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Fund the People: A Podcast with Rusty Stahl

Fund the People: A Podcast with Rusty Stahl

By Fund the People
Are you a funder who loves philanthropy, but you want your foundation to be more effective, and to help build the organizational strength, equity, and impact of grantees? Are you a nonprofit leader who loves our sector, but you’re frustrated with the seeming inability to compensate and support staff in a fair and effective fashion, and the ubiquity of toxic nonprofit workplaces? This unique podcast examines the need, value, and complexity of investing in the nonprofit workforce.
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Investing in New Executive Directors, Part 2 - with Jane McDonnell and Irving Washington
In this episode, you'll get a rare glimpse into the inside story of two people who have, together, gone through the unique crucible that is an executive transition. Jane McDonnell is the former Executive Director of the Online News Association and is now an independent consultant. Irving Washington is the current Executive Director of the Online News Association, and a longtime association professional in the journalism field. Jane and Irving went through an executive transition in a thoughtful, proactive, ethical, and effective fashion, with respect for one another, for their colleagues, for their funders, and their organization. We all know that executive transitions are critical inflection points for organizations, and too many funders are not yet proactively investing in healthy transitions, and not supporting outgoing and incoming executive directors to succeed in the transition. This episode is Part 2 of our mini-series on supporting new executive directors. It’s the companion to Episode 2, the previous episode, which was a conversation with Bipasha Ray and Joey Lee, former and current staff at Open Society Foundations. In that episode, we discussed OSF’s New Executives Fund, a program that supports new executive directors in nonprofits around the world, especially “historic firsts” in their organizations. (Irving participated in the OSF New Executives Fund. A few months after we recorded this interview, Irving announced that 2022 would be his last year with ONA, after six years as CEO and 11 years total of service to the organization.) Here we explore Talent-Investing Principle #4: Talent justice is essential. This principle says that racism, sexism, classism, and other inequities are baked into the deficit of investment in the nonprofit workforce. Thus, the solution must advance intersectional racial equity.
September 21, 2022
Investing in New Executive Directors, Part I - with Joey Lee and Bipasha Ray of Open Society Foundations
In this episode, you'll gain valuable insights from a major funding institution about why they believe it’s important to invest in the nonprofit workforce by supporting new executive directors. We speak with Joey Lee and Bipasha Ray of Open Society Foundations (OSF). You'll hear about important research on the value of investing in new executives from a new OSF report that draws upon the experiences and voices of hundreds of new E.D.s. This is a resource that you can use with your funders, your board, and others. The issue of healthy executive transitions was important before 2020, and it's even more important now, as diverse new executives are hired into challenging pandemic workplaces. Executive transitions are a crucial inflection point for new managers, organizations, staff teams, board members, and supporters involved in the process. And, perhaps most importantly, they also impact the communities who rely upon organizations for services. As more organizations hire “historic firsts” – women, people of color, LGBTQ people – as their top executives, too many of these leaders are unintentionally being "set up to fail", rather than supported to succeed. Funder practices can be part of the solution, or part of the problem. So having a major funder like OSF become part of the solution in a very public way is important progress, and it’s something you can leverage in your own talent-investing efforts! This episode explores Talent-Investing Principle #4: Talent Justice is Essential. This principle says that racism, sexism, classism, and other inequities are baked into the deficit of investment in the nonprofit workforce. Thus, talent-investing must advance intersectional racial equity in order to be successful. To hear all 8 Principles of Talent-Investing, listen to Season 3 Episode 1. And we invite you to learn from all the amazing past guests of Fund the People - A Podcast with Rusty Stahl. All resources & links mentioned in the show can be found at
September 14, 2022
The 8 Principles of Talent-Investing with host Rusty Stahl
This episode kicks off the fabulous third season of Fund the People - A Podcast with Rusty Stahl. To get the season started, Rusty establishes the theme: the 8 Principles of Talent-Investing. He shares guiding principles from “Funding that Works,” the exciting new framework for talent-investing that Fund the People will roll-out in 2023 through our new online Academy. The principles offer the intellectual groundwork upon which effective talent-investing practices can be built.
September 07, 2022
Coming Soon! New Season of Fund the People Podcast Launches Sept. 7!
It's been a long, hot summer, and we've been cooking up a delicious menu of alternatives to the nonprofit starvation cycle. We are back with a phenomenal Season 3, serving up episodes based on the 8 Principles of Talent-Investing. Grab your fork, dig in, and enjoy interviews with folks from foundations, nonprofits and intermediaries. Tune in for Season 3 of the Fund the People podcast on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and remember to keep your tank full, take care of yourself, and take care of one another.
