Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort


Meet the 2024 Cohort

See the members of the 2024 Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort

Are you looking for a supportive community of funders to help you build constructive dialogue and understanding across differences? You’ll get just that with the Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort.

The Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort is a facilitated virtual learning experience meeting monthly from April 2024 until November 2024, hosted by the Council on Foundations in partnership with the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley (GGSC). This course will support the work of the Council's Building Common Ground Strategic Pillar.

Facilitated by GGSC Senior Fellow Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, the discussions will center on science-backed skills covered in the GGSC’s Bridging Differences online course, which offer research-based strategies for bridging differences with colleagues, peers, and grantees.

Along the way, you’ll take in real-world case studies and connect with your peers on challenges, successes, and lessons learned.

About the Program

Want to learn more?

You can watch the recording of our 2024 webinar, How Philanthropy Is Investing in Belonging, Bridging, and Building Common Ground, or our 2023 webinar, From Polarization to Collaboration: Philanthropy’s Role in Bridging Differences.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the science-based practices to bridge differences.
  • Connect with leading researchers, fellow philanthropy practitioners, and other nonprofit sector leaders who are doing this work, ideally identifying new collaborators and confidants on your journey.
  • Develop new skills and knowledge to inform your philanthropic work.

Cohort Facilitator

Dr. Allison Briscoe Smith

Dr. Allison Briscoe Smith

Senior Fellow
Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

Program Details

Members of the Cohort will:

  • Meet on monthly 2 hour Zoom calls where they will learn from guest instructors, including leading practitioners and researchers, and connect with other participants in smaller-group discussions and creative exercises.
  • Complete the self-paced eight-module Bridging Differences online course.
  • Have access to optional office hours with our facilitator and other participants


  • Orientation - April 9, 2024, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Session One: Intro to Bridging Differences - April 30, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Office Hour 1 (optional) - May 14, 2024, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Two: Challenge Your Views - May 28, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Office Hour 2 (optional) - June 11, 2024, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Three: Active Listening - June 18, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Four: Compassionate Speaking - July 30, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Five: Recognize Shared Identities and Values -  August 27, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET  
  • Office Hour 3 (optional) - September 10, 2024, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Six: Identify Common Goals - September 24, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Seven: Intergroup Contact - October 29, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Office Hour 4 (optional) - November 12, 2024, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Session Eight: Closing and Takeaways - November 19, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET


Paul Bachleitner

Paul Bachleitner

Communications Director
Northwest Area Foundation

Andrew Geraghty

Andrew Geraghty

Program Officer, U.S. Democracy Program
Carnegie Corporation of New York

Michelle Johnson

Michelle D. Johnson

Senior Program Officer, Detroit Program
The Kresge Foundation

Sarah Kurz

Sarah Kurz

Vice President of Public Affairs
Rose Family Foundation

Jenan Mohajir

Jenan Mohajir

Senior Director of Special Projects
Interfaith America

Benjamin Porter

Benjamin N. Porter

Program Officer
Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Uma Viswanathan

Uma Viswanathan

Executive Director
New Pluralists


The cohort is open to individual staff members and teams from foundations and philanthropies. Given the size of the cohort, preference may be given to applicants from Council on Foundations member organizations.

It is a good fit for individuals and teams who are already working to foster more constructive dialogue, relationships, and understanding across lines of difference AND those who want to get started.


The Council aims to make our programming available at rates that are accessible to a wide range of organizations. For this leadership cohort, we have adopted a sliding scale structure to allow participation from foundations of different sizes. Council members who participate in this cohort will pay in the following tiers, according to their Council organizational dues amounts. If needed, you can calculate your organization’s dues amount at or can reach out to


Organizational Council dues $10,000 or greater


Organizational Council dues between $3,000 and $9,999


Organizational Council dues less than $3,000



Non-Member pricing


Group Registration

Participants who register with one or more colleagues from their organization will receive a 10% discount on each registration. Each participant must submit an individual application.


The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Its multimedia resources, including its online magazine, Greater Good, reach well over 1 million people each month. The Greater Good Science Center's Bridging Differences initiative identifies and spreads the top research-based strategies for fostering more constructive dialogue, relationships, and understanding across group lines, including through its popular Bridging Differences Playbook and related online course

Individuals from nonmember organizations are invited to apply. However, given the size of the cohort, preference may be given to applicants from Council on Foundations member organizations.

We'd love to welcome you to our member community. For more information, contact


Connect with Council Staff

Kristen Scott Kennedy

Vice President, Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness and Chief of Staff