‘Rarely do foundations publicly communicate their dissatisfaction with their grantees, withhold funds, or use tactics that carry the risks of creating ill will. Yet extraordinary results can be achieved if foundations were more imaginative, visible, and controversial. Here’s how foundations can exercise leadership without misusing authority.’ This article notes the 2002 decision of the Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Foundation to suspend their funding to Pittsburgh city schools as an example of ‘adaptive leadership.’ Adaptive leadership, the authors argue, is a kind of leadership that defines social problems as ‘adaptive challenges’ and that spurs foundations to create the conditions for change, e.g., by mobilizing stakeholders.

Download PDF - 484 KB

Leading Boldly (SSIR, 2004)

Get Involved

Search Knowledge Center for Resources!

We’re here to help you on your philanthropic journey. Contact NCFP for support!

Get Assistance

Keep up with trends in family philanthropy. Subscribe to our newsletter!


Family philanthropy improves the quality of life for all. Join our family!

Join Now