Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort


Join the Leadership Cohort

Applications must be submitted by March 3, 2023.

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 2023 until November 2023, 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 Cohort

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar on February 14, 2023, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

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

Cohort Details

Members of the Cohort will:

  • Meet on monthly 90-minute 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.
  • Gain access to a private community on the Council's Philanthropy Exchange, where you can access and share resources and connect with other cohort participants.


  • Cohort Kickoff - April 25, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Challenge Your Views - May 30, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Active Listening - June 27, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Compassionate Speaking - July 25, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Recognize Shared Identities and Values - August 29, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Identify Common Goals - September 26, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Intergroup Contact - October 31, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Closing and Takeaways - November 28, 2023, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET


The cohort is open to individual staff members and teams from foundations and philanthropies. Given the size of the cohort, preference will 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.

Please note: if you are applying as a part of a team, each team member will each need to complete your own application to be considered for the cohort. 

How to Apply

There is a short application process to participate in the cohort, with limited space to support more intimate connections, conversations, and learning.

To apply, please complete the online application form by Friday March 3, 2023.

Selected participants will be notified of their acceptance by the end of March.

Submit application


The cost for Council members to participate in the cohort is $399. The cost for nonmembers is $475. Participants who register as a team with a colleague from their organization receive a 10% discount.


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

Life happens and we understand If you can't make a session date. However, because the cohort relies on active participation by attendees, if you are not able to make two or more sessions we ask that you consider applying to a future cohort.

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


Connect with Council Staff

Kristen Scott Kennedy

Vice President, Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness and Chief of Staff