August 31, 2022
Funding That Works Academy
Announcing a special new program: the Funding That Works Academy! Learn about our talent investing framework via an online course with versions available for all types of nonprofit professionals.
August 31, 2022
Using Capacity-Building Grants for People-Systems - with Andrea Frye, People’s Action (Bonus Episode)
During this long dark winter, we have a bright conversation with a colleague who is managing the operations of a national social justice organization, and who can offer us some rays of hope. Our guest is Andrea Frye. Andrea is the Operations Director of Peoples’ Action, a national network of state & local grassroots power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. This episode gives you a concrete example of the value created for an organization and its staff when they use capacity-building dollars to build their people-systems – the policies, procedures, and people needed to support the staff. You’ll hear good examples of how an organization that champions worker justice in American society is practicing those values in-house: how they’re building their recruitment and retention systems; how they’re approaching a unionization organizing effort within the staff; and how they’re preparing for a major executive transition. People’s Action is a grantee of Ford and has received a 5-year capacity-building grant from BUILD initiative, through which they’ve focused on building their people-systems. Andrea also helped to get a peer-learning cohort going among the “COOs” of BUILD grantees. (Fund the People co-designed and co-facilitated the cohort, alongside the Chicago-based consultancy Morton Group.)  In Season 1 Episode 2 (S1E2) of this podcast, we spoke with Kathy Reich who directs Ford Foundation BUILD. This episode is a companion to that one. (It’s like we’re bringing Kathy and Andrea, a grantmaker and a grantee leader, into conversation with one another virtually across time and space through the magic of podcasting!) We hope you get great value from this bonus episode and hope you’ll check out S1E2 with Kathy. We can’t wait to share more conversations soon in Season 3!
February 24, 2022
Season 2 Finale! Top Takeaways on Talent-Investing - with host Rusty Stahl and Monisha Kapila, ProInspire
It’s the season finale and the end of 2021! To wrap up our season 2 exploration of talent-investing, Rusty shares his top three takeaways from these 16 episodes. He also shares a cool new feature of our show: Podcast Collections. And we welcome back friend-of-the-show Monisha Kapila for some holiday schmoozing and reflection on the Talent Matters Remix, the special three-part series that was a prominent part of this season. The Fund the People podcast will return in Spring 2022. We wish you all happy holidays and a safe, healthy, and joyous new year!
December 22, 2021
The Gold Standard of Foundation Talent-Investing - with Sidney Hargro, The LeadersTrust
Today’s social justice nonprofit leaders are fighting for communities that have been impacted by trauma, even as the nonprofit leaders are experiencing or organizational and personal trauma themselves. Racial equity and social justice require talent-investing. In this episode, Rusty talks with Sidney Hargro, the inaugural Executive Director at The LeadersTrust, a new multi-funder grantmaking initiative that offers an effective, evaluated approach to talent-investing that has been tested for 20 years with over 120 nonprofits and more than $30 million in investments. To help advance transformation in the sector, The LeadersTrust was recently created by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and other foundations. The LeadersTrust offers the Flexible Leadership Awards, a sophisticated talent-investing model initially developed by Haas Jr. Fund as a strategy to invest in nonprofit staff in order to expand program impact and financial sustainability. Topics discussed include: Sidney’s journey into and through philanthropy, including a recent stint as the head of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and his studies in engineering and divinity. The foundations that have come together to form The LeadersTrust. The core components of the Flexible Leadership Awards. The importance of talent-investing layered on top of general operating support. Responding to three common “pushbacks” on talent-investing. Check out our show notes for links to references and recources mentioned in this episode! 
