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Building coalitions for social change amid political turmoil

“We just can’t work with them anymore. Their political views are repugnant, even if they were with us before…”  “…But they’ve been an ally on our issue. We can’t afford to lose them. We should just look past the areas where we disagree…”  I hear this exchange play out again and again, and never more […]

Five Things I Learned in 2020

A few nights ago at dinner, my daughter asked, “What’s a train wreck?” My wife and I had used the expression earlier that day while describing our relief that 2020 was coming to a close.  When I explained the meaning of the phrase, she thought for a moment and said, “But it’s not all bad, […]

Lasting Change Starts with a Landscape Analysis

Every few months, I get a call from a philanthropist that goes something like this.  “Hey Mike, we know you specialize in policy and advocacy strategy. Could you write a strategic plan for our foundation?”  My response is always the same:  Before we can work together on strategy, we need to understand your landscape in […]

Sweeping Change and Moments of Opportunity

Forward-thinking philanthropists aren’t the kind of people to set up a scholarship fund and call it a day.  The funders that we work with are interested in driving lasting progress by changing systems, and that often means changing policy.  Right now, we are heading into what may be the most open window for major policy […]