Building Trust, Making Moonshot Bets

According to Andy Bryant, Executive Director of the Segal Family Foundation, the ability to take risks as a philanthropy organization comes down to one thing: trust. More than a decade ago the staff of the foundation approached the board with a request for a little bit of leeway to take a risk. The board invested their trust as well as the resources in staff, and over that decade the risks—which were taken by staff through sweat equity in finding the right risks to take—became larger and broader, and incrementally built to a program of embracing risk.

What advice do you have about building trust with my board?

In our new course, “Risk & Reward: Safeguarding Impact in an Uncertain World,” we ask who should be taking risks and why. Bryant answers straightforwardly: The role of philanthropy is to invest the sweat equity to build new relationships and to make sometimes risky moonshot bets in search of greater impact.

In philanthropy, who should be taking risks, and why?

“Philanthropy should experiment and serve as an innovation laboratory, so the good ideas can get taken to scale by someone else. When we have identified a risk proposition, we decided we’re not going to let unfamiliarity of a place, or of a visionary leader, define risk; we want to be a little ambitious and gird organizations with visionary leaders.”

This kind of approach to risk enables organizations to put their money where their change ambitions are. Learn how to practice trust and aim for the moon with our Risk & Reward course.