Update From the Foundation

What We Are Reading

September 1, 2011


At the Compton Foundation we are engaged in a strategic planning process. We are looking both inside and outside the organization: we are looking at the special history, relationships, successes, and challenges we have had and assessing the resources we have been entrusted with to accomplish our mission. We are also looking at the world around us and thinking about the context in which we operate and how that influences our efforts moving forward.

One of the ways we are doing this is reading. We are reading about philanthropy, this moment in history, stories about other change efforts, and new ideas about how to support social change and transformation. We are also reading poems – recognizing that we need to speak to our hearts as well as our heads, and to work in both an analytical and critical thinking mode as well as be open to the wisdom of our intuition and senses.

Here are a few of things that have caught our attention recently:

Bill Moyers remarks on the 40th Anniversary of Common Cause


Akaya Winwood on Strange Times


Cynthia Chavez and Hugh Vazquez on Conversation Labs

http://www.thewhitmaninstitute.org/newsletter.html – prenups

Eric Friedenwald-Fishman on the interrelationship of art, social change, and innovation


Joy Harjo on what we are reaching for in our work


One of the poems that has inspired us, too, is Judy Brown’s Fire:

What makes a fire burn

Is space between the logs,

A breathing space.

Too much of a good thing.

Too many logs

Packed in too tight

Can douse the flames

Almost as surely

As a pail of water would.

So building fires

Requires attention

To the spaces in between

As much as to the wood.


We only need to lay a log

Lightly from time to time.

A fire


Simply because the space is there.

With openings

In which the flame

that knows just how it wants to burn

Can find its way.

 At the Compton Foundation, we are attending to the spaces between the logs, and to the wood, creating a breathing space for our organization.

What are you reading? What space are you building? Let us know!




Leave a Reply