On Resisting Cynicism about Government

From Handy Lindsey, Cameron Foundation: “My cynicism and suspicion were long ago dispelled by the remarkable effectiveness of these alliances and the scale of community benefits that were derived.”

  • A few of the really effective initiatives our foundation is currently funding involve partnerships among local and regional governments, nonprofit organizations, and post-secondary institutions. The nonprofits are taking the lead, and they could not make the headway they are without the decision-making authority of the government partners.
  • Foundation leaders must be optimists and problem-solvers. You cannot give up on any sector, problem, or person. If you do, it may be time to get out of the business.
  • Our partnership sounded fraught with problems until we experienced the freedom (really) we had, and the immense benefits we could bring to our communities. I am especially referring to international work.
  • We all go into situations with preconceived ideas or notions about those who work in a bureaucracy or the bureaucracy itself. An open mind is the best approach, but the next best is to understand your biases before you start.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with Government.