Blogging the COF Conference
Philanthropy Northwest members Richard Woo of The Russell Family Foundation and Aleesha Towns-Bain of the Rasmuson Foundation are on the Philanthropy 411 blog team covering the 2010 COF conference in Denver this week. You can read all the posts from the conference here.
In a post about the Pre-Conference Institute for Trustees & CEOs, Richard wrote:
“Over time I learned the value of creative disruption. I used to approach board meetings using a corporate model of efficiency. I tried to gain alignment among trustees on issues before the actual board meeting through individual phone calls with trustees. The goal was to conduct a smooth, seamless board meeting in which all decisions were actually decided beforehand. That’s not really governance, that’s theater.
Now I believe it is more important to break trustees out of alignment in those pre-meeting phone calls and encourage them to express their divergent views in the actual meeting so we can have a deeper discussion of the issues. Hopefully this generates decisions that are more durable.”
Prior to the conference, Aleesha attended the Native Philanthropy Institute, hosted by Native Americans in Philanthropy. She wrote:
“Over and over again at the Native Philanthropy Institute, Native leaders and grantmakers said we must trust Tribal and Native organizations to come up with solutions for themselves–and then accept ways of doing that may not align to typical ways of doing business for Western-based organizations. Several Native American leaders pointed out that foundation and governmental funding can come with restrictions that are designed to be helpful, but end up representing an attempt to acculturate native organizations to a Western system of working.”
Keep checking the Philanthropy 411 blog this week for more from Aleesha, Richard and the COF conference.