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The Foundation Review

2016

Systems change

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Business

Tackling Big Issues Together: The Story Of One Funders Network Promoting The Mental Health Of Young Children, Whitney Gustin Connor, Colleen Church, Barbara Yondorf Oct 2016

Tackling Big Issues Together: The Story Of One Funders Network Promoting The Mental Health Of Young Children, Whitney Gustin Connor, Colleen Church, Barbara Yondorf

The Foundation Review

In 2012, Rose Community Foundation and the Caring for Colorado Foundation supported an environmental scan on children’s behavioral health to better understand challenges and opportunities for philanthropic investment. In the wake of the report’s release they established the Funders Learning Network on Early Childhood Mental Health, an organization of more than 10 community, private, and family foundations, to develop shared strategies for promoting the behavioral health of young children and families.

This article examines the evolution of the network from a learning collaborative to an incubator for jointly funded initiatives. Among its collaborative funding efforts is LAUNCH Together, a five-year, …


Partnerships, Paradigms, And Social-System Change, Patricia Jessup, Beverly Parsons, Marah Moore Jun 2016

Partnerships, Paradigms, And Social-System Change, Patricia Jessup, Beverly Parsons, Marah Moore

The Foundation Review

Social systems structures stem from underlying paradigms that are made up of beliefs, perspectives, and assumptions. Changing paradigms is a powerful way to change social systems. Such change is difficult and old paradigms keep pulling systems back to their former state.

This article examines three types of partnerships that focus on these deep structures and paradigms, and that go beyond implementing a project or initiative to create fundamental, lasting change in the underlying beliefs, perspectives, and assumptions on which such systems are grounded.

The functions of each type – project focused, formal-systems-focused, and community-grounded partnerships – are identified, along with …


Emergent Learning: A Framework For Whole-System Strategy, Learning, And Adaptation, Marilyn Darling, Heidi Guber, Jillaine Smith, James Stiles Mar 2016

Emergent Learning: A Framework For Whole-System Strategy, Learning, And Adaptation, Marilyn Darling, Heidi Guber, Jillaine Smith, James Stiles

The Foundation Review

The field of philanthropy is exploring what it takes to achieve impact in complex environments. The terms “adaptive” and “emergent” are beginning to be used, often interchangeably, to describe strategies by which funders can tackle complexity. This article proposes distinguishing between the two and explores more deeply how the research into complexity can inform philanthropic practice.

While approaches like systems mapping, scenario planning, and appreciative inquiry have been put forward as useful approaches to expanding perspectives and seeing whole systems, the field needs a framework for going beyond these planning tools in order to actually create the conditions in which …