What's Love Got to Do With It?

Years after David Packard's death, his daughters, who were serving on the David and Lucile Packard Foundation board at the time, were asked by then foundation President Cole Wilbur to make a presentation to the staff about the values of the foundation. The board had never specifically articulated the foundation's values. The sisters prepared independently and yet arrived at nearly the exact same list, a list that contained values that their parents personified and were inherent to the company that David Packard founded. These values included integrity, respect for all people and a belief in individual leadership. It was a transformative moment.

Carol Larson, president and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, relayed this story at the recent Grantmakers for Effective Organizations' conference in Los Angeles in a plenary session focused on the importance of tending to the values that underlie the work of philanthropy. During the session, I was struck by a question from Curtis Ogden of Interaction Institute for Social Change which boiled down to "What's love got to do with it?" As it turns out, when making a connection between values and practices, love can play a central role.