other words, to become fully effective in their consequential roles. « less more »
AltaMira Press
Pages: 194Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-0-7591-0986-5 • Hardback • October 2007 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
978-0-7591-0987-2 • Paperback • September 2007 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
Joel J. Orosz is a leader in the movement to improve the effectiveness of foundation philanthropy. A former Executive Assistant to the CEO, and Program Director in Philanthropy and Volunteerism at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Orosz wrote the standard text for the training of program officers, The Insider's Guide to Grantmaking: How Foundations Find, Fund and Manage Effective Programs (2000). He also co-authored Agile Philanthropy: Understanding Foundation Effectiveness (2003). In 2004, Dr. Orosz founded The Grantmaking School, the first university-based training program for grantmaking professionals, located at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership of Grand Valley State University.
Chapter 1 Foreword
Chapter 2 Introduction: Foundations and Failure
Part 3 Part I: The Seven Challenges
Chapter 4 Challenge #1: Lack of Pre-and Post-employment Training
Chapter 5 Challenge #2: Lack of a Cohesive Culture
Chapter 6 Challenge #3: Lack of a Salutary External Discipline
Chapter 7 Challenge #4: Lack of Reliable Feedback
Chapter 8 Challenge #5: Lack of an Accepted Body of Good Practices
Chapter 9 Challenge #6: Lack of Ideological Cohesion between Board and Staff
Chapter 10 Challenge #7: Lack of Ideological Cohesion within the Staff
Chapter 11 The Seven Challenges: Afterword
Part 12 Part II: The Seven Dilemmas
Chapter 13 Introduction: The Seven Dilemmas of Managing Foundations
Chapter 14 Dilemma #1: Low Overhead versus High Overhead
Chapter 15 Dilemma #2: Strategic Planning versus Flexibility
Chapter 16 Dilemma #3: Broad versus Deep
Chapter 17 Dilemma #4: Innovation versus Implementation
Chapter 18 Dilemma #5: Expert-based versus Community-based
Chapter 19 Dilemma #6: High Uncertainty versus Low Uncertainty
Chapter 20 Dilemma #7: High Profile versus Low Profile
Chapter 21 The Seven Dilemmas: Afterword
Chapter 22 Epilogue: Forty Years On
For anyone interested in how foundations can operate for maximum impact, Joel Orosz has written a must-read. His practical advice for foundation leaders and his accessible manner of illuminating the tensions inherent in foundation work make this an invaluable contribution to the literature.
James E. Canales, President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation

For anyone who cares about foundation performance improvement, Joel Orosz?s new book is a must-read. With wit and precision, Orosz identifies some of philanthropy?s most constraining challenges. Without prescribing solutions, the book outlines practical considerations for foundation leaders as they confront these challenges head on and develop solutions that are right for themmmm
Kathleen Enright, Executive Director, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

This book should be required reading for every foundation executive and trustee, every donor considering the establishment of a foundation, and for the leaders of every organization that claims to be working to improve the effectiveness of philanthropic organizations. Orosz argues convincingly that foundation management should be considered a field of its own—for foundations are unlike any other institutions in our society. Foundation leaders must resist the seductive notion that easy answers lie in the importation of management frameworks from other sectors. Instead, they should engage the distinctive and complex challenges and dilemmas of foundation leadership that Orosz describes, drawing on his wise and practical suggestions for surmounting them.
Phil Buchanan, President, The Center for Effective Philanthropy

Effective Foundation Management fills a long-standing void in the current literature for and about philanthropy. It is full of "a-ha" moments and perfectly captures what many grantmakers have probably experienced for a long time as lingering tensions and unease within our profession, but could never really articulate or frame until now. In deftly naming the challenges, Orosz will make foundation boards and staff wince with self-realization, and he does so in a way that is uniquely discomforting and comforting at the same time. Left unaddressed (or worse, unacknowledged), these challenges will always impede foundations from achieving their goals, and they will never quite know why. Orosz's recommendations for navigating the challenges are practical and motivating, but fully aware of the realities and constraints inherent in the sector.
Mae Hong, Program Director, The Field Foundation of Illinois

A masterpiece on the inner workings of foundations that could have only been written by a master scholar-practitioner.
Hugh C. Burroughs, President, Independent Philanthropy Advisors

Joel Orosz has done a great service to the foundation world. His new book is a very reader-friendly, frank, even folksy and wise account by a near-lifetime philanthropoid of the folklore, foibles, achievements, and paradoxes of foundation management. It is a gold mine rich with many nuggets of the author's own experiences as well as sage observations by other experts in philanthropy. All who read it will be enlightened and edified, as well as often amused.
Joel L. Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Duke University, and author of The Foundation: A Great American Secret--How Private Wealt

For anyone who cares about foundation performance improvement, Joel Orosz's new book is a must-read. With wit and precision, Orosz identifies some of philanthropy's most constraining challenges. Without prescribing solutions, the book outlines practical considerations for foundation leaders as they confront these challenges head on and develop solutions that are right for them
Kathleen Enright, Executive Director, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

I hear too often from foundation staff and trustees that they are missing basic tools for being informed and prepared to tackle the responsibilities of managing a foundation. Take the time to invest in Joel's "Formidable 14." Individually and collectively the lessons he shares will provoke lively discussions in foundation board rooms and offices as philanthropy responds to local, national and global demands to demonstrate its relevance to the media, policymakers and nonprofit partners. Dr. Orosz has provided a needed and necessary addition to our tool box for effective philanthropy.
Rob Collier, President, Council of Michigan Foundations

An easy read... Succeeds in adding to our understanding of the internal conundrums of American philanthropic grant makers....Of interest to those of us who endeavor to understand the foundation world as something less than perfect....insightful.
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Voluntary Sector Quarterly