Big Impact: Insights & Stories from America's Non-Profit Leaders is about nonprofit leaders who have found solutions to some of our greatest, most vexing societal problems. These dynamic leaders are implementing solutions in their communities, around the U.S. and around the world. This book will explore the qualities these leaders possess, their profound insights on lessons learned, and the solutions they are implementing.
We have interviewed nearly 50 leaders of foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Annie E. Casey, Ford, B. Altman, Sy Syms, Skoll, San Francisco Community, Robin Hood, Jim Joseph, William & Flora Hewlett, Newman’s Own, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, United Nations, and the Ms. Foundation for Women. We have also talked with leaders of organizations such as PBS, WNET, WNYC, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Independent Sector, Goodwill Industries International, 92Y, YMCA of the USA, Girl Scouts, United Way Worldwide, Share Our Strength, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, NYU, Bard College, Nature Conservancy, Wave Hill, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, NYC Opera, Freedom to Marry, KaBoom! and Do Something.
The book combines our findings and recommendations from the interviews on what drives social change, along with some of the top interviews portraying compelling, successful social change leaders.
We see this book as a way to amplify the leading voices of the nonprofit sector, to share the secrets of successful social change and to inspire readers to make change in their own communities.
The primary audience for this book is people seeking knowledge and inspiration from leaders who have chosen to devote their lives to reducing inequities and creating opportunities in their communities, the US and the world. This includes corporate leaders and employees on nonprofit or foundation boards, philanthropists or social entrepreneurs investing in a new venture or establishing their own foundations, current or new CEOs or senior professionals serving a nonprofit or foundation.
Nonprofit leaders will discover new ways to address shared challenges and learn that they are not alone. Philanthropists and social entrepreneurs will learn what is really working at both start-up and legacy organizations so that they can invest in what is really moving the needle.
A secondary audience is young people, including millennials, who are thinking about careers in the nonprofit sector, or considering creating a new nonprofit or foundation. Yet another audience consists of nonprofit employees and volunteers that wish to learn from their leaders’ triumphs and mistakes.
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About the Author
Vivien Hoexter is a co-founder and principal of H2Growth Strategies, which provides counsel on planning, development and governance to mission-driven organizationsnonprofits, foundations and corporationsfor improved performance, increased revenues and lasting social impact for a more enlightened world. Through strategic planning, campaigns and board building the H2 team has partnered with over 100 nonprofits to raise more than $1.5 billion.
Prior to co-founding H2Growth Strategies LLC, Vivien Hoexter was for four years sole proprietor of Hoexter Executive Consulting, offering a broad range of services – from strategic planning to fundraising, marketing and project management – to nonprofit organizations.
Hoexter works with nonprofits and foundations to develop and refine their strategies, market more effectively and increase both contributed and earned revenues. She also coaches executives currently in leadership roles and/or transitioning to new ones.
Clients include American Geriatrics Society, Community Mainstreaming Associates, EngenderHealth, Heritage Management Organization, Mental Health Association of New York City, New York City Opera, New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, Pardes Institute, The ZAC Foundation, Workmen's Circle and Young Judaea.
Hoexter’s work includes:
• Coaching the CEO of a Long Island health-related nonprofit to articulate her vision for the organization more clearly, improve her presentation skills and work more smoothly with her Board of Directors.
• Facilitating EngenderHealth, a leading global women’s health organization, to create a new vision and rallying cry focused on its family planning roots.
• Developing a three-year business plan for the Workmen’s Circle to transform from a Jewish fraternal benefits organization to a cultural, progressive learning movement.
She brings 20 years experience in nonprofit leadership roles. As CEO of Gilda's Club Worldwide, Hoexter and her team created a vision and strategic plan for the organization as a leader in the field of emotional and social support for people with cancer, their families, and friends. The organization increased its income by 55% from 2005 to 2006 and by 40% from 2006 to 2007.
Hoexter has served as Vice President for Marketing and Development at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Vice President at AFS-USA, Inc. (the leading high school student exchange organization) and as Director of Development at The Hunger Project. She has also worked as a product manager at CPC International, Inc., a Fortune 100 multinational, and as an assistant buyer at Lord & Taylor.
Vivien graduated magna cum laude with a BA in History from Yale University and has an MBA in Marketing from the Wharton School. She lives in New York City with her husband and is an active volunteer with the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Sharpen Your Leadership Skills 5
Chapter 2 Shael Polakow-Suransky 14
President, Bank Street College of Education
Chapter 3 Nonet Sykes 33
Director of Racial and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Chapter 4 Bill Ulfelder 45
New York Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy
Chapter 5 Ensure Your Own House Is in Order 60
Chapter 6 Thomas Dente 72
President and CEO, Humentum
Chapter 7 Bob Giannino 81
Chief Executive Officer, uAspire
Chapter 8 Paula Kerger 90
President and CEO, PBS
Chapter 9 Be Crystal Clear About Your Goal, and Articulate It Persuasively 103
Chapter 10 Michael Capasso 112
General Director, New York City Opera
Chapter 11 Muhammed Chaudhry 130
President and CEO, Silicon Valley Education Foundation
Chapter 12 Bill Shore 137
Founder and CEO, Share Our Strength
Chapter 13 Campaign on Many Fronts 144
Chapter 14 Dan Gross 150
President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Chapter 15 Stephen Heintz 165
President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Chapter 16 Hilary Pennington 186
Vice President, Education, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation
Chapter 17 Build Broad-Based Coalitions 195
Chapter 18 Brian McLaren 207
Co-Founder, The Convergence Leadership Project
Chapter 19 Teresa C. Younger 217
President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women
Chapter 20 Fred Blackwell 229
CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Chapter 21 Persist 238
Chapter 22 Robert H. Forrester 242
President and CEO, Newman's Own Foundation; Executive Chairman, Newman's Own, Inc.
Chapter 23 Amy Houston 258
Managing Director of Management Assistance, Robin Hood
Chapter 24 Larry Kramer 268
President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Chapter 25 Leverage Your Success 278
Chapter 26 Leon Botstein 283
President, Bard College
Chapter 27 Evan Wolfson 296
Founder and President, Freedom to Marry
Chapter 28 Aria Finger 313
CEO and Chief Old Person, DoSomething.org and TMI Strategy
Chapter 29 Take Action 326
Appendix 1 Complete List of Interviewees 338
Appendix 2 Recommended Reading 341
About the Authors 349
About H2Growth Strategies LLC 350