A 40 Year Legacy: A Global Fellowship- Episode 41

Take a moment to listen to the latest episode of the City as Playground Podcast.


In this episode, Dave and Rick discuss LF’s organizational development over the course of its 40-year history. With a clip from LF founder Reid Carpenter, the conversation explores the early years of fellowship, the importance of the Incarnation, and the emergence of a robust global organization. Listen here and send in any questions you would like answered to info@leadershipfoundations.org.


Communities of Practice

For a movement like LF to flourish, organizational theorists talk about developing a learning culture—that particular way in which knowledge is gathered, packaged, and delivered.  Richard McDermott, in the Harvard Business Review, coined the term “communities of practice” to describe how this process works. Indeed, we need look no further than Jesus’s training of the twelve to see evidence of this theological reality.


McDermott goes on to write that every community of practice shares a basic structure consisting of three parts: a domain of knowledge, a community of people, and a shared practice. It is this structure that has energized and animated the creation of an online training curriculum called index City As Playground: LF Training Essentials.  Done in partnership with our training partner, Street Psalms, this resource allows us to keep up with our ever-growing list of cities (now over 30) expressing desire to affiliate with LF.


Through the entocort price walmart City As Playground: LF Training Essentials we have created six 90-minute sessions offered on a monthly basis by a variety of seasoned voices to ensure that LF’s gift of seeing the city as God’s playground instead of a battleground, first given to Sam Shoemaker and Reid Carpenter in 1962, is passed forward in faithful and generative ways.


In this context the City As Playground: LF Training Essentials is a result of three primary elements: a domain of knowledge of how the city can become a playground which provides common ground and a common identity; a cultivated, nurtured, and modeled community of colleagues that understand transformation is not primarily about the transmission of information, but relationship; and surfacing the prominence of the wheel of change as our shared practice by highlighting current LF work around the world.


Through the City As Playground: LF Training Essentials we have created a training platform by which many cities and communities will be able to develop LF affiliates to help transform cities from battlegrounds to playgrounds.

Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center Launch

Embedded in the very marrow of Leadership Foundations (LF), is the adage that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. This idea emanates from Jesus who, in his first public debut, acknowledged his sense of indebtedness to his cousin, John the Baptist (Matthew 3). In this context, and with LF’s 40th anniversary afoot in 2018, the LF Board asked itself: how can we honor those whose shoulders we stand on and ensure that this veneration has a real-time benefit for the LF global network?



In response to this question, LF created the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center (CCIC), named after Jerry Colangelo, LF’s first board chair, and Reid Carpenter, LF’s founder. Launched this month, the CCIC is based in Washington D.C. and will generate and scale innovative practices, programs, and polices in support of the LF network and cities around the world. It also allows us to say a hearty amen to two leaders on whose shoulders we stand.


Dag Hammarskjöld—the Swedish diplomat, second United Nations Secretary-General, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient articulated something that captures the very essence of this moment in LF’s history. “For all that has been, thank you.  For all that is to come, yes!” Through the CCIC we say “thank you” to Jerry and Reid and “yes” to the glorious future of seeing cities and communities become playgrounds.


Learn more about the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center on our website!

Interview with Jack Fortin, LF Board Chair

Leadership Foundations Board Chair Jack Fortin was awarded an honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Divinity honoris causa) on May 19th during the 118th Annual New York Theological Seminary Commencement. We chatted with Jack about this high honor and his experience being recognized for a lifetime of achievements in ministry and theological thought. To watch Dr. Fortin’s sermon, click here


This is a big deal to be given this honor. What was your feeling when NYTS approached you about this?

Dale Irvin, President of NYTS, is a Leadership Council member and a wonderful supporter and friend. We’ve had several conversations about life and work and meaning. Dale came to me one day and said, “We’d like to honor your work.” The honorary doctorate is really the honoring of a person’s life work and having your peers recognize it and that meant a lot to me. More importantly, institutionally, I believe God loves organizations as much as God loves people because people in organizations create more change than they do individuals. I told Dale I wanted to give myself not just to people but to institutions like Leadership Foundations which is biased for action and creates stronger communities which allow God’s mission to be carried out. Dale and I both wanted to connect our institutions and decided one of the ways to do that would be through this honor.


It is also a momentous occasion for Leadership Foundations to have its Board Chair validated in this way and to be on that stage.

One of my goals was to lift up the two organizations where I am giving my time and that share the values and direction of NYTS; Augsburg University and LF. They are not about building a bigger organization but they’re about impacting the community through their area of expertise and doing so in a collaborative manner, and I wanted to elevate that and reflect on the commissioning coming out of Augsburg and LF, and biblically justify the uniqueness of the two.


“What a fantastic time to be alive participating in and leading faith communities with all of the expressions found among us; knowing we can be a vehicle of transformation of life where cities will no longer be battlefields but will be playgrounds of safety and hope and shalom.”.  Jack Fortin, from his sermon “Through Closed Doors…Sent“ NYTS Commencement Service May 19, 2018


What did you want to communicate to this 118th graduating class of NYTS?

I wanted to reflect the occasion and give a particular commission to the graduates. I wanted to acknowledge that you graduated from not just any old Seminary but one whose point of view is critical to the world today and to demonstrate that LF and Augsburg are two institutions that are living out the work that NYTS has uniquely trained you for. But there were also families there as well–brothers and cousins and sisters and I wanted to make sure that the Gospel was clear enough that they could understand the power of the Good News when it is delivered through action and reflection, not just reflection.


The Church where you delivered you sermon is full of history. The building was commissioned by John Rockefeller and MLK Jr, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more who have spoken from the same pulpit. Was the historical relevance significant to you?

