When Karl Stauber interviewed for the president’s job of the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), he didn’t equivocate about his views on philanthropy. “Feel good” grantmaking, he cautioned, may make for friendly chatter at cocktail parties but creates little lasting change. “If the foundation were genuinely interested in making a difference, I told the board members that they would need to know—and be comfortable with the fact—that they were going to make people angry,” he recounts in Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination.
Under Stauber’s direction, the St. Paul, Minn.-based foundation pursued a 10-year $200 million plan to reduce poverty across eight states. By partnering with those most affected by poverty—on tribal reservations, in struggling rural areas, and among the urban poor—the foundation