Special Initiatives

In addition to the development of the general program structure outlined below, the Alliance has three ongoing special initiatives:

  1. Talk That Walks, a video and audio podcast engaging leaders at the crossroads of experience, insight and action.
  2. A Minute Before Midnight, leadership dialogues on the global climate crisis.
  3. The Matusak Award for Courageous Leadership.
  4. The Russell G. Mawby Award, “People Helping People”

Our Difference

Members of the Alliance are passionately committed to achieving meaningful change through measurable, outcome-focused work that unites leaders in cross-disciplinary, collaborative action.

Many organizations are devoted to research and study of the difficult problems and challenging dilemmas that face communities. Many organizations are devoted to advocacy that urges others to responsible action. Many organizations seek to advance the interests of their members.

But too few organizations focus on taking direct responsibility to achieve meaningful change through timely, collaborative action. This is our vision.

Our work takes place in five domains:

Action Communities. Our Action Communities are self-organized by our fellows according to the focal areas of practice that engage their passion to make a difference. Examples include Action Communities in the following areas: Education, Climate, Food Systems, and Health Equity.

Breakthrough Labs. Our Breakthrough Labs emerge from collaboration within and between our Action Communities. Within our Labs, cross-disciplinary teams of leaders work to overcome difficult challenges in which creating meaningful change has proved difficult. The focal work of Labs is carefully and narrowly defined to allow for targeted, measurable, and swift results. Labs are organized to address situations in which nothing seems to be working or where there is no clear consensus on viable strategies. Our Labs use design thinking and systems thinking to innovate and test novel approaches that promise breakthrough results.

System Change Initiatives. Emerging from our Action Communities and Breakthrough Labs, our System Change Initiatives create and advance movements toward system transformations. This work strives to achieve broad systemic effects that radically improve future outcomes and improve the nature of the problem set for entire communities. System Change Initiatives can include: legal reforms, policy reforms, social revolutions, culture shifts, mindshifts and framework changes. System Change Initiatives also embrace social ventures that rapidly scale results through innovations that transcend the status quo.

Living Values and Ethics. We believe that character matters. Our passionate commitment to positive change on behalf of those we serve entails faithfully living a core set of values and ethical principles. These values and principles are not only expressed in the objectives of our work, but also in how we treat others and how we go about making progress in the world. That our ends may be just does not, in itself alone, justify all means. Our means and our ends must independently show integrity in the light of our shared values and ethical commitments. We believe that these values and ethics must be alive, revisited, and grow ever stronger within our dialogue and our active collaborations. For this reason, leaders of all programs collaborate with our Board of Directors in a vibrant dialogue designed to hold our community accountable to our shared values and ethical principles.

Leadership Programs. The Alliance is building leadership programs to provide a pathway for those interested in becoming Leadership Fellows. Leadership Fellows may also apply to join the Alliance based on their past leadership training and experience. Our leadership training programs grow out of our shared values and ethics, focusing on building the core skills and knowledge necessary for leadership that is effective, cross-disciplinary, and collaborative.