Oh yes. I was very aware of that. It was a phenomenal privilege in my career to speak from the same platform as these great leaders. But it was only after it was all over when I stepped back and really reflected on what had just happened, the way that God has used me, and how the experience strengthened my own fervor for the work that we are doing. Very humbling.


Dale introduced you and must have gone on for 5 minutes on your lifetime of achievements. I hope this is not a period at the end of your work.

I can never retire! My calling isn’t about my job. My calling is about my work and when I quit work, I die. Until I die, I will continue to do my work. This experience simply fires me up.

A 40 Year Legacy: A Theology As Big As The City- Episode 40

Take a moment to listen to the latest episode of the City as Playground Podcast.


In this episode, Dave and Rick continue to discuss LF’s 40th anniversary and look back at key pieces of the LF theological framework. The conversation includes clips from Dr. Ray Bakke, a pivotal voice since LF’s early years, reflecting on why loving the city was not just important, but foundationally Christian. Listen here and send in any questions you would like answered to info@leadershipfoundations.org.


If you would like to hear more from Ray on this topic, click here to revisit Episode 9: Bible as Urban Book.


Mentoring Youth for Leadership

The Department of Justice must think that Leadership Foundations (LF) is doing something right in mentoring at-risk youth. Since 2015, LF has received two grant awards from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) totaling $4.5 million to provide mentoring relationships to more than 4,500 youth through a network of 23 Local Leadership Foundations (LLFs) across the U.S.


Administering these grants is a great privilege and a great responsibility for LF. We put LF’s wheel of change to work as we seek to build the capacity of local leaders and their mentoring programs. The grants allow LF to provide local leaders with training and resources, sub awards, coaching, and assistance in developing joint initiatives with other local organizations to better serve youth in their communities.


Two LLFs recently shared their reflections on how the training they have received from LF has built their capacity as mentoring programs:


“We feel that we have a strong mentoring program; however, we always know there is room for growth. Through the training webinars, we have gained insight from other cohorts on best practices that have been proven effective. Through the in-person training, we are better prepared to deal with challenges that could develop. We also gained helpful insight from having a regional coach who has the ability to push our thinking and challenge us to be a better mentoring program that will benefit our community.”  
– Anthony Branch, Vice President, Memphis Leadership Foundation


The Metro Atlanta Leadership Foundation has been able to touch the lives of more than 150 students through evidence-based mentoring practices as a sub awardee of the OJJDP grant. Alongside exceeding our mentor-match target goals, we have been able to provide training to our mentors and establish organized processes of data collection. With the accountability of the grant systems in place, we have been able to increase our effectiveness and meet recognized benchmarks.”
–Bianca Singleton, Director Mentoring Youth Collaborative, Metro Atlanta Leadership Foundation


We are grateful not only to have the opportunity to serve youth through mentoring but also to build the capacity of LLF mentoring programs so that they can continue to truly transform communities from battlegrounds into playgrounds.

A 40 Year Legacy: The Founding Story- Episode 39

Take a moment to listen to the latest episode of the City as Playground Podcast.


In this episode, Dave and Rick continue their conversation about LF’s 40th anniversary. Together they discuss key moments, people, and ideas that contributed to the founding of the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation in 1978. Complete with words from our founder Reid Carpenter, they look at how this moment in our history has continued to blossom in Pittsburgh and inspire the love and work of LF member cities around the world. Listen here and send in any questions you would like answered to info@leadershipfoundations.org.


Highway of Hope

Our members transform communities around the world by driving the LF wheel of change. This work was on clear display at a series of meetings in Nairobi in early March. Hosted by CTM Kenya, the Local Leadership Foundation, the time featured everything from board training to basketball clinics.


CTM Kenya was founded in 2006 by Gideon Ochieng with the mission of changing geography into community. One way they work toward this goal is the Highway of Hope (HOH) program in Kibera, East Africa’s largest informal settlement with a population of over 1 million people. As a part of the LF Global Youth Initiative, HOH seeks to bring hope and transform Kibera through basketball, mentoring, and educational opportunities for local youth.


The CTM Kenya team looked to the LF wheel of change to give them a framework to take on this large endeavor. They began by engaging leaders of good faith and good will across the city and shared the vision for HOH. The program would build the capacity of local leaders by providing them mentoring and basketball skills training. These leaders would then be able to deliver a robust joint initiative to local youth at the 16 courts that would be built in Kibera. The idea resonated with the community, government officials like Kenneth Okoth who is a member of the Kenyan Parliament and a lifelong resident of Kibera, the local Kibera Basketball Association, and principals of government and faith-based schools in the area.


Over the last few years, HOH has gained momentum. They have built courts and had diverse partners from around the world like the Jr. NBA, Texas A&M, and Athletes In Action join the work. Earlier this month, the partners came together to provide training to mentors and coaches, deliver programming to 140 athletes from Kibera, and connect the youth to other resources in the community.


Antony Maina, the Principal of Little Prince Primary School shared, “What makes basketball most important [for the youth] is the presence of an adult. They need a mentor, someone that can help them make correct choices. Someone who transmits not only a skill, but a way of life. Because, essentially, at the end of it all, it’s about how they live their life.”


That is the hope; that as CTM Kenya and other LLFs around the world drive the wheel of change, individual lives are transformed and communities like Kibera become more like playgrounds.


Click here to watch a short video about the Highway of Hope project.

A 40 Year Legacy- Episode 38

Take a moment to listen to the latest episode of the City as Playground Podcast.


In 2018, Leadership Foundations marks its 40th anniversary. In this episode, Dave and Rick discuss the importance of remembrance and set up our next podcast series which will explore significant events over the last 40 years that have brought us to where we are today and position the LF network for the next decades of impact. Listen here and send in any questions you would like answered to info@leadershipfoundations.org.