The way Eric Brown, communications director for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, tells it in a recent Communications Network webinar, it wasn’t a sudden “Eureka moment” that sparked his desire to assess the effectiveness of the training programs his foundation had been offering for years to help grantees develop effective communications skills.
Instead, he was just simply itching to know if these programs were doing any good. “It was bugging me because I didn’t know,” says Brown.
The willingness or ability of foundations to talk about failure has been a recurring theme on this blog. We’ve had Grant Oliphant, president of the Pittsburgh Foundation, offer his thoughts in a diavlog. Frequent guest contributor Michael Remaley shared results of a scan he did that found few examples of where failure is openly discussed on foundation web sites. Most recently, Sylvia Burgos Toftness talked about how the Northwest Area Foundation went to great lengths to report on an initiative that fell short.