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Executive Summaries Dec 2015

Executive Summaries

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


A Foundation's Theory Of Philanthropy: What It Is, What It Provides, How To Do It, Michael Quinn Patton, Nathaniel Foote, James Radner Dec 2015

A Foundation's Theory Of Philanthropy: What It Is, What It Provides, How To Do It, Michael Quinn Patton, Nathaniel Foote, James Radner

The Foundation Review

This article argues that philanthropic endeavors should be undergirded by a theory of philanthropy. Articulating a theory of philanthropy is a way for a foundation to make explicit what is often only implicit, thereby enabling internal and external actors to pose and resolve significant questions, understand and play important roles more fully and effectively, and improve performance by enhancing alignment across complex systems.

A theory of philanthropy articulates how and why a foundation will use its resources to achieve its mission and vision. The theory-of-philanthropy approach is designed to help foundations align their strategies, governance, operating and accountability procedures, and …


The Blandin Foundation: The Journey To A Theory Of Philanthropy, Kathy Annette, Wade Fauth, Allison Ahcan Dec 2015

The Blandin Foundation: The Journey To A Theory Of Philanthropy, Kathy Annette, Wade Fauth, Allison Ahcan

The Foundation Review

The Blandin Foundation, located in Grand Rapids, Minn., is one of the few foundations focused on rural communities.

The foundation’s trustees commissioned the senior leadership team in 2007 to undertake serious, sustained, and annual assessments of the foundation’s work and impact. The first assessments focused on the ways in which they were delivering on the strategic plan, observations about impact, and potential adjustments.

After focusing on strategies, foundation leadership asked themselves what their theory of change was. This question led to a deeper process of exploring why and how they do their work, eventually leading them to a theory of …


Influences Of Venture Philanthropy On Nonprofits’ Funding: The Current State Of Practices, Challenges, And Lessons, Tamaki Onishi Dec 2015

Influences Of Venture Philanthropy On Nonprofits’ Funding: The Current State Of Practices, Challenges, And Lessons, Tamaki Onishi

The Foundation Review

This article looks at the current state of venture philanthropy practices in the nonprofit sector, based on data from a survey of 124 nonprofits that engage in venture philanthropy.

The survey probes to what degree nonprofit funders are implementing core activities of venture philanthropy – use of market-based funding instruments, providing strategic assistance, board participation, and use of social and financial performance criteria.

Seven venture philanthropy organizations were also interviewed for this article. Various tactics they have used to mitigate internal and external tensions are examined, including complying with diverse interests to balance conflicting views if internal tension is moderate …


Reflections And Commentary On A Theory Of Philanthropy, Michelle Gagnon, Nathaniel Foote, Michael Quinn Patton, James Radner, Patricia Patrizi, John Bare, Kay Sherwood, Teresa Behrens Dec 2015

Reflections And Commentary On A Theory Of Philanthropy, Michelle Gagnon, Nathaniel Foote, Michael Quinn Patton, James Radner, Patricia Patrizi, John Bare, Kay Sherwood, Teresa Behrens

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


When Backbone Organizations Become The Funder: The Use Of Fiscal Intermediaries In The Context Of Collective Impact, Jewlya Lynn, Kirsten Breckinridge, Ashley Denault, Chris Marvin Dec 2015

When Backbone Organizations Become The Funder: The Use Of Fiscal Intermediaries In The Context Of Collective Impact, Jewlya Lynn, Kirsten Breckinridge, Ashley Denault, Chris Marvin

The Foundation Review

Intermediary organizations are increasingly being engaged to work with grantees in the context of collective impact and similar collaborative approaches that aim to solve significant societal problems. At times the backbone organization – the group providing support to the collective effort – takes on the work of a fiscal intermediary. This dual role has two distinct functions: engagement of collaborative partners to advance a shared agenda, and distributing funds while holding those partners accountable.

This article explores the complexities of the dual relationship by using examples from the Social Innovation Fund, a White House initiative, and Got Your 6, a …


Place-Based Initiatives: Lessons From Five Decades Of Experimentation And Experience, James M. Ferris, Elwood Hopkins Dec 2015

Place-Based Initiatives: Lessons From Five Decades Of Experimentation And Experience, James M. Ferris, Elwood Hopkins

The Foundation Review

This article summarizes the findings from a yearlong inquiry into the state of place-based initiatives, underscores the lessons learned, and develops implications for foundation practice.

