LF Blog and News - Leadership Foundations
22
May

A Hope-Filled Wait

There are a lot of universal experiences right now as a result of this pandemic. The one I’d like to consider together is the universal experience of waiting.

We are all doing a lot of waiting right now and like the psalmist we cry out, “How long, O Lord?”  

Waiting is hard.  We’re all waiting for things to “open up” again. We want freedom from our stay at home orders. We want things to get back to normal.

Yet, waiting is one of God’s favorite invitations to us. In the waiting there is some Biblical advice that turns waiting into something active rather than something that is merely passive. Waiting in a Biblical worldview is largely about living in hope: holding on to what we know to be true and looking for the signs of God’s presence in the midst of our wait.

Changing Perspective

Waiting informed by hope is more than standing still and lamenting all that isn’t. It is about pivoting. If we can’t move forward in the direction we want to go, we can pivot on one foot, change our perspective and ask ourselves what we can see, what we can know, what we can do in the space where we have to remain. It’s the invitation that Jeremiah called the exiles in Babylon to consider:

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare

Jeremiah 29:5-7

Pivot. Change your perspective. Take in where you are and do what you can in that place. Live in hope rather than a state of longing informed mostly by despair. We all have our own versions of what such a pivot might bring into view and many of us are acting on the invitations that have come into focus.

What would this kind of pivot look like in your own life?

Here at Leadership Foundations we have pivoted in the 40+ cities around the world that we love and serve. Some of us are providing food to the vulnerable in our city and others are mentoring youth online. We have also created an ambitious activation fund to raise much needed support to enable our cities to continue the critical relief work they are doing.

As each of us continues to wait during this time, let’s pivot to take in what is around us, asking God to show us what we have not yet seen. God’s love has not stopped. God’s presence is still something on which we can rely. Let’s give witness to both of these truths as we seek the welfare of the cities to which God has sent us.

Barb Marshall is a member of the Leadership Foundations Board, providing critical strategic support to our network of 40+ local Leadership Foundations around the world. She co-leads a weekly prayer time on behalf of the LF global network. Barb has over 30 years of experience in education, ranging from elementary education to leadership development to spiritual formation.

In case you missed this week’s Town Hall

Thanks to all who joined the May 20th Town Hall. Be sure to look out for weekly invitations to upcoming Town Hall meetings. In the meantime, you can register here for the May 27th Town Hall. As always, feel free to share with your network.

We have included the Town Hall recording below as well as each the previous weekly Town Halls.

May 20 Town Hall featuring:

-Jon Eisele from Deloitte LLP on strategic planning

-Chris Martin from Knoxville Leadership Foundation on the incredible work being done in Tennessee.

-Eric Geary with an energizing update on the LF COVID-19 Activation Fund


May 13 Town Hall featuring:

– Dr. William Storrar on leadership during the current normal of the COVID-19 crisis and what he believes is a profound opportunity for leaders to reimagine a post-pandemic future

– Jay Schindler from Miami Valley Leadership Foundation updating us on what is happening in Dayton, OH and how MVLF is responding.

-And an update on the LF COVID-19 Activation Fund and funding opportunity in partnership with Whitworth University

May 6 Town Hall featuring:
– A Funding Opportunity for Local Leadership Foundations in partnership with Whitworth University
– Lisa Lampman and Bianca Singleton updating us on the response from the LF Mentoring network
– Lina Thompson, Senior Pastor at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church

April 29 Town Hall featuring:
– Doug Holladay, Founder & CEO, PathNorth
– Wilna De Beer, Tshwane Leadership Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa
– Leadership Foundations COVID-19 Campaign

April 22 Town Hall featuring:
– Rev. Dr. Terry McGonigal​, Director of the Office of Church Engagement, Whitworth University
– Larry Lloyd, Memphis Leadership Foundation
– Leadership Foundations Impact Analysis Results

April 15 Town Hall featuring:
– Noel Castellanos​, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Rudy Carrasco​, Program Director​, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
– Sam Skillern, Salem Leadership Foundation, Salem, OR
– Eric Geary, Lexington Leadership Foundation, Lexington, KY

April 8 Town Hall featuring:
– Dale Irvin, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Lisa Slayton, Sr Innovation Fellow, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
– Randy White​, The Center for Community Transformation, Fresno, CA

April 1 Town Hall featuring:
– Dan Cardinali, President & CEO, Independent Sector
– June Carrington, Beacons of Hope, New York City, NY
– Abhishek Gier, Catalyst Leadership Foundation, Delhi, India
– Nathaniel Price, Transform Scott County, Georgetown, KY


COVID-19 Town Hall Meetings

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Leadership Foundations began holding weekly Town Hall Meetings spotlighting relevant experts, theological responses to the crisis, and the real-time responses of the network. In case you have missed them or want to rewatch, you can find the recordings below.

