Winter 2006       Volume 10       Number 1
Jack Murrah, president of the Lyndhurst Foundation, was born in
                   rural Alabama in 1949 and graduated fro...

       U.S. OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS....
You can’t make a great city out of a good and improving art museum or a set of fairly good prep
evening with no vandalism and no disorder, and each night the crowds grew. So did our confidence
    and belief that we sh...
On the other hand, the funders didn’t come in and say,‘We don’t really know
                                anything; we d...
diagonally. Upper middle class whites and ill educated Spanish residents and new
    comers don’t congregate.There are no ...
‘   Those who would be leaders            ductive dynamics. But, deep engagement is a risk we are willing to take because ...
To shed light on its success, Lyndhurst Foundation was invited to be part of a study done for the Annie E. Casey
Courage    ‘There are moments when you cannot love without dissent,’ Murrah wrote
            for the World We Want. Karof...
ONLINE You had the diminution of home offices, a long rough spell with industry
involve yourself voluntarily in initiatives to promote the public good.We have a lively civil society
     in Chattanooga....
The New York Times wrote about us, then Sports Illustrated and Parade Magazine. The New York
I have a final question, Jack, after hearing all you have said.What makes you do this
     work? There is a wonderful insi...
                    77 Franklin Street
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Tpi Initiatives

  1. 1. Winter 2006 Volume 10 Number 1 ~ ~ The Philanthropic Initiative, Inc. THE TUESDAYS @TPI FORUMS The Tuesdays@TPI Forums INITIATIVES provide a national audience the opportunity to participate in substantive debate on important A NEWSLETTER ON STRATEGIC PHILANTHROPY issues that are having a profound impact on philanthropy and on society.The goals for the series are to dig deeper into these issues, Community vision, to generate and disseminate vitality and confidence new ideas, and to provide a forum for peer exchange. Along in the World We Want with engaging a live audience and expert panel, the moderated discussion facilitates interaction among participants across the COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION IS ABOUT MORE country through a Web stream THAN INSTITUTION BUILDING. TO BRING BACK and teleconferencing format CHATTANOOGA, A CITY LONG DOWN ON ITS LUCK, that has included polling, Web chat and call-in questions. THE LYNDHURST FOUNDATION FOUND WAYS WGBH, Boston’s public broad- TO PUT VISIONARY EXPERTS TOGETHER WITH casting station, films and makes ORDINARY CITIZENS TO CREATE PICTURES OF available to viewers a video of THE FUTURE THAT PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO the session, via the WGBH Forum Web site. To view, go to AGREE ABOUT, EAGER TO WORK FOR, AND WILL- ING TO INVEST IN. JACK MURRAH, PRESIDENT and click on Philanthropy. OF THE LYNDHURST FOUNDATION JOINED PETER KAROFF, FOUNDER OF TPI, FOR THE OCTOBER THE 10-MILE RIVERWALK NOW LINES THE BANKS OF THE 25 TUESDAY@TPI OPEN FORUM DISCUSSION: TENNESSEE RIVER THROUGH CHATTANOOGA. SWITCHBACKS COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION–SUCCESS STORIES PROVIDE HANDICAPPED ACCESS AND HARD LESSONS LEARNED. THIS WAS TPI’S ON A STEEP GRADE. SEVENTH TUESDAYS@TPI FORUM. IT IS PART OF THE WORLD WE WANT PROJECT, AN ENCOMPASSING DIALOGUE AND NEW BOOK THAT FOCUSES ON THE SEARCH FOR REAL SOLUTIONS THAT WILL LEAD TO A BETTER WORLD.
  2. 2. Jack Murrah, president of the Lyndhurst Foundation, was born in rural Alabama in 1949 and graduated from public high school in Birmingham in 1966. He attended Vanderbilt University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1971. He earned a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College in 1983. Between 1970 and 1978, he taught high school at the Alabama boys’ reform school, the Chamberlain-Hunt Military Academy in Mississippi, and Baylor School in Chattanooga. In 1978 he joined the staff of the Lyndhurst Foundation, where he has served as a program officer, executive director, and, since 1989, president. In recent years he has served on the boards of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Rural School and Community Trust, Public Education Foundation, Community Impact of Chattanooga, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The Lyndhurst Foundation, had its beginnings in the regional philanthropic activities of its founder Thomas Cartter Lupton. Lupton’s wealth had its beginnings in the bottling of Coca-Cola. Back in 1899, Asa Griggs Candler, who owned Coca-Cola, was unconvinced it would succeed as a bottled drink. He focused his attention on fountain sales and sold the exclusive rights to bottle From Coca-Cola the beverage to Lupton and two other Chattanooga lawyers for one dollar. For Lupton and Chattanooga, it was money well spent. to Community Guided by his son John T. Lupton, the foundation in the mid-’80s directed its energies to the city’s effort to revitalize its downtown and riverfront, to enhance its arts and cultural life, and to A short history improve it schools and natural environment. During the past 20 years, the Foundation has played a of the Lyndhurst leadership role in spurring downtown revitalization, assembling civic and institutional support for various community investment Foundation strategies and building city-wide capacity for development. 1
  3. 3. AS MANY AS 100 COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY-BUILDING INITIATIVES HAVE BEEN LAUNCHED IN THE U.S. OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS. THESE ARE HOLISTIC COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO NEIGHBOR- HOOD REVITALIZATION THAT ADDRESS A WIDE RANGE OF INTERRELATED ISSUES – SOCIAL, EDUCATIONAL, ECONOMIC, PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL. THEY SEEK TO TRANSFORM NEIGHBORHOODS BY ENCOURAGING ACTIVE PARTICIPATION BY RESIDENTS AND BY STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITY OF ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMUNITY BUILDING EFFORTS, VISIT THE COMMUNITY BUILDING RESOURCE EXCHANGE, WWW.COMMBUILD.ORG , A PROJECT OF THE ASPEN INSTITUTE. SEE ALSO TPI’S INITIATIVES, “BUILDING NEIGHBORHOOD, A PLACE TO CALL HOME,” AT WWW.TPI.ORG. PETER We are working with two words, community and revitalization. Peter Senge, MIT organizational guru, has said community is a field of shared meaning – it can occur in church or temple, or at a Bruce Springsteen concert. Community is obviously neighborhood, town, state and nation. Community implies pride of place, of being part of something. It is spirit, engagement, and in this country it has