November 03, 2021
How One Nonprofit Models Talent-Investing - with Abby Wolensky & Ashley Pesi, Auberle
Auberle is a sprawling Pittsburgh-area social service nonprofit that has been named “Top Workplace” nine times by The Pittsburgh Business Times, and is described by employees as flexible, supportive, comfortable, and safe. In this episode, Rusty speaks with Abby Wolensky and Ashley Pesi, Director and Program Manager (respectively) in Auberle’s workforce development program, about the various ways the organization supports and develops its staff. Our guests explain how the organization is devoted to breaking cycles of poverty and socio-economic distress not only for their clients but also their staff. To do so, they have continuously raised the floor on wages (without outside incentives or specific external funding for this purpose); hire from internships; offer numerous professional development opportunities; build their strategic plans from within teams; and more. Other topics discussed include: Working through the pandemic and added hazard pay. The Rising Star Academy: an internal training initiative to promote professional growth, crossed-departmental learning, and bottom-up thinking. Auberle’s unique strategic planning process. “Challenging Conversations for Change” and other equity and inclusion efforts. Organizational culture and employee-employer loyalty at Auberle. To get more information on the founders of Auberle & links to resources mentioned in the episode please visit 
October 20, 2021
Nonprofit Voice & Visibility in Washington - with Jeff Moore, Independent Sector
Independent Sector (“IS”) is a national organization that represents the nonprofit sector in Washington. In this episode, Rusty speaks with Jeffrey Moore, its Chief Strategy Officer, about the importance of having a seat at the table with the federal government. The nonprofit sector is the trusted infrastructure in communities, and also 10% of the private workforce in the country. To raise our visibility, and make sure that our government understands and partners with the nonprofit sector, IS has been working on a number of different fronts including NIIAG (Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Groups), and a campaign to create an ‘Office on the Nonprofit Sector’ within the White House.  Other topics discussed: Update on legislative bills: the Build Back Better Package and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Roads and Bridges Package. Raising the need to include the nonprofit workforce data in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on a quarterly basis. Health of the Nonprofit Sector Report: a four part diagnostic of the sector. This is the fifth episode in our podcast’s ongoing thread about how federal and local governments can invest in the nonprofit workforce. For more episodes on this topic and access to resources mentioned in the episode please go to: *This episode was recorded September 23, 2021 
October 13, 2021
Connecting Social Justice People, Orgs & Jobs - with Linda Nguyen, Movement Talent
Movement Talent was launched in 2020 to introduce a new way of finding, supporting, and maximizing talent for social justice organizations in the U.S. In this episode, Rusty speaks with its founder, Linda Nguyen, about the ways they have been working towards a more collaborative, equitable, holistic, and efficient approach to talent in progressive social movements. The conversation covers Movement Talent’s role as a support system at the organizational level, and at the individual level as well. Also, and probably most importantly, they discuss the new effort’s work as a “membrane”, which looks to promote cross-learning on talent-related issues amongst organizations with the belief that they can fortify one another as an ecosystem.  Other topics discussed: The needs Movement Talent seeks to address. Benefits of investing in “people-systems” internally within organizations and externally in the ecosystem in which organizations operate. Movement Talent’s accountability to social, racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice. See more about Linda and get access to all links and resources mentioned on the show at 
September 29, 2021
Transforming Government to Support the Nonprofit Workforce - with Jennifer Geiling, Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, City of New York
Government contracts are a crucial revenue stream for large swaths of the nonprofit sector. In many organizations, employee wages and other compensation factors are based on the terms of government contracts. So there’s a close connection between government contracting practices and nonprofit workforce issues. In this episode, Rusty talks with Jennifer Geiling from the NYC Mayor’s Office about the City's efforts to create a more equitable, accessible, transparent, and standard process for nonprofits who deliver services to New Yorkers on behalf of the City government. The reforms they’ve made recently include: a base-lined 25% advance on Human Services contracts and an Indirect Cost Rate Funding initiative to make sure that more money is allocated to the overall costs nonprofits have beyond specific service-related items.  Other topics discussed: A Nonprofit Resiliency Committee that has brought together government and nonprofit representatives during the Administration and through the pandemic. “PASSPort” a centralized, digital procurement and sourcing portal for nonprofits, and Citywide contractors, working with agencies across the City government. The City's “Cost Manual,” a new tool that defines nonprofit direct and indirect costs in human services government contracts. The City's work to support nonprofits during the pandemic and the Covid-19 Human Service Recovery Task Force For more information on Jennifer and links to the resources mentioned in this episode please go to
September 21, 2021
Rethinking How Foundations Invest in Leadership Development - with Roger Nozaki, Barr Foundation
In this episode, we speak with Roger Nozaki, Vice President at the Barr Foundation. You’ll get the rare opportunity to hear a foundation executive thinking through their work supporting nonprofit sector effectiveness. Roger shares his evolving ideas along the continuum from investing at the level of individuals - in particular executive directors - toward investing in “people-systems”, and a regional talent ecosystem for nonprofits. We discuss how racial equity can be bolstered through such efforts, and Roger shares how the Barr Fellowship exemplifies the connections between nonprofit organizational capacity, leadership development, and workforce development. Find more information on Roger Nozaki & the resources mentioned in this episode here:
September 09, 2021
Talent Matters Remix, Part III: Culture of Care - with Michele Booth Cole
