PEAK’s Narrow the Power Gap Principle calls grantmakers to adopt policies and practices that cede power to create more balanced relationships with nonprofit partners. On this front, Bainum Family Foundation President and CEO David Daniels has been leading the way since he took the reins of the organization in November 2019 following 50 years of executive leadership by Bainum family members. As a longtime leader within the organization himself, the occasion marked a major shift for the organization—but also a commitment to driving change. Having previously served as Bainum’s chief operating officer (COO), Daniels shepherded numerous organizational shifts and implemented equity-centered practices to best support the wellbeing of children in need.

As part of our ongoing CEO:CEO interview series, PEAK President and CEO Satonya Fair sat down with Daniels to discuss what it means—and looks like—to share power, how he embeds Bainum’s values through funding practices, and how these practice changes are working to build up communities.

Fair: You and I, like so many CEOs, are trying to figure out change. As a former COO, I think you understand that the foundation has to strive for operational excellence. You talk about this in your vision for the Bainum Family Foundation, and even in your annual report. Tell me about your journey from COO to CEO, and how that has informed your organizational leadership.

Daniels: The experience of moving from COO to CEO gave me a deep understanding of everything that was happening with the organization, the family’s desires for the organization, and the systems and processes that were getting in the way of the desired outcomes. I also learned that, when I was too focused on process, managing the different cultural dynamics, and trying to keep the trains running, my efforts were sometimes perceived as being dismissive of people. What I learned, and what has helped me to be a better CEO, is to make more intentional efforts to communicate  why we are putting things in place and the time that is needed to implement change.

Read the full article about family foundations by Satonya Fair, JD, and David Daniels at PEAK Grantmaking.