meant citizenship. Revitalization. Communities will always need renewal, and work, and to be part of the flow where things happen on multi-levels. The challenge is how to galvanize the yearning that exists in every community to make it a better community.Thinking about the World We Want project, we realized that such a world begins in the community we want.And we thought of Jack Murrah. Jack is president of the Lyndhurst Foundation, Chattanooga’s second largest foundation. He joined Lyndhurst 25 years ago, and he has been an important part of one of the most successful come-back city stories in the nation. Jack, give us your elevator speech of what has happened in Chattanooga. JACK How many floors do I have? Chattanooga is a small city of 150,000 people with a metropolitan area about three times that.Twenty-five years ago, it was a city that had little visibility beyond its immediate region, whose economic foundations were eroding and whose social fabric was fraying. It had been a major industrial center, one of the few in the south. At one point it had the largest percentage of residents engaged in manufacturing of any city in the US, and Walter Cronkite declared it as being the dirtiest city in America in 1969. Today it’s a city that has confidence and a new spirit of continual renewal, but we really had to hit the wall before we took charge of making it better. PETER What is your definition of community? JACK For us, community is place, the city as a whole, not an institution of shared interest or a particular neighborhood.We had a place where a lot of institutions were doing fairly well, struggling to do a little better. But the chairman of my board, a very challenging boss, knew we were not going to become a better city by helping a few institutions to do marginally better. 2
  4. 4. You can’t make a great city out of a good and improving art museum or a set of fairly good prep schools. Chattanooga had these, and his family had been associated with them for years. It was a real break for him to say,‘There is something about the city as a whole as the context within which things thrive or fail to thrive that has to be addressed.The tools for doing that are not immediately obvious, but that is what I want this foundation to be about.’ Lyndhurst’s founder,Thomas Cartter Lupton, was a fairly private fellow whose philanthropy was relatively conventional. Mid-20th century Chattanooga had a group of affluent people who had inherited wealth from the buccaneer entrepreneurs of the late 19th and early 20th century.Their task in life was not to lose it.They were interested in preservation rather than innova- tion. A Presbyterian minister in town helped them figure out their philanthropy, mostly supporting key institutions, the United Way, and their churches and schools. It suited the times, but it was just holding things together. Anything fixed dies unless there is new blood, new ideas and new energy. THE NEW ADDITION TO His son, Jack Lupton was cut from a different cloth than his father- conservative, but with THE HUNTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART OVERLOOKING great flair, energy and drive. Still, he was an unlikely source, not trained in or familiar with creative THE TENNESSEE RIVER. philanthropy. He had only the vision and broad outlines of a community that was very different. PETER You had taught with his son-in-law, who became executive director; you then became the program director, and the founder father said,‘OK guys go to it.’ JACK Yes, and we said ‘So, what would that look like?’ And he very quickly said,‘That’s not my job, it’s yours, and either you or your successor will figure out how to use this philanthropic institution as an agent of community revitalization.’ Back then, Chattanooga was a city flat on its back. In 1980 the unemployment rate Coaxing was 2 to 3 percent higher than a very high national unemployment rate. Now it is 2 percent lower than a relatively low national unemployment rate.There has been a slow and steady climb even as we have shed jobs by the thousands. Manufacturing has all but disappeared; virtually no out a major employer in town is a manufacturing concern, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to how wages and family incomes have held up and how unemployment has actually gone down.The economy vision is dynamic in less visible ways, and that is a good thing. Many cities have tried to undertake a visioning process, and have failed.Vision as a catalyst for both unity and hope became the hallmark of Chattanooga’s recovery. It took some unconventional steps to get the process going, and Lyndhurst played an important role. JACK The first thing we did was go ask some people outside of Chattanooga, who cared about cities and were observers of cities, to come and give us a read on how people felt about the place, a sense of the fears and hopes.That was step one. Our consultant told us we had a city that was divided and discouraged.‘It knows it has a past but doesn’t know it has a future. It’s looking in the rear view mirror to try and find direction for where it is going, but all it can imagine is a restoration of something we know is not coming back.’ And then he told us to do a very unusual thing. He said,‘First of all, your community needs to regain a sense of public confidence in its fellow citizens.Throw a party.Your city is afraid to have a party, people are afraid to be with strangers, afraid to be downtown.’Throw a party in the middle of downtown. It was a crazy idea, and a former mayor of our city took a colleague of mine by the lapels and said,‘What you are planning to do will set this city afire.’That shows how depressed we were, how little confidence we had in our ability even to assemble for a public celebration. But it came off without a hitch.We had five evenings of wonderful music with Sarah Vaughn, B.B. King and other artists.Thousands of buoyant citizens came downtown to an empty block on a summer 3