This is the third and final episode of Talent Matters Remix, our special summer series in partnership with ProInspire, co-hosted by Monisha Kapila and Rusty Stahl. In this episode, Monisha and Rusty talk with Michele Booth Cole, Executive Director of Safe Shores - The DC Children’s Advocacy Center, about why and how to build a nonprofit organizational culture that supports and develops employees. Michele reflects on her article, “A Culture of Care, Without Compromise,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) Talent Matters blog series. She discusses how her experience and thinking has evolved since the piece was published in April 2015. We also discuss Michele’s 25-year journey as a Black woman executive director in the nonprofit sector, including her years as a volunteer in different organizations, her first experience as an E.D. with Mentors, Inc., and finally her work with Safe Shores -- The DC Children's Advocacy Center.  Other topics discussed: How to lead nonprofits with a sense of abundance, accountability, and fearlessness. The importance of feedback, and learning to hear people, see people and invest in people who are aligned with the values of our organizations. How to deal with systemic racism and biases as a Black woman leader. A message to funders on racial equity and justice. Policies, rituals, and traditions created and led with and by Safe Shores staff to forge a culture of care. The Talent Matters Remix, which is being released throughout July 2021, revisits Talent Matters, a 2014-15 series of essays on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog. These special episodes are co-hosted by Monisha Kapila, Founder and Co-CEO of ProInspire (who helped curate the SSIR series), and Fund the People’s Rusty Stahl. These conversations feature some of the amazing authors from the Talent Matters blog series. A lot has changed in our society in the seven years since 2014, when the blog series began. We’ve had seismic changes in our politics, economy, society, and the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. It’s time to revisit, reflect, and remix it! *We want to thank Monisha Kapila and the ProInspire team, along with guests Michele Booth Cole, Trish Adobea Tchume, and Stephen Bauer for making the Talent Matters Remix possible. You can find out more about the series and all links and resources mentioned in the show notes at 
July 28, 2021
Talent Matters Remix, Part II: Building a New Generation of Values-Driven Leaders in the Nonprofit Sector - with Stephen Bauer
This is the second episode of Talent Matters Remix, our three-episode series in partnership with ProInspire, co-hosted by Monisha Kapila and Rusty Stahl. In this episode, Monisha and Rusty talk with Stephen Bauer about supporting a diverse and inclusive next generation for the nonprofit workforce. Steve reflects on the article he wrote about developing leaders who are both value-based and results-driven, which was part of the Talent Matters series on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog. He discusses how his experience and thinking has evolved in the seven years since the piece was published in summer 2014. We also discuss Steve's extensive journey through the nonprofit sector, including his experience as an AmeriCorps alum, his impactful work at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (and specifically the Nonprofit Workforce Coalition), and, finally his decade long career at Public Allies, where he now serves as Chief of Staff. Other topics discussed: Public Allies Program, its values-based curriculum and impact on organizations. Asset-Based Community Development and how it helps build up the capacity of any community to lead itself. Changing and influencing the nonprofit organizational culture by hiring people from the communities that they work for. The need for a common set of values in the sector. Navigating the racial reckoning and pandemic as a white man. How Public Allies managed to go virtual and thrive during the pandemic. His experience as a Chief of Staff and why two Chief of Staff jobs are not the same. Possible impact of the CORPS Act on AmeriCorps. Lessons learned as Interim CEO and making decisions based on values. What would be Stephen’s “encore career”. This episode is part two of Talent Matters Remix. We’re partnering with ProInspire to bring you this 3-part series of episodes on the Fund the People Podcast. Talent Matters Remix, which will be released throughout July, will revisit Talent Matters, a 2014 series of essays on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog. These special episodes will be co-hosted by yours truly and Monisha Kapila, ProInspire Founder and Co-CEO. Monisha helped to curate and write the Talent Matters blog series, and our conversations will feature three of the other authors of those posts. A lot has changed in our society in the seven years since 2014, when those blog posts appeared. We’ve had seismic changes in our politics, economy, society, and the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. It’s time to revisit, reflect, and remix it! *All resources & links mentioned in the show can be found here at
July 21, 2021
Talent Matters Remix, Part I: Network-Weaving, Nonprofit Workers, & Social Justice - with Trish Tchume
This is the first episode of Talent Matters Remix, our three-episode series in partnership with ProInspire, co-hosted by Monisha Kapila and Rusty Stahl. In this episode, Monisha and Rusty talk with Trish Tchume about the tensions between developing individual leaders, and developing networks or communities of leaders. Trish reflects on the article she wrote about network-weaving for the Talent Matters blog series in Stanford Social Innovation Review. She discusses how her experience and thinking has evolved since the piece was published seven years ago in July 2014. We also discuss Trish’s extensive journey through the nonprofit sector, including her work at Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Community Change, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (where she was the first national director), Building Movement Project, and Other topics discussed: Building organizational networks for social justice Supporting BIPOC leaders Supporting young people in nonprofit and social change careers What are you learning from working at a foundation? Thoughts on social capital and networks during the pandemic and Trump era We’re partnering with ProInspire to bring you this 3-part series of episodes on the Fund the People Podcast. Talent Matters Remix, which will be released throughout July, will revisit Talent Matters, a 2014 series of essays on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog. These special episodes will be co-hosted by yours truly and Monisha Kapila, ProInspire Founder and Co-CEO. Monisha helped to curate and write the Talent Matters blog series, and our conversations will feature three of the other authors of those posts. A lot has changed in our society in the seven years since 2014, when those blog posts appeared. We’ve had seismic changes in our politics, economy, society, and the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. It’s time to revisit, reflect, and remix it! All resources & links mentioned in the show can be found at
July 14, 2021
Special Announcement & Mid-Season Review - with host Rusty Stahl
In this episode, Rusty shares exciting news about a podcasting partnership series with ProInspire and their Co-CEO Monisha Kapila (our guest on Season 1 Episode 9 of this show), which will be rolled-out during July.  In addition, in this episode your host… Reflects on and summarizes the themes of the first six episodes of Season 2, which is focused on the principles and practices of talent investing; Shares more about the work of Fund the People beyond the podcast; and Invites you to utilize our online resources, join our mailing list, and offer your input on what you want or need from our organization.