April 1 Town Hall featuring:

  • Dan Cardinali, President & CEO, Independent Sector
  • June Carrington, Beacons of Hope, New York City, NY
  • Abhishek Gier, Catalyst Leadership Foundation, Delhi, India
  • Nathaniel Price, Transform Scott County, Georgetown, KY

April 8 Town Hall featuring:

  • Dale Irvin, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Lisa Slayton, Sr Innovation Fellow, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Randy White​, The Center for Community Transformation, Fresno, CA

April 15 Town Hall featuring:

  • Noel Castellanos​, Sr Innovation Fellow​, Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center
  • Rudy Carrasco​, Program Director​, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust ​
  • Sam Skillern, Salem Leadership Foundation, Salem, OR
  • Eric Geary, Lexington Leadership Foundation, Lexington, KY

April 22 Town Hall featuring:

  • Rev. Dr. Terry McGonigal​, Director of the Office of Church Engagement, Whitworth University
  • Larry Lloyd, Memphis Leadership Foundation
  • Leadership Foundations Impact Analysis Results

April 29 Town Hall featuring:

  • Doug Holladay, Founder & CEO, PathNorth
  • Wilna De Beer, Tshwane Leadership Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Leadership Foundations COVID-19 Campaign

May 6 Town Hall featuring:

  • A Funding Opportunity for Local Leadership Foundations in partnership with Whitworth University
  • Lisa Lampman and Bianca Singleton updating us on the response from the LF Mentoring network
  • Lina Thompson, Senior Pastor at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church
Child from Lexington
27
Apr

Serving Our City in Crisis

Like so many others, we could have never imagined what the beginning of 2020 would hold for our world and nation. We at Lexington Leadership Foundation (LLF) have been challenged with the question,

“How do we serve our city, while still adhering to the guidelines set in place for our community’s safety?”

What does LLF’s role for the city look like during this time? Our team has been collaborating on the best ways to serve our neighbors. We suspended our regular in-person programming and adjusted our work to address the pressing needs of people in our community and shine Christ’s love and light.
Gathering meals for distribution throughout Lexington
We are working with our partners to serve hundreds of meals to children and families- averaging 136 meals distributed per day, along with a smile and a friendly face. We will continue to do this as long as we are able. Our staff is also checking in on our students, their families, volunteers, and partners to identify their needs and connecting them to resources. A few of our students didn’t have a computer at home, so we helped get them one to ensure the kids could do their schoolwork. One of our bi-lingual team members is taking on the role of Resource Coordinator, working by phone to provide emotional support during an overwhelming time and help families access available resources.
We don’t know how long life will operate like this, but we do know that God is good and in control. In the midst of these uncertain times, we continue to lean into our call to serve Lexington and the people who call it home.
dedicated Lexington Volunteers
Dedicated volunteers of Lexington LF distributing supplies and loving neighbors
thank you card
27
Apr

Thank You!

Last month, we asked you to contact your legislator to advocate for support to non-profits during stimulus act negotiations.

Many of you took action by contacting your legislators.  Thank you! As a result of our collective action, Independent Sector recently shared that…
  • Nonprofit needs are included for the first time in all emergency relief packages related to COVID-19
  • All taxpayers can claim the charitable deduction for the first time in 34 years
  • Critical federal programs received additional funds to meet growing needs
  • and Initial federal funding is available to begin establishing systems to help voters safely participate in 2020 elections   
Thank you for helping to make this progress possible and for your support of Local Leadership Foundations and partners work on the ground in communities across the world!
27
Apr

An Invitation into the Chaos


How God’s Love Can Be Your Fuel Amidst COVID-19

In this season of spring, many of us are experiencing winter, with very little sight of its end date.  For some of us, it is a season of exhaustion, loss, grief, strain, and chaos. We may be experiencing trauma either first-hand or indirectly. And we may not even know it.  For those experiencing this, the stress hormone, cortisol, can be heightened putting us on “high alert.” We may experience tension and pain in our bodies, our minds may be foggy or moving too fast.  We can become easily triggered and highly reactive.  Sleep may elude us – or maybe consumes us.

What does it look like to depend upon God to lead us during this time of chaotic noise? How do we connect, be quiet. How do we simply be?  As Dave Hillis stated in last month’s Street Lights, the concept of “non-reactive leadership” may hold deep promise in these anxiety-producing times.

But how do we go about it?