  5. 5. evening with no vandalism and no disorder, and each night the crowds grew. So did our confidence and belief that we shared common ground. The next suggestion was to create an organization that would facilitate civic initiative, which was not exactly clear to us, but sounded right.The first thing that group needed to do was to come up with a very open-ended, structured process to help people look forward to see what kind of a city they wanted to be 10 to15 years out.‘Don’t ask them what the problems are because they’ll go to quarreling and blaming,’ we were told.That process engaged a couple thousand people in a series of meetings over six months.We had never had 50 people participate in one meeting before that. There was no organization in town that the public would trust to host such a process, not even government, so we created one, the Chattanooga Venture.We paid all the costs of the first three years’ operations. Its board had 60 people drawn from all the sectors - labor, business owners, school people and others.Work boots and dress shoes were under the same table. Just the formation of that board said to people,‘this is something new.’ Fifty of us served as facilitators, helping people have conversation. My colleague at Lyndhurst, Rick Montague, went on a word-of-mouth odyssey seeking out people who could help us get a grip on what was happening in our community. He was a member of the Venture board, but Lyndhurst’s role as funder was not that visible.We did not want it to compete with other organizations’ resources.We wanted this to be a temporary entity for the community to use to help get something new going. It operated effectively for three years and less effectively for another three. Sometimes something is created for a particular purpose and, when that is over, it will search for a mission. Happily, we figured that out and it is part of our history. The product of Chattanooga’s visioning process was a set of 40 goals that Forty covered a wide span of projects.Without set priorities, there were many ways to conflicting interests, but Murrah and Lyndhurst did not quietly ‘slip out the renew back.’ They felt, instead, deep commitment to change over the long haul. a city JACK We knew that people would become suspicious of how priorities were set, so, we just put them all forward.Wherever there was energy, resources, and leadership willing to go to work on any one of the 40 goals, the Chattanooga Venture was there to help set up meetings, find consultants, raise money - it was opportunistic. In the beginning, Lyndhurst Foundation did not foresee the visioning process driving our own agenda.We expected the community would go forward with it, and we would move on. But, you cannot ask people what they want and then not honor what they have said.We had to find some way to make these things happen to keep it from being an exercise in futility that would further depress the community. PETER As in every city, you have a mayor and corporate leadership, you have foundations and neighborhood associations.This process that you’ve described sounds quite organic, as opposed to being driven from the top down or the bottom up. JACK Between the top down and bottom up approach there is always a little friction, and folks who are accustomed to practicing one, usually are not fond of the other. Movement both ways often works best. On this board there were six different funders, neighborhood leaders, representatives from city government, the police department, the school system, neighborhood housing and neighborhood services.We thought all of these voices were critical to the success. 4
  6. 6. On the other hand, the funders didn’t come in and say,‘We don’t really know anything; we don’t want to drive this in any way.’ In my view, that is a disingenuous posture. You do have thoughts, you do have visions of your own, and it is best to lay them out and welcome others to lay theirs out as well.That way, you find the things you can work on that everyone feels are important. Some of these things were physical changes in the city.We have cleaned up the air. We have created a world class riverfront park that stretches 10 miles and ends in a fabulous water- front park downtown. New phases continue in the completion of that big plan, born in the early ‘80s. It envisioned the waterfront as honoring and belonging to the public, and the park being built to the highest standards. For a community by-in-large not wealthy, a $120 million waterfront park is a hard thing to create.We are the fourth largest city in Tennessee, but we had the lowest per capita income. For the public sector to commit itself to doing a world class public project was for us an identity changing event. It said we are a ‘can do’ sort of place. On another level, our public school system is now on an upward trajectory. It has taken a good long time, but over the last four or five years, we’ve seen significant improvement in student achievement, system wide. And the achievement of children in high poverty schools has gone up fastest, so the achievement gap has been cut nearly in half over five years. Now, that has stirred some anxiety among suburban patrons of the school system. They are not sure but what the unfair share they are used to getting might be unfairly given to someone else. So there is tension around making progress for everyone and a little more progress for others.Also, the city and county systems were merged and there was fallout, but we got through it. A new culture of collaboration JACK I chaired a planning process not long ago that got Perhaps the biggest change in Chattanooga is the new culture of collaboration. experts, professors, merchants and residents of low income The expansion of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a good example. housing together to say what they would like to see happen. It sits on one side of a four lane highway into town and a traditional and historic The university wanted a new engineering building there, African American business and residential community sits on the other side.The but the neighborhood said an university had always been wary of crossing that line, and folks on the other side engineering building would not do one darn thing for them. were ambivalent about whether they wanted the university to cross that line or not. It would be a foreign and isolated entity.The neighborhood said, ‘Put your student housing here.’ Now, that was not what the university wanted to hear.They were frightened that their students would not want to live in that housing. But to listen is to obey, and the university said OK, that’s what we’ll do. PETER You have written that communities are most healthy when they are whole.We have race and class silos everywhere, we’re a nation divided. How does a community become whole? And if you can make a community whole can you make a nation whole? JACK Well sure, if you’ve got long enough. I think there is a kind of ambivalence in the words whole, unity, community, integrity. Some people see a gated community where the houses sell within $20,000 of each other and say,‘that is a place that is whole’.The elements are the same and it has a certain purity of form.That is a vision of wholeness that I think is deadly. Unity incorporating diversity is another way to think about these words. Integer, or one, may be the root word of integrity, but integrated also comes from that word. At the upper economic level, we’ve got crosswalks between silos that folks can walk. But there are fewer walkways between people who are less well off and even fewer that run 5
