Power to the (young) people: celebrating an inspired pathway for new activists in Alaska

Photo via AYEA

Power to the (young) people: celebrating an inspired pathway for new activists in Alaska

Twenty years ago, a group of young Alaskans imagined a program that would engage, train, and inspire young people to stand up for the environment. This year, that program—Alaska Youth for Environmental Action—celebrates all the people who have shaped it, supported it, and made it so successful.

Go »
When making grants, do the analysis—but trust instinct, too.

Photo by Kathleen Whitson

When making grants, do the analysis—but trust instinct, too.

In this Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion piece, our founder, Paul Brainerd, shares his grantmaking philosophy. He advises grantmakers to make space for honest dialogue with grantees, look for the gaps, and invest in leadership potential.

Go »
Letting go...and moving forward

Photo by Allison Carver

Letting go...and moving forward

After 23 years, moving an office is about more than furniture and boxes. For our co-director, Keiki Kehoe, it was also about reflecting on more than two decades of work and experiencing firsthand what our grantees have been telling us for a while now -- that the very nature of the workplace is changing.

Go »
How Paul Brainerd's extraordinary career went from revolutionizing publishing to empowering enviros.

Photo via Paul Brainerd

How Paul Brainerd's extraordinary career went from revolutionizing publishing to empowering enviros.

Our founder Paul Brainerd was featured in this special GeekWire series focused on important community issues, innovative solutions to societal challenges, and people and nonprofit groups making an impact through technology.

Go »
How do we win against weaponized chaos?

Dusk on Washington Monument by Gael Varoquaux via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

How do we win against weaponized chaos?

One year into the current -- very strange -- political reality, and inspired by David Domke, we asked the experts at Resource Media to share their advice for nonprofit communicators in this time of the "new normal." Their recommendations were not silver bullets, but rather rock solid reminders of the lessons we must continue to reinforce.

Go »
Public Lands, Common Ground: How an experimental program in Oregon is empowering new voices for conservation

Photo by Sage Brown

Public Lands, Common Ground: How an experimental program in Oregon is empowering new voices for conservation

Learn more about how one of our grantees is channeling new interest in keeping public lands in public hands, experimenting with sharing power, and including more diverse communities in the process.

Go »
Can nonprofits design our way to a better future?

Sunflower Fibonacci spiral by Nancy Ruegg

Can nonprofits design our way to a better future?

One of our grantees has adopted a toolkit used by the for-profit product development world, and it seems to be working. In this interview with Hope Rippeon of the League of Conservation Voters, she explains how design thinking is pushing her organization to choose, prioritize, develop, and evaluate real solutions.

Go »
Educating in perilous times: preparing tomorrow's change agents

Photo by Todd Goodrich

Educating in perilous times: preparing tomorrow's change agents

Professor Neva Hassanein shares five observations about how graduate training, or education "of a certain kind," can play a role in environmental and social movements.

Go »
What happens when a sleeping giant wakes?

Photo by Mikey Schaefer

What happens when a sleeping giant wakes?

In this Medium post, the Brainerd Foundation is pleased to highlight the work of our colleagues at the Conservation Alliance. Their work in defense of public lands is an object lesson in what 21st Century advocacy can look like.

Go »
Finding a place under the big tent

Photo via Social Venture Partners

Finding a place under the big tent

The Northwest Conservation Philanthropy Fellowship, a program operated by Social Venture Partners and funded by the Brainerd Foundation, was inspired by Paul Brainerd's belief in the importance of passing the baton to a new generation of conservation philanthropists. Here's the story of one participant's philanthropic journey.

Go »
What this moment demands of philanthropy

Bristlecone Pine on Windy Ridge by Dave Soldano via Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, cropped, re-sized

What this moment demands of philanthropy

These are extraordinary times for our country. At the Brainerd Foundation, we are focused on protecting the environment in the Pacific Northwest, but we recognize the challenge of this moment goes well beyond our air, land, and water.

Go »
How one nonprofit is giving power to millennials and benefiting from their perspective, passion, and purpose.

Photo via Max Pixel / CC0 1.0

How one nonprofit is giving power to millennials and benefiting from their perspective, passion, and purpose.

The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) was looking for a way to increase the membership and engagement of younger Oregonians in its work. So, they started an Emerging Leaders Board to keep OEC connected and relevant to the concerns and interests of millennials.

Go »
Grantee Close-up: Emerging Leaders Board

Photo via OEC

Grantee Close-up: Emerging Leaders Board

Take a deeper dive into the Oregon Environmental Council's emerging leaders board, which OEC created as a way to increase the membership and engagement of younger Oregonians in its work.

Go »
Ten years from now, who will lead us?

Photo by Jay Johnson via adventurejay.com / CC BY 3.0

Ten years from now, who will lead us?

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a leadership crisis. We did some deep listening and found that current mid-career leaders are in need of professional development, so our board approved a grant to fund a mid-career institute for environmental leaders.

Go »
Hope is not a strategy. A champion is.

Photo / CC0 1.0

Hope is not a strategy. A champion is.

We asked our colleague Rick Johnson to share one of the big lessons his organization (a long-time Brainerd grantee) has learned about making conservation progress in a deeply red state. Here's his story.

Go »
How we're helping to seed new philanthropy

Photo / CC0 1.0

How we're helping to seed new philanthropy

It all began six years ago when we provided seed funding for a philanthropic training program that we hoped would buttress the current investments of existing Northwest environmental funders, as well as spawn new ideas for the challenges that will emerge after our sunset.

Go »
A group in Montana used our foundation as fundraising bait.

Photo via Pixabay / Pixabay License

A group in Montana used our foundation as fundraising bait.

Some people who oppose the work of one of our grantees called our donations dark money, which reminded us that transparency is one of our core values and that we're not hiding anything.

Go »
Turning red hearts green

Photo by Kathleen Whitson

Turning red hearts green

The story of how one local open space measure became the watershed event that set the stage for a new generation of conservation champions in Idaho.

Go »
3 ways to support the next gen of environmental leaders

Photo / CC0 1.0

3 ways to support the next gen of environmental leaders

This short article authored by the Brainerd Foundation summarizes three strategies for strengthening the next generation of conservation leaders in the Northwest.

Go »
The most important lesson I've learned in 25 years of grantmaking

Photo by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0, cropped, re-sized

The most important lesson I've learned in 25 years of grantmaking

People put their life energy into creative ways to better the world. How do we, as funders, support them beyond dollars given?

Go »
4 things our foundation learned last year about supporting effective advocacy

Photo by Gordon Darrow

4 things our foundation learned last year about supporting effective advocacy

With our foundation's sunset in sight, we decided to step back and reflect on what it takes to be effective in today's social and political environment.

Go »
We're spending out, but we're not done yet…

Photo by Gordon Darrow

We're spending out, but we're not done yet…

We want to share what we're learning... what we're seeing that inspires us, and what keeps us up at night.

Go »
New technology for #newPower campaigns

Photo by Resource Media

New technology for #newPower campaigns

Smart organizations are taking advantage of the democratization of media with 'open source' campaigns that invite supporters to participate on their terms.

Go »
The future of conservation: a return to our roots?

Photo by Jarek Tuszyński via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0, cropped, resized

The future of conservation: a return to our roots?

At the Brainerd Foundation's 2015 grantee design lab, the task at hand was to figure out what investments the foundation could make during its sunset years to support a strong and sustainable Northwest conservation movement. Ideas that had legs focused on real human connection.

Go »