Purpose of the Berrett-Koehler Foundation

Our goal is to support both emerging and experienced leaders in creating collaborative environments, authentic dialogue and whole systems change that shifts the underlying beliefs, practices, and structures that keep generating the same cycles of ineffectual problems. We help leaders create a world that works for all by learning and putting into practice systems-changing ideas and methods that foster positive change in people’s lives, organizations and communities.

caitlin shields presentingWho We Support

Leaders across spectrums of age, field and multiple levels of diversity. Specifically, we connect emerging young leaders (ages 15-35) and experienced leaders in collaborative leadership learning and growth. Our emerging young leaders are people who are managers in nonprofit and mission-based organizations, teachers, entrepreneurs seeking ways to make a positive impact on society, and organizers of community-based grassroots movements. Additionally, we support experienced leaders who are authors, thought leaders, organizational development professionals, founders, and seasoned activists.

We focus on those who are often overlooked for mainstream leadership development because we believe great potential exists and can emerge when given an opportunity to shine. Only by releasing the talents of diverse leadership is our world going to shift.

Our Call To Action

Our research uncovered a looming leadership gap, especially in the non-profit world. Next-generation leaders have fewer opportunities to hone their leadership skills as many baby boomers continue to hold onto senior leadership positions. And traditional institutions do not adequately teach the systems-changing methods needed to adequately lead organizations into a more equitable future.

This concern extends beyond the non-profit world to include mission-driven companies, schools, and other institutions committed to solving the challenges of today and tomorrow. Our model of supporting the next generation of leaders through intergenerational collaboration has tapped into a well of desire and excitement. We are creating a community of practice committed to putting more democratic, collaborative and equitable leadership into action for positive change.


We are a tax-deductible non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by the law. Funding for the BK Foundation comes from:

  • World PuzzleBerrett-Koehler Publishers is donating 10% of pre-tax profits for the next three years.
  • Steve Piersanti has donated a substantial block of his stock (with the expectation that much of this stock could be converted to preferred stock that will pay annual dividends).
  • Grants, especially for seed funding, from existing grant-making entities.
  • Donations from Berrett-Koehler community members (readers, authors, service providers, employees, shareholders, and others).

Legal Structure

The Berrett-Koehler Foundation is an independent entity, with its own staff and Board of Directors, that is completely separate from the Berrett-Koehler Publishers staff and Board.

BK Community Involvement

BK Community 3 picturesThe focus of our new Foundation has tapped into a well of desire and excitement within the BK community of authors, readers, staff and publishing partners.  Over fifty Berrett-Koehler authors, readers, partners, and leaders have volunteered thousands of hours of time to investigating, designing, and establishing the programs of the Foundation. A detailed description of the numerous ways the Berrett-Koehler community has been involved in designing the Foundation is provided in Our History: How We Began. The specific teams that have been involved are described on the Design Process page. We continue to have conversations, seek feedback and reach out to the BK community as we move forward.