  7. 7. diagonally. Upper middle class whites and ill educated Spanish residents and new comers don’t congregate.There are no crosswalks where they might get to know one another.This is a hard thing.Yet the truth is, while communities are full of dif- Following the Forum, some participants expressed their views in a TPI survey on ferences and conflicts, people also have an overriding sense of being of that place. eliminating poverty. Selected comments appear throughout this publication. What does the term community ‘PLACE-BASED’ GETS DOWN TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD LEVEL revitalization mean to you? Chattanooga received national accolades as the come back city in the late Helping improve a community by giving ’90s. But as Murrah says, community renewal is neither a short term residents and local stakeholders the tools to make their communities safer nor a long term proposition; it is a permanent collaborative enterprise. and healthier. Many advantages come JACK By the late ’90s Chattanooga had become a darling of the press.We from helping people do it themselves, were getting all sorts of kudos for the revitalization of downtown and all the other including sustainability of efforts. changes. But we said,‘Lets don’t believe all the flattering things they are saying about us.Where is the unfinished business? Where is our city not yet shining, and who in Broadly based citizen engagement our city is still in distress?’ influencing public decisions and policies So, we spent 18 months talking with civic leaders, fussing and arguing and that create opportunity for is doing some research that really stimulated us. Studies said that people who are likely to drive without seat belts are also people who are likely to drink and drive, smoke, reclaimed & restored citizen sovereignty. and experience family violence. High risk behaviors tend to be clustered in certain individuals.We tried to sort out the meaning of this and decided that the behaviors showed a certain pessimism about the future, not necessarily a reckless confidence. Then we looked at neighborhoods, places within our community that had a number of social ills they wanted to address.We saw there needed to be some placed-based work that was not citywide, but neighborhood wide.Very quickly, six different funders - the city of Chattanooga, the United Way, the Community Foundation, private foundations and the Public Education Fund each agreed to put $500,000 into a pot.There was no budget, no organization, nothing but a shared commitment to form a partnership with distressed neighborhoods, and to figure out how partnering with them could help them become better places. Some of the funders were uncomfortable, and to some extent still are, sitting at that table and being responsible, along with others, for the success of the enterprise.We said,‘It is not an arms length transaction, if it doesn’t work you don’t get the privilege of saying they failed. It’s we failed and we have to make it right.’We are learners in this process, not judges. In my mind that is the best collaboration we have pulled off in Chattanooga. Citizen power is not CHATTANOOGA’S COOLIDGE PARK FROM THE WALNUT STREET BRIDGE something bestowed JACK A citizen is a person who has made a commitment to be of a place and to be engaged in the welfare of that place. A citizen is more than a resident. A lot of philanthropic organizations keep an arms length relationship with the field of non-profits.They are wary of conflicts of interest and all kinds of counterpro- 6
  8. 8. ‘ Those who would be leaders ductive dynamics. But, deep engagement is a risk we are willing to take because we will not get anywhere at arms length. Some national foundations work in commu- must first be citizens, those nities in the hope of creating great change, but move on too quickly. From what we have learned, that is not a practical option.We are of this place and we will be who would act wisely must of this place when this mayor goes and the next superintendent comes. I’m not sure you can do effective work in a community unless that is your commitment. know more than theory and PETER A consistent criticism of philanthropy is that it tries to do effective work do more than talk, those who on overly short cycles.Three years is considered long, yet that is often unrealistic. would make a difference must JACK The Northwest Area Foundation, which is doing some very interesting work, has made 10-year commitments to a number of communities, not just put much at risk. Murrah ’ particular institutions within those communities. Community revitalization is a permanent enterprise. It requires energetic attention, from now on. spoke about what that means. PETER Do you think a funder can play a role in the renewal of a place, be a citizen of a place, and be anonymous? Or do you think you have to be out there? JACK There are two great moral traditions that surround philanthropy. One is modesty and the other is accountability. Modesty says you don’t boast of what you’ve done, you work invisibly behind the scenes, and I think that is a genuine moral principle. But if you want to make community change, you have to let it go.You have to go out front and tell folks what you are doing and let them tell you what they think.You also have to learn to recover time and again from hurt feelings. PETER Pushback is part of the game. JACK It’s a learning experience. So, I’m not sure that you can really engage in this kind of broad community continual renewal without being public about it.We don’t necessarily grab headlines, but we don’t seek to cover our tracks. PETER Speaking of pushback, I’m reminded of an experience I had, in 1968, of having a chair thrown at me by the Vice President of the Boston NAACP. Steve Crosby, who has served on the Cabinet of two Massachusetts governors, is here and can vouch for me, since he was in the room.You have to learn from that pushback if you want to play in the public sphere.You need some courage. JACK A friend of mine told me,‘Community is not a storybook village. Community is a pain in the ass.’ (Laughter) It’s just a place where there is conflict, there is disagreement, competing interests, and there is no simple fix. People sometimes talk about philanthropy empowering others, but I’m not sure power is all that transferable. Different people and institutions have different kinds of power, and if they can bring those forms together you get more power. All parties can grow in their power. For instance, five years ago I could not go into the Highland Park neighborhood in Chattanooga and have one iota of credibility. I was an unknown and probably suspect character.The woman who is the head of the neighborhood association had a lot of power within a certain context. Highland Park had lots of out migration and slum lords moved in.You wouldn’t necessarily want to live there.You could not be sure that your property would hold its value, or your children would be safe on the street, or they could get a good education. The people of Highland Park wanted it to become a different place, but they couldn’t quite do it with the power they had.The Lyndhurst Foundation couldn’t quite do it with the power it had, nor could the city of Chattanooga. But, when all those folks were willing to come into a room together and figure out how to apply the various resources and influence we all had, Highland Park could become a different place. I’m more powerful, and I use that as an honorific term, Lyndhurst is more powerful, and Highland Park Association is a more powerful player in the continued on page 9 affairs of its community than it was before. 7
