InBloom isn't the first foundation-funded nonprofit to fall flat or get swallowed up in larger social issues, it won't be the last, and its demise probably doesn't mean what you think it means.
There are several recent reformy examples of failure or premature suspension of operations including the Gates small schools initiative, Yolie Flores' teacher advocacy organization (Communities 4 Teaching Excellence), Reading First, the Education Sector (now being revived at AIR), and EDIN'08.
But there have also been numerous failures of various types and descriptions from those who would generally be considered reform critics, including the mid-1990s Annenberg Challenge, the barely-alive Broader Bolder Alliance, and Parents Across America (remember them)? Other nominees from Twitter I'm not familiar with include Strategic Management of Human Capital and the Council for Basic Education. The whole reform movement is built on the failures of the era that preceded it (feat. Head Start, desegregation, etc.).
You get the idea. This is hard work, saving the world, and a certain amount of failure is to be expected.
Even more important to remember is that short-term setbacks often lead to breakthroughs rather than collapses. What lessons will reformers and reform critics learn from inBloom's demise? What opportunities will arise from its implosion? Whomever learns inBloom's lessons fastest and puts them to good use stands the best chance of future success.
Previous posts: Key Members Depart "Parents Across America"; The Successful Failure Of ED In '08; Gates-Funded Group Hands Baton To Sharpton; Malcolm Gladwell On Failure, Voice, & Exit; Waivers, Failures, And Redefining AYP. Image via Flickr.