When Helping Hurts

When asked by an expert of the law what is the greatest commandment, Jesus answers,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Mark 12: 28-30
Notice how Jesus identifies the second commandment, loving our neighbor, as an outflowing of loving God—I think this is no accident. Jesus is saying come to me with all you got. Your loving me is the source of loving your neighbor. Your loving me really means surrendering to me – with your body, mind, heart, and spirit. In this time of “winter”, where the needs of those in our communities have escalated, the risk of burnout and unhealth becomes even more of a danger. In normal times and in this time of crisis, it is easy to flip the order of the two commandments. Loving your neighbor becomes all-consuming. And loving God somehow gets lost in the frenzy. But this is not sustainable –personally or organizationally. Along my own journey of working alongside many “street saints” — those who are living out their vocation of loving the most vulnerable in their communities — I’ve seen and experienced plenty of burnout, exhaustion, strained relationships, addiction, self-sabotage, and organizational combustion. I wonder if sometimes this can be a reflection of having lost touch with Jesus’ two intertwined commandments. So what does following the first commandment look like in times like these? How do we surrender all to our creator who asks us to love God with all of ourselves?

“Come to Me, all you who are weary…”

Contemplata is the Latin word “to see”. Contemplative practices are those practices that provide us a way to connect with God with all of ourselves. They are practices that help us surrender all of our pieces and parts to God: 1) grounding our bodies enough to feel and release the tension and trauma we store, 2) quieting our minds enough to stop the constant egoic thoughts, 3) opening our hearts enough to be vulnerable and take down the walls of self-protection, and 4) being able to connect to receive the love, insight, and direction God has for us.

Through this practice of integrating these four elements into our lives, we are invited into a space to be still. To recognize God’s overwhelming grace-filled movement toward us. To be loved by God.

And then, from this place of being, we can move into doing. We can better hear God’s voice, we are integrated and strong for the task, and we can love our neighbor as ourselves.

A Brief Practice


Ground your body

by gently stretching your whole body. Then bring your awareness to any tension you may be holding – especially in your shoulders and hips. Gently move to release that tension.

Quiet your body

by inhaling and exhaling deeply ten times, expanding your belly as you inhale.

Open your heart

by closing your eyes and opening your palms, imagining that you are carrying a particular worry or burden in your hands. Inhale, and as you exhale, imagine letting go of that burden and giving it to God, even just for a moment.

Connect to the Spirit

by taking a scripture verse or a poem, and reading it through four times (as in Lectio Divina style), noticing what word or phrase jumps out at you, what the Holy Spirit may be saying to you, and your prayer or response. For a guided Integrated Pause video session, visit WinnSummitStrategies.com and click on Integrated Pause. On Mondays at 10 am EST, Angie offers a free “Virtual Pause” through zoom, which is a 30-minute integrated practice, especially designed for the “street saints”. You can find the invitation and other resources on the website.

Angie Winn is a member of Leadership Foundations’ Leadership Council and has spent 25 years providing leadership and organizational development to corporate, non-profit, and ministry leaders and teams.

She now leads Winn Summit Strategies and helps integrate contemplative practices for individuals, leaders and organizations, through consulting, coaching, workshops, and retreats.

She also leads yoga and meditation practices locally at her Loft on Main space outside of Orlando, FL.

india streets
1
Apr

Leadership Foundations is taking the lead on the COVID-19 crisis

LEADERSHIP IS STEPPING INTO THE GAP

 

The global crisis that we now find ourselves in, with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, is placing unimaginable stress on vulnerable communities and those experiencing poverty. As millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Paying rent and utilities, getting food and finding basics like diapers is tougher than ever before.

 

Yet during such a time of uncertainty and crisis, people are together to support one another in new and remarkable ways.

 

Local Leadership Foundations throughout the world are stepping up and taking the lead in helping demonstrate the COVID-19 crisis as a  our collective strength.

 

170,000 volunteers have offered to help UK fight COVID-19 | World ...

 

In Georgetown, Kentucky, the local Leadership Foundation, Transform Scott County is coordinating its volunteer response on behalf of the entire county. In conjunction with local government, Transform Scott County is staffing the local helpline.   

 

In conjunction with church partners, they are managing phone lines every day Monday-Friday. Thanks to their efforts, the elderly and people who are immunocompromised are able to get essential medicine and food, that they’d otherwise have to go without.  We then refer the request to sheriff deputies for delivery or to our local food bank for people who cannot purchase food.

 

Delhi Master Plans fail to crack slum resettlement puzzle - delhi ...

 

RIOTS ON TOP OF THE VIRUS

 

In Delhi, India, the local leadership Foundation, Catalyst, is serving in an extremely tense environment — many have recently lost their homes to riots, migrant farm workers have been pushed out of their humble dwellings, and the city is under a complete lock-down.

