Building an Organization to Last: Reflections and Lessons Learned from SeaChange

Building an Organization to Last: Reflections and Lessons Learned from SeaChange

Founded in 1999 with support from several leading foundations, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, San Francisco-based SeaChange created considerable excitement during the dot-com boom years around the concept of a marketplace where social investors could connect with social entrepreneurs. By the spring of 2002, however, the organization had merged with the National Gathering for Social Entrepreneurs, and its backers and supporters were left to wonder what had gone wrong. Based on a review of internal materials and interviews with SeaChange board members, staff, funders, and outside observers, Building an Organization to Last: Reflections and Lessons Learned from SeaChange (11 pages, PDF) tries to answer that question, while offering important lessons about leadership, governance, management, and accountability. It's a short but fascinating read, and its conclusion — that vision, intention, and conviction must be matched with an equal measure of rigor, action, and evidence — is a reminder that some things never change.