  9. 9. To shed light on its success, Lyndhurst Foundation was invited to be part of a study done for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It examined eleven foundations actively engaged in place-based community change initiatives. All are located in the communities they invest in, and each has committed support for at least five years. They are A STUDY OF PLACE-BASED INITIATIVES highly engaged in the community development process, well beyond their roles as funders. Community change remains challenging Specifically, the study looked at Lyndhurst’s work for foundations, despite the promising involvement in the Martin Luther King neighborhood of Chattanooga where it played a direct role as a story of renewal in Chattanooga. strategic developer of housing, parks and other physical infrastructure; and it supported nonprofits in the development of leadership, affordable housing and education projects. The report, “Moving Forward While Staying in Place: Embedded Funders and Community Change,” published by Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, can be obtained at The study found that the foundations shared some significant common practices and motivations: s Civic Motivation: They are motivated by a civic commitment to work in their hometown regions and believe that local focus can increase the impact of their philanthropy. s Strong Community Relationships: They strive to build relationships with community actors that are long-term, intensive, diverse, respectful, and transparent, encouraging honest feedback and communication. These relationships are at the heart of the work. We all know that grassroots involve- s Adaptive Operating Approach: They learn by doing and strive to be responsive to changing circumstances; as a consequence they tend to have dynamic decision- ment is important. At the same time, making processes. this requires power and resources s Varied Investment Forms: They rely on complex strategies and a diverse array of from others. How does one navigate financial and non-financial investments. community change within the reality of that tension? The research pointed toward the advantages of this form of philanthropic practice in helping to resolve the challenges facing the community-change field. These were not You navigate openly and truthfully, without a down side, however. ensuring that the criteria justifying the Working locally enables foundations to bring a rich array of resources, change are faithfully met. Integrity of based in part on their local knowledge, relationships and reputations. However, the process has parity with the change itself. layers of relationships, personal and professional, can be awkward for funders. You remember, if successful, credit Foundations lose some independence and detachment. The long-term investment allows them to reach for larger impacts and belongs to others, never to you because to gain cooperation from others inside and outside the community, things that only that is the truth. The good feeling that can happen over time. Opportunities and capacities can dictate the pace of the effort lifts the spirit comes from your helping rather then external, foundation-driven timetables. However, a foundation can feel others do for the good of all. “anchored” to a community, there may be opportunity costs, and it can be difficult to develop an exit strategy. With great sensitivity and patience. Some Finally, direct involvement in the change work allows foundations to observe and respond quickly to changing community circumstances, to foster more creative bribery can help the process. instrumental interactions, maintain commitment and attract others to the effort. However, the foundation’s direct involvement and intense relationship with the community can give it a disproportionate influence over the effort and create dependency rather than build the capacity of other community actors. Other foundations that were part of the study are: Cook Family Foundation, C.F. Foundation, General Mills Foundation, Haas Jr. Fund, Jacobs Family Foundation, James Ford Bell Foundation, Price Charities, Seabury Foundation, Steans Family Foundation, and Zeist Foundation. 8
  10. 10. Courage ‘There are moments when you cannot love without dissent,’ Murrah wrote for the World We Want. Karoff asked him,‘Have there been any difficult to be controversies where you or Lyndhurst had to stand and be counted?’ counted JACK Two episodes come to mind. In the first, we were supporting the symphony in an effort to build up the number of full time orchestra members.They went ahead and hired more musicians before they had new revenue sources, and we worried about where that was headed. I told the director they could not use the leverage of the Lyndhurst Foundation’s grant to push the musicians union to make compromises.We did not want it to appear that the symphony was using the Lyndhurst Foundation as a union busting force.Well, they went right straight down that road, so I wrote a letter to the editor saying I was pretty dissatisfied with out partner, the symphony. Unfortunately, it made the front page of the Chattanooga Times. The chairman of the symphony board quickly followed up with a hostile letter to the chairman of my board - a tough guy, but a man of extraordinary right gestures. He wrote back that he had passed the letter on to me where it should have been directed to begin with. He might not have approved of my actions, I could have been more prudent, but he left the issue between the chair of the symphony board and me. PETER No triangulation allowed. I like that. JACK In the later episode, the United Way was doing strategic planning at the time the Supreme Court ruled on the Boy Scouts’ case, allowing the organization to exclude gay people. I didn’t intend to start a crusade, but I simply raised a question: At what point