Memorable Mentions


Philanthropy411, in partnership with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team. This is a guest post by Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation.

By: Richard Woo

Over the course of the COF conference, I’ve heard a number of memorable and provocative remarks.  Here are a few and the contexts in which they were mentioned:

On Subpoenas & Grantmaking.

There’s messy and then there’s corrupt.  Corruption is unacceptable.  By the nature of our work, however, we do alot of grantmaking to groups that are messy, but not necessarily corrupt.  That’s the importance of capacity building grants.

On Capacity Building:

I’ve banned the word ‘capacity building’ from our foundation.  It’s insulting, implying that communities are incapable.

On Power & Justice:

Access and influence are not the same.  You can have one without the other.  For examples, janitors have access.  They have the keys to everything in the building.  But do they have influence?

On Metrics:

Focus on results, and the steps leading to outcomes.  We must ask ourselves:  What does the last mile look like?

On Poverty:

There are now the “No Fault Poor,” those people who by no fault of their own are suffering from poverty.

Example: those suffering job and housing loss from the recession.

By extension, that term implies there are also those people who are guilty and responsible for their poverty (the permanent underclass, the welfare state, the uneducated)…and therefore deserve to suffer.

On Candor & Engagement:

Politeness is not respect.

What do you think of these thoughts?

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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