• Description

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. Three foundations shocked the city of Pittsburgh in 2002 by abruptly suspending their funding to local public schools. The foundations announced their decision in a news conference that attracted both local and national coverage -- a sharp departure from their usual approach of working quietly behind the scenes. Foundation executives explained that they had completely lost confidence in the ability of the local school board to run the district. Their action yielded a community-wide process that led to real change. Here's how foundations can exercise Adaptive Leadership without misusing authority.