does the behavior of your funded agencies become a threat to your organization? Do you stand for things that your funded agencies need to know about in order to head off potential conflicts? In a memo I said the issue with the Boy Scouts had sparked this question, and I acknowledged that I myself was gay so they could decide whether to discount it or not. The memo fell into the hands of a right wing blogger in town, who believed it was evidence that the homosexual elite had a secret agenda for America. For the next three months there were letters to the newspaper both attacking and defending what I had said. My board just wanted it to go away; well, so did I! But, I went to work on my own behalf because of the larger consequences. I believed my board should For a revitalization effort that aims to be stand up for me publicly because, if inclusive, visionary and achievable, what it was silent, people would not know is often the single biggest obstacle? what to interpret, and it would put other people in our community at risk. So our Presbyterian chairman signed a great Getting the powerful and the powerless letter saying that Lyndhurst has never at the table of mutual respect. been so ‘precious’ that it chooses not to touch any part of our community, and The sure belief on the part of those that we are willing to engage and work with the greatest power that they with everyone. Lyndhurst did not plan to withdraw its connection with any know what’s best for everyone else. organization because of its views, but it told others clearly where we were coming from. It was a lovely thing he did, (and I made him do it!) 9
  11. 11. AUDIENCE QUESTIONS ON LESSONS LEARNED A PUBLIC PLAZA SURROUNDS THE TENNESSEE AQUARIUM, ONE OF THE FOUR MOST HIGHLY STEVE JOHNSON,VICE PRESIDENT,TPI We have several VISITED AQUARIUMS IN THE U.S. questions from our virtual community, the first one from our friend Martin Lehfeldt, president of the South Eastern Council of Foundations: I understand how the work can be exciting and energizing, but, practically speaking, what techniques do you use to sustain the community conversa- tion over the long-haul and how do you keep bringing new voices into the conversation? JACK If it was still up to the Lyndhurst Foundation we would have run out of gas long ago. Others have happily come to own this commit- ment and this mode of operation, so it is truly a culture now.That doesn’t mean that there is no longer a place for Lyndhurst Foundation.There are still places where the community is hesitant to go, and we’ll want to check to see if there are people who are willing to go there. Many people have in their fiber a desire to seek a better world, and that’s the good news. I’ll vouch that in no time in history will we be able to say,‘it’s all done.’ PETER But more practically you do need some winds, you need a sense of progress, and it isn’t always there. JACK There is almost always some low hanging fruit, something that can be accomplished that gives people a sense of momentum. For 10 years, people had been trying to develop a safe place for victims of family violence.The culture of Chattanooga clung to the idea that family violence was a family matter, not community business. People kept running into roadblocks. But it became one of the 40 goals, and in six months they raised all the money for the building and the first three years operating fund.There is a legitimizing and energizing that can come from a visioning process that helps you get some projects done quickly. ONLINE Where was the media in all this? JACK The man who founded the Chattanooga Times, Adolph Ochs, left Chattanooga and bought the then struggling New York Times in 1912.The Ochs-Sulzberger family is legendary in the newspaper world. Adolph Ochs’s granddaughter is publisher of the Chattanooga Times, a newspaper that had real aspirations as an agent of regional progress. Nevertheless, this paper and another more conservative one were initially part of the pessimism about Chattanooga. I will never forget the news coverage of our first riverfront festival, a meager first step, but we had a festival and we had fireworks.The lead in the story in the Chattanooga Times the next morning was how one person had to go to the hospital because she got a cinder in her eye. I read it and thought,‘We can’t win, this community cannot believe in joy and the future!’That is all very different today. ONLINE In my community there is no Lyndhurst Foundation.What can we do to jumpstart community revitalization here? JACK Southerners tell stories, so here is another one. People from New Haven, Connecticut came to Chattanooga to take a look at our change process. After three days of meeting people, visiting organizations, and checking out work, they said,“We don’t have a Lyndhurst Foundation.” The head of our downtown development organizations said,‘You give us Yale, we’ll give you Lyndhurst!’ They couldn’t see their own asset. Every place has assets. Chattanooga had three quarters of the charitable assets of the state of Tennessee in 1980, when the city was going down the tubes. The presence of assets is not a guarantor of renewal. It is all about how those assets are being used. 10
  12. 12. ONLINE You had the diminution of home offices, a long rough spell with industry leaving.What was the role of the business community in these renewal efforts? JACK We had large employers, we’ve had people who were making money, but the business sector has not quite gotten into the game of community renewal. Part of that is the loss of citizens, corporate citizens.We have corporate residents, the banks are corporate residents. I’ll get a lot of grief for this when I get back home, but it’s what I see.They do not have a of stake in doing work that takes 15 or 20 years.We say,‘If you want your schools to be better, plan on a long term engagement,’ and they move on to a different task. A WHIMSICAL WATER SCULPTURE IN COOLIDGE PARK IN CHATTANOOGA’S PETER Is there not enough pressure either from employees, or customers, or the NORTH SHORE DISTRICT, community, or the leadership to go in another direction? NAMED FOR LOCAL MEDAL JACK Not yet, but tomorrow! OF HONOR RECIPIENT CHARLES H. COOLIDGE. DAVID SQUIRE,TPI BOARD What has happened to the population since you started 25 year ago? Also, since you are spending much more than 5 percent of your endowment, how are you renewing it, or is it going down? JACK With respect to the population, we are not a boom town, but there hasn’t been a huge emptying out.The metropolitan region is growing at a slightly less than the average pace for the country.The city is pretty static at around 150,000 people, down from a high of about 165,000, and some of that has been through annexation. In the last decade there