Place-based approaches have matured in response to five decades of historical change. In more recent years, a new framework for such initiatives has emerged that views place as an open system where neighborhoods are aligned with larger areas and influenced by market forces and public policy. Consequently, place-based initiatives targeted to a specific neighborhood are only part of any solution.

Seven key lessons emerged from this inquiry that animate a renewed sense of the possible …


Constancy And Change In The Women’S Funding Network: International Horizons And Core Values, Eleanor Brilliant Dec 2015

Constancy And Change In The Women’S Funding Network: International Horizons And Core Values, Eleanor Brilliant

The Foundation Review

This article is a case study of women’s advocacy funders and their network organization, the Women’s Funding Network (WFN). WFN developed in the context of alternative (targeted) private funding sources emerging in the 70s and 80s to support newly formed social action and identity groups, some of whom had been encouraged by federal programs before the Reagan era, but that in those years were also not receiving support from more traditional funders like the United Way and many foundations.

The author analyzes the evolution of the network and its member funds from 1985 to 2012 as they struggled for survival …


Understanding Collective Impact In A Rural Funding Collaborative: Collective Grantmaking In Appalachian Ohio, Judith Millesen Dec 2015

Understanding Collective Impact In A Rural Funding Collaborative: Collective Grantmaking In Appalachian Ohio, Judith Millesen

The Foundation Review

This article documents the history and work of the Appalachian Ohio Funders Group, a ninemember regional grantmaking collaborative committed to strategically enhancing the region’s assets through leadership, networking, financial and in-kind investments, leveraged resources, and collaboration.

The work of the collaborative is positioned within the broader context of recent publications examining funder collaboratives, networks, and collective impact as ways to address social problems, achieve economies of scale, and inspire innovation. Specific attention is given to what makes the collaborative unique – namely, the organizational diversity of the funding partners, the lack of a shared issue area, and the fluidity of …


The Theory Of Philanthropy Of The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, James Radner, Nathaniel Foote, Michael Quinn Patton Dec 2015

The Theory Of Philanthropy Of The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, James Radner, Nathaniel Foote, Michael Quinn Patton

The Foundation Review

This article presents the theory of philanthropy of the Palix Foundation, which seeks to improve health and wellness outcomes for children and families in Alberta, Canada, by mobilizing and applying knowledge about brain and early childhood development and the link to lifelong mental health and addiction outcomes.

Through years of intuitive exploration and adaptation, the foundation evolved its role to include brokering access to the latest scientific knowledge, convening key players in multiple forums to explore applying that knowledge, and serving as a learning partner to public systems and communities in Alberta.

Following evaluation of a major phase of the …


Back Matter Dec 2015

Back Matter

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Creating Choices Before Making Choices: One Family Foundation’S Journey To Finding A Strategic Focus, Kelly C. Medinger, Angela R. Logan Dec 2015

Creating Choices Before Making Choices: One Family Foundation’S Journey To Finding A Strategic Focus, Kelly C. Medinger, Angela R. Logan

The Foundation Review

Rooted in business principles, philanthropic study, and reflective practice, this article examines the journey of the Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation, a small family foundation established in 1977, toward a strategic grantmaking focus.

This article examines a foundation’s first step toward building a grantmaking strategy – finding an issue or problem to address – alongside a three-part model for creating choices that reflect donor intent, organizational talents and resources, and broader community needs.

The study adds to the body of knowledge about the value, process, and challenges of finding a strategic grantmaking focus, whether that focus is for …


Editorial, Teri Behrens, Michael Quinn Patton Dec 2015

Editorial, Teri Behrens, Michael Quinn Patton

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Front Matter Dec 2015

Front Matter

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Achieving Communitywide Impact By Changing The Local Culture: Opportunities And Considerations For Foundations, Douglas Easterling, Judith L. Millesen Oct 2015

Achieving Communitywide Impact By Changing The Local Culture: Opportunities And Considerations For Foundations, Douglas Easterling, Judith L. Millesen

The Foundation Review

With place-based initiatives foundations generally seek to engage a broad set of local stakeholders in developing high-payoff strategies and to build their capacity. However more fundamental changes may be needed to bring about the ambitious impacts that foundations have in mind. This article explores the idea of changing community culture as a means of achieving large-scale impacts.

