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The Hardest Thing About Making a Big Bet? Letting Go

On a Friday in February 2015, I invited 24 organizations to apply for funding in response to letters of inquiry our foundation had solicited. The next day, our board held a retreat to evaluate the foundation’s grantmaking outcomes over its first 5 years. We knew the board wanted to talk about how to increase our... Read More

Making a Big Bet: Moving From Transactional to Transformational Philanthropy

The Lerner Foundation had only been making grants for five years when the winds shifted—the board of directors decided it was time for a profound change in our priorities. Our founding purpose is simple and straightforward: “to further opportunity for the people of Maine.” Manny and Polly Lerner’s broad and hopeful intention gave us the... Read More

Making a Significant Shift in Funding Priorities

On a cold day in February 2015 at a board retreat on the coast of Maine, the board of directors of the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation made a big decision. After 5 years funding nonprofits in Maine focused on civic engagement, cultural tolerance, and women and children, the board decided to take a... Read More