has been a little upturn in the growth within the city. In respect to the endowment of Lyndhurst Foundation, the donor left the question of whether it should be permanent or not up to the trustees.The way we look at it is to think about where the resources will produce the most gain - inside our house or out. In the late ’80s, when we were spending double the 5 percent payout rate, there is no question but that those resources grew in value for our community because we put them out the door. For the long haul, community renewal rests on the generation of new wealth that is willing to engage in the philanthropic enterprise. So it is a bit of a hedged bet. Only one of the third generation of the Lyndhurst Family still lives in Chattanooga. At some point in the future, family members, when they have the means, will have the opportunity to add to the foundation’s resources and perhaps separate a piece off of it to the place where they now live.There are two parents of this institution, one is family and one is mission.These two elements of its character are separating, and there is no way they can be permanently reconciled. So we will try and find a way to honor both legacies, encouraging new giving and having a foundation that probably loses some of its touch with the family and becomes a local institution with a non-family governing board. Lyndhurst was a $60 million foundation when I started there in 1978, and it is about $170 million now. So, it has not dwindled away. If we had not spent as rapidly as we did, we might have $250 million today, and Chattanooga would be a poorer city. (Lyndhurst is one of three foundations in Chattanooga with assets greater than $100 million). PETER It is interesting to look at the question of payout and where those moneys are best utilized for the mission. Is it the time to grow, or is it needed in the community now? In the TPI experience I would say about half of the more than 200 families we’ve worked with have a strong view that foundations should go on forever, should be immortal, but the other half are planning to spend to sunset the foundation. STEVE CROSBY, CCI/CROSBY You set up a civic governing body when this all began, the Chattanooga Venture.And then it outlived its life.What is the civic leadership structure now, who sets the agenda, what gets new projects going, who makes priority decisions, who sets the stage? JACK It’s all over the place, which is great. Lots of people believe that democracy is about more than having the right to choose elected officials; it is also about the freedom to 11
  13. 13. involve yourself voluntarily in initiatives to promote the public good.We have a lively civil society in Chattanooga.We did not 25 years ago. I am by no means saying Lyndhurst was the sole inspiration, but we do now have a pretty healthy community. It is true, though, that sometimes something comes along that requires priority setting. Two years ago we were looking at an aquarium that wanted to do a $30 million addition, an art museum that needed a $10 million addition, one group eager to extend the waterfront, and another that wanted a new park downtown. A wonderful thing happened.The mayor called all those entities together and said,‘I will raise the private money, and I will get the tax revenue for this, if you will all put it together as one package and you will commit to getting it done in the next three years. All your architects have got to work together, and the public infrastructure has got to be done in a way that is compatible.’ He decided if we are going to try to do all those things we were more likely to sell it to the people as a package rather than a set of competing interests. Our mayor of 20 years ago would never have done that, he would not have had the chutzpa. PETER The mayor was obviously a terrific leader, but there was something in the way that things had evolved that allowed him to be that leader.The entities were confident enough of not losing their hold on their own influence, their connections, their donors lists.That was an amazing collaboration! JACK A couple of elbows did get disjointed. ONLINE Can you tell us about a really big blunder you and Lyndhurst have made that might hold lessons for other social investors? JACK I’ve learned my lesson about the consolidation of organizations.We’ve had a couple of runs at mergers that have just been humiliating failures and left very bad feelings all around. In one case, we looked at a nature organization that had an educational program and money, and another organization that had land and wanted to offer education, but didn’t have the money or skills. Perfect marriage.We put $150,000 on the table and said,‘You all just come together, form one organization and you will get all this money.’ And, 18 long months later, they told us to take that money and… You know, that was a unilateral gesture, born out of what we thought was rare insightful wisdom. Now we’ve had some insights along the way, but unilateral gestures are just arrogant. What is the most important role(s) PETER There is the dynamic between the foundation as the resource with that a foundation or donor can play ideas, opinions, and tacit influence, as you mentioned earlier.At the same time the in such an effort? hubris that sometimes exists can make things very lopsided. Much of the com- plaint in philanthropy is that organizations must rise to the bait, no matter what, Research: Listen to and understand because they have no alternative. what is important to the community. JACK Humility is the greatest challenge and asset you can have for doing work. Have you ever thought about why Hamlet could not move from thought Deliberation: Frame and report the to action? I think he was arrogant; he wanted to accomplish more than a man in issue in a form that invites deliberation his position could. He wanted not only to avenge his father’s death, but to make and consensus resolution. Action: sure his murderer went straight to Hell.Well, there comes a moment when you Facilitate prudent implementation. have to say that’s not mine, I don’t get to decide. Once you get over the excessive desire to control, you can break through the impasse and get something done. To listen carefully and to be willing LESLIE PINE, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT,TPI Some of us think to take risks with “their” money. about tipping points, the subject of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, in our own work on social issues. I’m curious if there was some point along the path to Chattanooga’s renewal, where things started to escalate or take a positive turn. If so, what led to that? JACK I think Gladwell might argue that these things are usually more complicated, but the completion of the Aquarium was one of those events that put us on the map. 12