In trying to shift a community’s culture, a foundation is inherently seeking to change how residents think and act, as well as how the community defines itself. This raises both practical and ethical questions, particularly when the foundation is based outside the community …


Investing In Community Change: An Evaluation Of A Decade Of Data-Driven Grantmaking, Lois Greco, Maggie Grieve, Ira Goldstein Oct 2015

Investing In Community Change: An Evaluation Of A Decade Of Data-Driven Grantmaking, Lois Greco, Maggie Grieve, Ira Goldstein

The Foundation Review

The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation has a well-established continuum of grantmaking and technical-assistance programs designed to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The foundation’s decade long focus on neighborhood revitalization has helped to shape a resident-driven, collaborative, long-term, and data-informed approach designed to make neighborhoods more attractive for large-scale investment.

In 2014, the foundation engaged The Reinvestment Fund and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America to jointly evaluate the impact of its grantmaking and related programs from 2003 to 2013, to determine if practices in its approach …


Executive Summaries Oct 2015

Executive Summaries

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Front Matter Oct 2015

Front Matter

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Editorial, Sheri Brady Oct 2015

Editorial, Sheri Brady

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


The Boston Foundation’S Collaborate Boston Prize, Jennifer Aronson Oct 2015

The Boston Foundation’S Collaborate Boston Prize, Jennifer Aronson

The Foundation Review

This article describes how the Boston Foundation is leveraging Collaborate Boston, a competition launched in 2013, as a tool to support interorganizational and cross-sector collaboration in greater Boston to catalyze, surface, and implement ideas that have the potential to strengthen communities facing complex challenges.

After a discussion of Collaborate Boston’s theory of change and the prize design and process, the article shares early results from the inaugural 2013 competition, the foundation’s reflections, and subsequent iterations for 2014 and beyond.

The article concludes with an examination of the ways a prize can be a powerful tool for social change, and outlines …


Back Matter Oct 2015

Back Matter

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


The Boys And Men Of Color Framework: A Model For Community And Systems Change, Marc Philpart, Judith Bell Oct 2015

The Boys And Men Of Color Framework: A Model For Community And Systems Change, Marc Philpart, Judith Bell

The Foundation Review

For too long, many African American, Latino, Native, and Asian boys and young men have been shunted into failing schools and pushed out of them for minor infractions, incarcerated in massive numbers, suffered from unaddressed health needs, died young, or entered adulthood without prospects to earn a livelihood.

In response to this crisis, an evolving body of work rooted in place has emerged to reverse persistent patterns of racial discrimination, build strong communities, and create pathways to opportunity by catalyzing changes in local and state systems that have the greatest impact on young males of color.

The experiences of PolicyLink …


Activating The Power Of Place: A Case Study Of Market Creek, Elizabeth Castillo, Angela Titus Oct 2015

Activating The Power Of Place: A Case Study Of Market Creek, Elizabeth Castillo, Angela Titus

The Foundation Review

This article tells the story of a placed-based initiative to develop well-being and wealth in the historically underserved Diamond Neighborhood in San Diego, and discusses the place-based philosophy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the foundation’s motivation for place-based work.

Its theory of change is presented through examples, along with the entry points the foundation chose for engagement and how it developed community capacity to engage effectively in this change work.

The article also discusses plans to transition ownership to the Diamond Neighborhood community when the foundation sunsets in 2030.


Review Of Systems Thinking For Social Change: A Practical Guide To Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, And Achieving Lasting Results, Hilda Vega Oct 2015

Review Of Systems Thinking For Social Change: A Practical Guide To Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, And Achieving Lasting Results, Hilda Vega

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Participatory Decision-Making In Contested Societies: Examples From The Field Of Community Philanthropy, Avila Kilmurray Oct 2015

Participatory Decision-Making In Contested Societies: Examples From The Field Of Community Philanthropy, Avila Kilmurray

The Foundation Review

This article examines participatory, placebased philanthropy in two locations, Northern Ireland and Palestine, drawing on the work of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Fair Share Programme and the Dalia Association’s Village Decides initiative.