July 08, 2021
Funding Grantee Leadership & Equity - with Caroline Altman Smith, The Kresge Foundation
In part as a result of the pandemic, more funders are paying attention to the needs and well-being of the people who work in grantee organizations. In this episode, we talk with Caroline Altman Smith, a grantmaker at The Kresge Foundation. The team at Kresge, a large international philanthropy, and their consultants at Community Wealth Partners, have developed a straightforward model for delivering professional development to mid-career grantee staff, with a focus on fueling skills and knowledge for racial equity. Through the program, they’ve also helped to build the marketplace of offerings for nonprofits that are interested in pursuing more talent and leadership development through a racial equity lens. During the episode, we also discuss how to be a good program officer; how to be a good program officer working on racial equity while white; and some of the important academic programs in the sector for learning about philanthropy and good grantmaking.
June 24, 2021
Embracing Nonprofit Abundance - with Nell Edgington
Now more than ever, society needs nonprofit leaders to break out of restrictions and claim our place in this world. We talk with consultant Nell Edgington about her new book, “Reinventing Social Change: Embrace Abundance to Create a Healthier and More Equitable World.” Nell challenges us to embrace abundance and power as nonprofit leaders. We discuss getting into our “zones of excellence”, kissing scarcity goodbye, and other helpful concepts to transform nonprofit work.
June 15, 2021
Sharing the Wisdom of the Nonprofit Crowd - with Heather Parish and Lisa May Simpson
Could it be that nonprofit leaders collectively have the knowledge and skills we need to not only survive but thrive -- and we just need to invest in sharing what we know with each other? The Pierce Family Foundation nurtures organizational capacity and individual leadership by investing in peer-to-peer skills-sharing among nonprofit workers. In this episode, we go deep with Heather Parish, the Foundation’s Co-Executive Director. Heather is joined by Lisa May Simpson, Vice President of Learning and Engagement at Forefront. We talk with Lisa about how Forefront, the Illinois association of funders and nonprofits, partners with Pierce Family Foundation to offer peer-learning among nonprofit folks and funders across the state. We discuss how investing in the nonprofit workforce in a place-based context can work to address issues of racial inequity, burnout, and the difficulties of tackling complex social problems.
June 07, 2021
Closing the Leadership Development Deficit - with Libbie Landles-Cobb, The Bridgespan Group
In this episode, we go deep into nonprofit talent nerdom with Libbie Landles-Cobb, a Partner at The Bridgespan Group and Fund the People Advisory Council member. We discuss Libbie’s research, which helps us to shift the narrative in the field from a “leadership deficit” to a “leadership development deficit”. And we hear about the programs and consulting she offers, which are providing funders and nonprofits with practical ways to address the leadership development deficit. Libbie also shares her personal childhood motivation for engaging in social change work, and discusses her own and her institution’s evolution regarding the relationship between business practices and the nonprofit sector. So let your talent nerd flag fly, and listen to this great episode!
May 27, 2021
The Social Justice “Talent Boom” - with Deepak Bhargava and Gara LaMarche
New progressive social movements are driving a huge boom of new talent. But leadership development efforts don’t have the funding or scale to keep up. Our guests today are trying to working to change that. In episode 2 of our second season, we’re thrilled to talk with two powerful leaders, Deepak Bhargava and Gara LaMarche, who seek to build a new leadership center for young are building a new leadership center, housed within the City University of New York (CUNY), to support young activists — particularly those from communities of color and working-class backgrounds. Deepak comes from the progressive community organizing field, where he is best known for running the Center for Community Change (now known as Community Change). Gara comes from the progressive philanthropy field, where he has held executive leadership roles in the Democracy Alliance, Atlantic Philanthropies, and the Open Society Foundations.  We discuss their career journeys, their new research, and their current endeavor. And we discuss why there is so little infrastructure to support the progressive nonprofit workforce, including the lack of investment from organized philanthropy.