 

Catalyst has been given special permission and is one of the only groups in the entire city that can leave their houses to provide services. Every day, their staff work tirelessly to try to meet the emergency needs of the most vulnerable and destitute on the streets of Delhi.

 

Keep Us, our city, our country and the whole world in your prayers.”

says Catalyst president, Abhishek Gier.

 

These are just a few examples of the heroic ways in which Leadership Foundations are stepping up amidst this global crisis on behalf of vulnerable people in cities throughout the world.

 

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

Consider making a special gift today to Leadership Foundations to ensure that our network can continue to be as responsive to the growing and long term needs as we seek to not only meet emergency need, but to rebuild and rehabilitate these communities.

 

 

 

26
Mar

Nonreactive Leadership

or, Leadership in a Time of Coronavirus

a reflection by President Dave Hillis

 

It is in times like we find ourselves in today–with the COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s mind–that many would say to Leadership Foundations,

 

“Cities as playgrounds?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

They sure look more like

battlegrounds these days to me.”

 

With social distancing potentially making us see our neighbors as our enemies, and shelter in place orders breeding distrust and fear, it seems like our cities are becoming more like battlegrounds.

 

Counterintuitively, I believe that it is in times like these where this central metaphor of LF, Cities as Playgrounds, holds its greatest promise. In fact, this image of Cities as Playgrounds can remind us all of why going through a trauma like what we’re going through is even worthwhile.

 

So how do we live in a time of crisis like today? How do we lead?

 

I ultimately believe a time like this calls us to live and lead out of a place of freedom. In his second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul simply says, “where the Spirit of God is, there is also freedom.” The movement of God is always drawing us toward a place of freedom- both interior and exterior freedom.

 

And by definition, being free, as a leader, means to engage in the world in a way that is non-reactive.

 

So here are three practical realities in which I believe non-reactive leadership can be lived out in our day-to-day lives:

 

1. Non-reactive Leadership is Characterized by a Non-Anxious Presence

 

You know leaders and you know that place in yourself that is so anxious to please the crowd in front of you, that place so eager for

the approval of others.

 

Leaders who are able to practice “non-anxious presence” recognize that they don’t require the approval of others.

 

They are clearly aware that their ultimate value comes from a source much deeper and unshakable–a source that is much different than the whims of the crowd.

 

 

 

2. Non-reactive Leadership Pivots From the Practice of Being Holy

 

A word that often holds too much religious baggage, the word “Holy” simply points to its relative with a ‘W’, “Whole.

 

When we see things as a whole, we see how they are connected to one another.

 

This then becomes our working assumption in leadership–that ALL things are connected. But the trick is, you can only see this interconnectedness from a nonreactive place.

 

 

 

 

3. Non-reactive Leadership Leads to an Eschatological – not Apocalyptic – Way of Seeing

 

Trappist monk Thomas Merton was known to make this distinction. When we see with Apocalyptic eyes, we are seeing in a way that is in response to what is right in front of us–in other words, reactively, out of fear for what we think the future holds.

 

When we see with Eschatological Eyes, we see with the eyes of hope. This doesn’t paper over the harsh realities we’re experiencing in our day-to-day lives, on our city streets or in our quarantined communities. But nonetheless we can imagine and envision hope in a way that brings our reality into sharper focus–that can envision the fullness of creation being within our reach.

 

 

It is in this place of non-reactivity, of freedom, that all of us can continue to see our communities as places of God’s deep hope and love. Even in times of crisis, God’s promise of our cities as playgrounds is there for us to live into.

25
Mar

LF Theological Roundtable: Jim Wallis on Leadership amidst Crisis

On a quarterly basis, Leadership Foundations holds a quarterly conversation with our network on what it looks like to think theologically as local Leadership Foundations see their cities as playgrounds.

 

We were blessed to host bestselling author and public theologian Jim Wallis, who shared about what it looks like to lead and be a follower of Christ in times of crisis.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION

25
Mar

Meet Mario Matos

Meet Mario Matos, one of the remarkable leaders in the Leadership Foundations Network. Mario serves as the president of Sinergia, the Leadership Foundation of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

In a city that is growing rapidly, with a broadening chasm between the rich and poor, Sinergia is bringing together nonprofits, churches, and businesses to work together for the common good of their city!

 

We had the gift of hearing from Mario recently at a conversation hosted by LF’s Leadership Council, a group LF’s most faithful and dedicated supporters. You can listen to the wonderful conversation by clicking the link below:

 

LISTEN HERE