Giving Compass’ Take:
• Writing for Philanthropy News Digest, Aleda Gagarin from Foundation Center reviews the new book “Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships” and gives it high marks for articulating the importance of shared vision in the sector with honesty, clarity and humor.
• Deconstructing the grantmaker-grantee relationship is a useful exercise for all those working in philanthropy. How can we break down the barriers of mistrust?
Regardless of what corner of the social sector you work in, you’re probably working to make the world a better place. At a time when many scorn and deride such an ambition, “Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships” urges social-sector changemakers to roll up their sleeves and get to work on improving the relationships necessary to drive the progress we all want to see.
Written by Jessamyn Shams-Lau, executive director of the Peery Foundation, Jane Leu, founder and CEO of Smarter Good, and Vu Le, executive director of Rainier Valley Corps, the book is a highly creative attempt to deconstruct the classic dichotomy between grantmaker and grantseeker — and why not? One can’t exist without the other, and changemakers often jump back and forth between the two. But first, what do they mean by “unicorn”? A unicorn, according to the authors, is “a persistent, visionary, and dedicated nonprofit or foundation professional who shines with brilliance and practices humility.” And why are they great? Because they are bad-ass; they provide jobs and strengthen the economy; they handle stuff no one else wants to do; they restore and build community; they amplify voices that aren’t heard; they stand defiantly against injustice; and they create hope. What’s more, we all have unicorn potential inside us. Shams-Lau, Leu, and Le are here to help us find it …
“Unicorns Unite” is characterized by a level of honesty, clarity, and humor rarely seen in social-sector literature. It is simultaneously a breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief. The authors remind us of what is most important — our shared goals — and give us insights and exercises designed to help us build better, more effective, more equitable partnerships to achieve those goals.
Read the full article about the review of “Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships” by Aleda Gagarin from Foundation Center at PhilanTopic
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