May 18, 2021
Talent-Investing: A Proposal For Change - with Host Rusty Stahl
To set the context for Season 2, your host Rusty Stahl briefly recaps Season 1 and establishes the theme for this new season. Season 1 focused on The Problem Facing the Nonprofit Workforce, and Rusty defines the problem succinctly as a cyclical deficit of investment in nonprofit leaders and workers. The theme for Season 2 is A Proposal for Change. Rusty shares Fund the People’s concepts of talent-investing and talent justice. He defines the talent-investing cycle as a healthier alternative to the status quo that could advance equity and effectiveness in the nonprofit workforce.
May 10, 2021
Inauguration Day Bonus Episode! Special Guest: Dan Cardinali, Independent Sector
Rusty Stahl, President and CEO of Fund the People and host of the podcast, offers an urgent call and a vision for a federal government that works well with the nonprofit workforce. Then Rusty sits down with Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector, one of the influential groups that represent the nonprofit sector in Washington. Independent Sector has been in conversation interests with the Biden-Harris Transition about what the nonprofit sector needs from the White House, and Dan shares an overview of the substance of this dialogue. Listen to get insights on these topics: How will the Biden-Harris White House work with the nonprofit sector? What have nonprofits asked for from the Biden-Harris Transition team? How can nonprofits help (& be helped by) the incoming administration as we seek to end the coronavirus pandemic, fix democracy, address  racial injustice, and stop climate change
January 20, 2021
The Guru of Burnout: Christina Maslach, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Burnout is often cited by nonprofit workers as one of their greatest challenges. So in this episode, we speak with the “guru of burnout,” Dr. Christina Maslach, Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Maslach is known as one of the pioneering researchers on job burnout, which she has studied since the 1970s. She created the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the most widely used research measure in the burnout field. Prof. Maslach is author or co-author of many books on the subject of burnout, including “Burnout: The Cost of Caring”; “The Truth About Burnout”; and “Preventing Burnout and Building Engagement: A Complete Program for Organizational Renewal”. To wrap-up Season One’s exploration of the challenges facing the nonprofit workforce, Dr. Maslach gives us a deep dive into burnout -- her research agenda, approaches, and findings over the years. We discuss definitions of burnout. And she shares strategies for addressing burnout by increasing meaning, positivity, autonomy, and purpose in the workplace. Tune in to today's episode to hear about: Dr. Maslach's personal and professional journey into her work on burnout Her perspective and research into what defines burnout and how it relates to caring work How burnout is a systemic problem, not an individual problem The six areas of “fit” between people and their jobs How to address burnout in the workplace Check out the show page on our blog for more information on Dr. Maslach & links to the books and resources mentioned during the episode.
December 11, 2020
Philanthropy Saves Money on all the Wrong Things -with Kris Putnam-Walkerly
In Episode 9, we explore the scarcity mind-set inside organized philanthropy itself as a major source of the deficit of investment in the nonprofit workforce. We sit down with Kris Putnam-Walkerly, a long-standing consultant to the funding community (and a past consultant to Fund the People), Kris’s new book, Delusional Altruism, forcefully articulates a litany of self-defeating funder behaviors and attitudes. Our conversation with Kris focuses on a major premise of the book: that funders try to “save money on all the wrong things,” including supporting their own staff, and the staff of grantee organizations. As Kris writes in the book, directly addressing funders: “As you know, your grantees are comprised of people. Don’t you want the most talented people doing their best work to help you fulfill your mission? Of course you do. Yet time and gain, funders withhold investment in grantee talent and infrastructure. You have a scarcity mindset, and it’s undermining your effectiveness.” Listen in to the episode to hear more:  Kris shares about her journey in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector Why Kris wrote her book “Delusional Altruism” and an overview of the main themes The biggest self-created challenge facing philanthropists Funders not investing in their own learning and development, undermining their own staff 8 things every philanthropist can do to change the world in uncertain times
December 04, 2020
Activating Leaders at All Levels - with Monisha Kapila, ProInspire founder and CEO