  14. 14. The New York Times wrote about us, then Sports Illustrated and Parade Magazine. The New York Times is not necessarily smarter than the Chattanooga Times, but a story there means more than a feature in the local press.That was a kind of cultural tipping point. Our confidence that we could do something grew into confidence that we would keep doing it. But there is more to it.This cultural transition has happened inside the city of Chattanooga.The city makes up only half the county population. Our city council is fairly unified and progressive, but our county commission is at each other’s throats. It reflects, I think, their failure to get to a sense of a future, one they believe in and are willing to work for, that incorporates the success of Chattanooga. Instead, they are in a state of distress over the revival of the city. Their vision was ‘city past, suburbs future,’ and it’s taking them a while to get over that.The political consensus is always slower to come than the public consensus.There was a lot of feeling in Chattanooga that we were on the move long before we were able to recruit and elect a person to run for mayor who reflected that public consensus. PETER It is common that the public is in one place, and the elected officials are somewhere else. JACK If we could take the two political parties and move them away, America could go some where! (Laughter) You ask the people of Chattanooga if they think things are going in the right direction, and overwhelmingly they answer,‘Yes.’You ask the people in America the same question and they say ‘No.’ Part of that is that the politics have made us feel absolutely stuck. ROBERT HOHLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MELVILLE CHARITABLE TRUST Have you seen the whole process of revitalization drawing new talent into the city as a result of the investment you have made in culture, arts and crafts? I’m thinking of Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class, in relation to the change in the composition of the city. JACK Our young people are coming back, and we can document that. Once, they saw Chattanooga only in the rear view mirror.They didn’t see opportunities for themselves, and they just didn’t like the look and feel of the place. Now they are creating their own economic opportunities.This generation is not looking for the major company where they will work for THIS BRABSON HILL HOUSE, AND OTHERS REHABBED BY CHATTANOOGA the next 30 years. Our unemployment rate has fallen dramati- NEIGHBORHOOD ENTERPRISE, PROVIDES LOW-INCOME TENANTS WITH cally, outpacing the national improvement and you can’t easily MUCH IMPROVED HOUSING AT REDUCED MONTHLY RENTAL RATES. account for that except to cite the growing spirit of the place. ONLINE Other than Lyndhurst, who are the other funders who are doing exemplary work in community revitalization? What is the most important or (See Study page 8.) PETER The Annie E. Casey Foundation, interesting thing you took away with whom TPI works, is certainly one national from the Tuesdays@TPI forum? foundation seriously committed to helping communities become stronger and more A sound democratic process is essen- whole. I think it has shared many of the tial to meaningful change. Humility lessons that Lyndhurst has learned, especially is an essential leadership virtue. staying on for the long course.The Carnegie Foundation is also doing things in Wise and courageous leadership can Chattanooga, along with the Annenberg indeed be a catalyst for change. Foundation, that will hopefully be long term. 13
  15. 15. I have a final question, Jack, after hearing all you have said.What makes you do this work? There is a wonderful insight from Bill O’Brien who ran Hanover Insurance:‘The success of the intervention is directly dependent on the inner condition of the intervener.’ Can you tell us something about your inner motivation? JACK Probably the most important event shaping my adult life occurred when I was a college dropout suffering from the first of several bouts with depression. I was a junior, making all As, and I had to go home. I just felt hopeless about the future - as you do when you suffer from that sick- ness.There were no drugs, and shock treatment didn’t help. I tried working in a burger place and couldn’t function.They fired me after three days. Near my parents home, there was a boys reform school where I began to teach. In that sad forsaken institution, it never occurred to me that those children couldn’t learn. And it turned out they could. I had 14-year olds, who could not write their names, writing letters. It was not that I was a particularly good teacher, I just treated them like they could learn. It gave me a personal confidence about the capacity of people, people who are largely written off. Later on I taught in a prep school and, frankly, the biggest difference between them and the kids in the reform school was the size of their parents’ checkbook. Many were virtually cast off by overly busy parents. So I’ve agonized over cast off people, and now I sit in a privileged place.You spoke of courage. Everybody in philanthropy ought to recognize that we’ve got the easiest place in the world to exercise courage. So, I guess I’d simply say, if you don’t want to use your power, get out of the way and let someone else do it. PETER Baba Dioum, who works for change in Senegal, said,‘In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.’ Jack Murrah, thank you for being our teacher. Donors TPI has found that donors can play many key roles in community based efforts. In addition to financial support, donors can participate directly in planning and implementation. Contributions that can be of great value include: play many NEEDS ASSESSMENT - Document the conditions, needs, assets of families and neighborhoods roles in TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE - Help neighborhoods acquire skills to enhance their long-term organizational capacity building FACILITATION - Convene, organize and mobilize people to give voice to individual views and shared visions community ADVOCACY -Work to align government and the private sector with the interests and activities in the community EVALUATION - Strengthen local capacity to measure the effectiveness of the strategies INCUBATION - Make flexible funding available to seed innovative approaches and to leverage additional resources TPI has seen that successful community-building initiatives draw people together through an inclusive process that encourages a positive sense of community and self-worth. Neighborhoods themselves must want change, envision change and work for change if the effort is to succeed. 14
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