The article considers the rationale for a participatory grantmaking approach as well as the manner in which local communities and residents experienced the methodology, and describes and evaluates the role com-munity philanthropy org-anizations played in providing an important added-value dimension to traditional grantmaking.

The fact that both Northern Ireland and Palestine are politically contested societies is factored into the analysis presented by the author, who conducted …


Editorial, Teri Behrens Jun 2015

Editorial, Teri Behrens

The Foundation Review

No abstract provided.


Network Evaluation In Practice: Approaches And Applications, Madeleine Taylor, Anne Whatley, Julia Coffman Jun 2015

Network Evaluation In Practice: Approaches And Applications, Madeleine Taylor, Anne Whatley, Julia Coffman

The Foundation Review

As more funders support networks as a mechanism for social change, new and practical knowledge is emerging about how to build and support effective networks. Based on extensive review of different types of networks and their evaluations, and on interviews with funders, network practitioners, and evaluation experts, the authors have developed an accessible framework for evaluating networks.

This article describes the evaluation framework and its three pillars of network assessment: network connectivity, network health, and network results.

Also presented are case examples of foundationfunded network evaluations focused on each pillar, which include practical information on evaluation designs, methods, and results, …


Building An Organizational Culture That Supports Philanthropy In Indian Country: A Funder’S Story, Adam Kintopf, Nicole Toves Villaluz, Jaime Martínez, Barbara Schillo, Y. Elaine Rasmussen Jun 2015

Building An Organizational Culture That Supports Philanthropy In Indian Country: A Funder’S Story, Adam Kintopf, Nicole Toves Villaluz, Jaime Martínez, Barbara Schillo, Y. Elaine Rasmussen

The Foundation Review

This article examines one philanthropic organization’s project to overcome challenges around its work in Indian Country and to build support for that work among its leadership.

ClearWay Minnesota, an independent nonprofit working to reduce commercial tobacco’s harm, embarked on a project to educate its board and staff about American Indian history and culture. The project resulted in an increase in staff expertise, valuable context for the organization’s leadership, relationships built with Native individuals and organizations, and the integration of American Indian concepts into more aspects of ClearWay’s work. The organization’s board and staff report improved ability to achieve success in …


Catalytic Funding, Partnership, Evaluation, And Advocacy: Innovation Strategies For Community Impact, Lora Warner Jun 2015

Catalytic Funding, Partnership, Evaluation, And Advocacy: Innovation Strategies For Community Impact, Lora Warner

The Foundation Review

With long-term commitments to concentrated geographic regions, community foundations are in a unique position to highlight problems and stimulate other nonprofit organizations and funders to develop local solutions. Seizing an opportunity to address a growing community concern over cutbacks in youth arts education, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region undertook an initiative that utilized several innovation strategies in a way that would impact the community and its own work.

This article describes how the foundation combined catalytic funding, partnership with grantees, creative use of evaluation, and design of advocacy tools to promote and strengthen youth arts programming. The …


Strategy Design Amid Complexity: Tools For Designing And Implementing Adaptive Funding Strategies, Erica Snow, Jewlya Lynn, Tanya Beer Jun 2015

Strategy Design Amid Complexity: Tools For Designing And Implementing Adaptive Funding Strategies, Erica Snow, Jewlya Lynn, Tanya Beer

The Foundation Review

Increasingly, foundations recognize the importance of designing adaptive strategies that can respond to complex environments and problems. Recent articles have cautioned against practices common in strategic philanthropy that hinder the ability of foundations and grantees to account for changing contexts and adapt their strategies accordingly.

But understanding the importance of and barriers to adaptive strategy is not sufficient. Foundations now need processes and tools to create and implement adaptive strategies while also addressing the core dilemmas such strategies create: managing accountability in the context of adaptation, adapting at the right level, and responding to changes in context without creating too …