In this episode, we speak with Monisha Kapila, the founder and CEO of ProInspire. ProInspire helps individuals and organizations achieve their potential for social impact. Monisha brings 15 years of experience in the business and nonprofit sectors. Prior to launching ProInspire, she was a Senior Business Manager for Capital One Financial Corporation. Previously, she was a Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow with ACCION International, a pioneer in the commercial approach to microfinance. Monisha has worked with a number of leading non-profit organizations throughout her career, including CARE, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and the Clinton Foundation. She began her career as a consultant with Arthur Andersen. Monisha has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was the recipient of the Dean’s Award, and a BBA with distinction from the University of Michigan. She received her Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. Listen in to hear more about:  Monisha’s personal journey and experience leading up to creating ProInspire ProInspire’s mission to break systemic barriers to supporting staff, centering diversity, and building organizational cultures that prioritize equity in the non-profit sector The importance of a mindset shift from non-profits being a charity to being essential change agents and social justice leaders Activating leaders at all levels to accelerate equity at the individual, organizational, and systems levels What’s next for ProInspire Website: Facebook: Twitter: @ProInspire
November 20, 2020
Understanding Funders’ Blindspots - with Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette, The Center for Effective Philanthropy
This episode focuses on why investing in nonprofit staff is part of effective giving and grantmaking, and why funders too often remain blind to this important dimension of philanthropic practice. Rusty sits down with the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette to talk about the challenge of giving feedback and discussing staffing issues between grantmakers and grantees. The discussion also explores the tools offered by the Center for Effective Philanthropy for creating feedback loops in the sector; improving philanthropic practice; and addressing equity through investing in nonprofit leaders. Tune in to hear more about:  Grace & Phil’s journey in philanthropy and the non-profit workforce How CEP is different than other philanthropic organizations out there   The benefits and challenges of creating feedback loops between philanthropic organizations, funders, and non-profits Funders blindspots around investing and supporting non-profit workforce staff and grantees A look at Grace & Phil’s “Giving Done Right” Book & their new Podcast under the same name Resources discussed during the episode: Giving Done Right Podcast Giving Done Right Book (2019) “New Attitudes, Old Practices: The Provision of Multiyear General Operating Support” (2020 Research Report from The Center for Effective Philanthropy) A Call to Action: Philanthropy’s Pledge During COVID-19 (funder pledge hosted by Council on Foundations) Trust-Based Philanthropy Project Grantee Perception Reports (a service available from The Center for Effective Philanthropy) Foundation Staff Perception Reports (a service available from The Center for Effective Philanthropy) “Strengthening Grantees: Foundation and Nonprofit Perspectives” (2018 research report from The Center for Effective Philanthropy) “Nonprofit Challenges: What Foundations Can Do” (2013 research report from The Center for Effective Philanthropy)
November 13, 2020
Executive Transitions, Equity and Sustainability - with Tom Adams
In this episode, we explore the need for investment in healthy executive transitions in the nonprofit workforce. Rusty talks with Tom Adams, a retired (but active) consultant who worked with funders to help establish the practice of “executive transition management” consulting in the nonprofit sector. We discuss issues of racial equity, generational change, building leaderful organizations, and what it means to retire from nonprofit careers. Show Notes: Tom’s personal journey in the sector and how he came to focus on executive transitions and creating equity in the system Business model and framework that was developed over time that focused on founders and long term executives and the biggest barriers faced Tom’s personal journey of executive transition and into retirement Current projects making diversity and racial challenges the central focus Tom's Book, The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide (2010)  And more… Links Mentioned in Episode:  Tom Adams website and blog The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide (book by Tom Adams, 2010) The Evolution of Executive Transition and Allied Practices: A Call for Service Integration (paper by Tom Adams, 2017) Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes (book by William Bridges, 2004)
October 30, 2020
Rusty's Rants & Reflections: Philanthropy and the President
Every American president and White House Administration has a relationship of some sort to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. It may be policy-related, and it may be personal, and sometimes it’s both. It may be during their tenure in the White House, and it may be in their post-presidential life, and sometimes it’s both. Let’s take a quick tour of the modern presidency as it relates to philanthropy and nonprofits in our new mini-episode series called Rusty's Rants & Reflections!
