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Pittsburgh Foundation’s Grant Oliphant On the Upsides of Philanthropic Failure

In the second in our diavlog series (dialog+video+blog), I have the privilege of speaking with Pittsburgh Foundation President Grant Oliphant about what foundations lose when they fail to share the tough lessons learned — especially what went wrong — in their philanthropic efforts. In my estimation, it is seasoned leadership that Grant describes here, that is each day helping the sector live up to new levels of potential and promise.

As he and others in this series currently being produced make clear, communications isn’t a series of tasks.  It is a deeply human endeavor that, first and foremost, promotes relationships that teem with honesty and integrity.  Sectoral tendencies to publicize only our shining achievements can’t help but undermine such efforts.

Running time is 30 minutes. To view select topics, fast forward to the time indicated:

• Why do communicators make great foundation presidents? (1:053:10)

• Why does Grant Oliphant love to talk about failure? (3:105:43)

• What kinds of mistakes are we talking about? (5:4311:52)

• We have to keep ratcheting up our expectations… (11:5230:00)

Susan Herr


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