Leadership

It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.

I first started working in the community foundation field more than 15 years ago. It goes without saying that I’m a big fan. I believe in this democratic model of philanthropy where the collective power of many creates powerful change.

One of my most memorable moments from college was when I sat in a sea of more than 500 college students in PoliSci 101. From the back of the auditorium, a very small man stood up on stage speaking to all of us about the strength of the U.S.

Let me introduce myself: I’m a young leader and a passionate advocate for social justice. I’m well into my second year as executive director of Social Justice Fund, a regional progressive public foundation. I’m an innovator.

As my colleague Peter Pennekamp from the Humboldt Area Foundation says, when it comes to community leadership it’s not always the most pressing issue that you need to be working on; it’s the issue where there’s energy and heat. In a word: tension.