October 23, 2020
The Power of the Nonprofit Workforce - with Dr. Lester Salamon
Too often in our sector, nonprofit leaders are discussed as if we are walking, talking deficits -- empty vessels needing to be filled with competencies, skills, and knowledge. The truth is that the nonprofit workforce is one of the greatest assets available to our organizations, our funders, and our society! Despite all the challenges we face, nonprofit people are powerful, skilled, visionary, determined, and enduring. Our workforce is a significant part of our economy and our society. During Season One of this show, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the human strength in our sector as a baseline for discussing our challenges and the solutions to these challenges. So in this episode, we talk with one of the premier scholars on nonprofit employment and economics: Dr. Lester Salamon, Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies. Professor Salamon shares how he came to this unique research focus, and discusses the latest research on the strength and stability of nonprofit work, as well as initial estimates about the impact of the pandemic recession on nonprofit employment. Listen in to hear more from Professor Salamon on:   His journey to becoming a scholar in the nonprofit sector, the evolution of 40 years of study The key findings from the latest report out of Johns Hopkins on the overall strength and stability of nonprofit work Initial estimates about the impact of the pandemic recession on nonprofit employment Data that supports nonprofits as a major contributor to employment in America, and to the quality of life in America. Links Mentioned: 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report: The 3rd Largest Employer Faces the COVID-19 Crisis Dr. Lester Salamon Bio Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies Nonprofit Economic Data (“NED”) Project All Publications from NED Project (includes both national and state-focused reports) Nonprofit Works (an interactive database on nonprofit employment and wages)
October 16, 2020
Racial & Generational Barriers in Nonprofit Careers - with Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
This season, our podcast is exploring the state of the nonprofit workforce, and the chronic and current challenges it faces. In Episode 3, Rusty sits down with Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, two of the most brilliant thinkers in the field, to discuss their research on the racial and inter-generational barriers facing nonprofit leaders. Listen in to hear more about: Frances Kunreuther and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld Building Movement Project messages and findings of Race to Lead Revisited report the need for healthy generational change and transitions in nonprofit how generational change and racial equity (along with gender, sexuality, class, etc.) interact in the nonprofit workforce how investments can and should help organizations to address them together Resource Links: Building Movement Project website Race to Lead website Race to Lead Revisited report Race to Lead Report on Executive Directors (based on 2016 data) Structuring Leadership Report (on alternative models) The Leadership in Leaving report
October 02, 2020
Investing in Nonprofit Staff as an Equity Strategy - with Kathy Reich
In this episode, Rusty talks with Kathy Reich, who works at the Ford Foundation, and previously worked at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. They discuss how, in each foundation, Kathy discovered the need to provide support to the staff of grantee organizations. Listen in to hear more about: Kathy’s journey in philanthropy and the non-profit workforce What changed Kathy’s practices as a funder Lessons learned with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and impact on talent investing initiatives The Values of Listening Deeply and more Building trust and building relationships around the world with Ford Foundation and the BUILD program Links Mentioned: Community Leadership Project BUILD Moving the Ford Foundation Forward - Blog By Darren Walker Organizational Assessment Tool Kathy’s Bio: Kathy Reich leads the Ford Foundation’s BUILD initiative, a 6-year, $1 billion effort to strengthen key social justice institutions around the world. BUILD is an essential part of the foundation’s strategy to reduce inequality, a strategy arising from the conviction that healthy civil society organizations are essential to driving and sustaining just, inclusive societies. Before joining Ford in 2016, Kathy was director of organizational effectiveness and philanthropy at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where she led a cross-cutting program to help grantees around the world strengthen their strategy, leadership and impact. Previously she had served at the Packard Foundation as policy analyst and program officer. Prior to that, she was policy director at the Social Policy Action Network, served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, and worked for state and local elected officials in California. Kathy currently chairs the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). She was selected as a Schusterman Fellow in 2016.
September 25, 2020
Treating Leaders Like Batteries - with Vu Le
Vu Le is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at, formerly Show Notes:  About Vu Le Vu’s journey/take on investing in emerging leaders in the non-profit sector The deficit of Leaders (Investment in them) - What does it look like? How the pandemic is impacting leaders in the nonprofit sector Responsive Philanthropy versus Strategic Philanthropy Mutli-Year General Operating Dollars - (“M.Y.G.O.D.”) Where to find Vu Links Mentioned During the Show: Community Centric Fundraising Vu’s Blog, Nonprofit AF Grant Advisor Ethical Rainmaker #crappyfundingpractices and #awesomefundingpractices
September 18, 2020
Backstory of Fund the People (Org & Podcast)
Do you love nonprofit work, but find yourself frustrated by the starvation cycle, the overhead myth, the racial and economic inequity, and the toxic burnout culture that dampens our effectiveness? Do you want to see change, but you’re now sure how to address these harmful outdated mental models and practices? Or what to replace them with? Then this is the podcast for you. Every episode, I sit down with fascinating thought-leaders from across our sector to gather stories, research, and practical resources that you can use to ensure that nonprofit people are at the center of performance, impact, and sustainability in your organization or the organizations that you support. Show Notes:  Introduction to Fund the People Podcast and Who this Podcast is for About Fund the People (The Organization) and Rusty Stahl (Founder, President & CEO) The conversation that directly influenced Rusty’s work in the non-profit work supporting people working inside foundations and in the nonprofit sector Research and Development and major support networks that went into creating Fund the People as an organization Features, Milestones and important people who’ve supported Fund the People Opportunities for working together and learning more Links Mentioned: Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Fund the People Toolkit Community Partners Fund the People’s Talent Justice Initiative
September 15, 2020