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The Foundation Review

Strategic philanthropy

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Coopen: An Open Innovation Process Triggering Collaboration Between Ngos And Innovators In Africa — The Case Of Fondazione Cariplo And Fondazione Compagnia Di San Paolo, Fulvio Bersanetti, Alessandro Masciadri, Ilaria Caramia, Cristina Toscano Dec 2023

Coopen: An Open Innovation Process Triggering Collaboration Between Ngos And Innovators In Africa — The Case Of Fondazione Cariplo And Fondazione Compagnia Di San Paolo, Fulvio Bersanetti, Alessandro Masciadri, Ilaria Caramia, Cristina Toscano

The Foundation Review

This article explores how the two main Italian foundations of banking origin, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, are internationally contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals agenda through Coopen, a cross-fertilization process between nonprofit organizations and the innovation ecosystem.

Guided by the United Nations 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, which identify innovation as a focal point in SDG 9, the foundations recognize the value that product, process, and methodological innovation can bring to Italy’s international development cooperation sector and its partnerships.

Coopen encourages the development and implementation of innovative solutions in Africa to respond to specific …


Balancing The Competing Demands Of Strategic Philanthropy: The Case Of The Delaware River Watershed Initiative, Edward W. Wilson, Carol Bromer, David Laroche Dec 2019

Balancing The Competing Demands Of Strategic Philanthropy: The Case Of The Delaware River Watershed Initiative, Edward W. Wilson, Carol Bromer, David Laroche

The Foundation Review

Strategic philanthropy requires striking a balance between two extremes. On one side is unilateral agenda-setting by the foundation and excessive reliance on its own intellectual frameworks and methods. On the other side is too much deference to competing voices from the field, with the risk that funding will be haphazard and incoherent. This article describes how the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, supported by the William Penn Foundation, has struggled to position itself between these two extremes.

Based on an evaluation conducted during the first four years of the initiative, the article examines four interrelated tensions: upfront planning versus emergent strategy, …


Building Principle-Based Strategic Learning: Insights From Practice, Kelci M. Price, Chera Reid, Suzanne Kennedy Leahy Mar 2019

Building Principle-Based Strategic Learning: Insights From Practice, Kelci M. Price, Chera Reid, Suzanne Kennedy Leahy

The Foundation Review

Strategic learning is a powerful tool for foundations to achieve greater impact, yet foundations have struggled to create practices and behaviors that effectively support them in learning about strategy. Given that many foundations are engaged in strategic philanthropy, where they have specific conditions in the world they are trying to change, it is critical that they have the capacity to effectively learn about and improve their strategies.

This article offers three principles for strategic learning, informed by the field of strategic learning and insights from practice across three foundations. Each principle is explored in terms of what it means and …


From Charitable Giving To Strategic Impact: The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Carla A. Roberts Sep 2018

From Charitable Giving To Strategic Impact: The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Carla A. Roberts

The Foundation Review

In 2011, the Fremont Area Community Foundation launched a community investment strategy, focused on education, poverty, and economic development, that shaped corresponding aspirational goals aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of rural Newaygo County, Mich.

While there had been significant community involvement and input into foundation planning for a number of years, the announcement of these strategic goals and their implementation created some apprehension among the local nonprofits. The new funding paradigms were a big change, and it took several years for many of the grantees, with assistance in the form of backbone services and tools to …


Unpacking The Role Of Data In Philanthropy: Prospects For An Integrated Framework, R. Patrick Bixler, Marisa Zappone, Lin Rui Li, Samer Atshan Jun 2018

Unpacking The Role Of Data In Philanthropy: Prospects For An Integrated Framework, R. Patrick Bixler, Marisa Zappone, Lin Rui Li, Samer Atshan

The Foundation Review

This article reports qualitative research that explores the role of data in philanthropy and proposes an integrated framework. Interviews with charitable foundations in central Texas, including members of a regional evaluation and learning collaborative, reveal an orientation toward data that is becoming increasingly institutionalized.

The research suggests that data are generated and used in a multiplicity of ways, including identifying populations and geographies in need of investment, informing funding decisions for service delivery as well as policy research and advocacy; evaluation and learning; and measuring community impact.

This article discusses these thematic findings, notes specific practices, and presents six principles …


Becoming Strategic: Finding Leverage Over The Social And Economic Determinants Of Health, Douglas Easterling, Laura Mcduffee Mar 2018

Becoming Strategic: Finding Leverage Over The Social And Economic Determinants Of Health, Douglas Easterling, Laura Mcduffee

The Foundation Review

While a number of observers have offered advice to foundations on how to be more effective with the implementation, evaluation, and adaptation of their strategies, there is little guidance on how foundations should go about designing their strategies.

This study fills that gap by analyzing the strategic thinking of health conversion foundations when they determined how they would address various social determinants of health. Based on interviews conducted with the leaders of 33 foundations across the U.S., we identified four strategic pathways: expanding and improving relevant services, creating more effective systems, changing policy, and encouraging more equitable power structures.

In …


Staying The Course: How A Long-Term Strategic Donor Initiative To Conserve The Amazon Has Yielded Outcomes Of Global Significance, Jared Hardner, R.E. Gullison, Elizabeth O’Neill Jun 2017

Staying The Course: How A Long-Term Strategic Donor Initiative To Conserve The Amazon Has Yielded Outcomes Of Global Significance, Jared Hardner, R.E. Gullison, Elizabeth O’Neill

The Foundation Review

This article examines how the design principles of a major philanthropic initiative have influenced its performance, and provides a practical example of strategic philanthropy that can contribute to the current debate over the merits and flaws of this approach.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s $369 million Andes Amazon Initiative, one of the largest private environmental conservation initiatives ever, reflects the values of the Moore family by focusing on conserving important biodiversity and wilderness areas such as the Amazon. “Making a difference” in the context of the Andes-Amazon has required adherence to the foundation’s founders’ principles of investing at sufficient …


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 …


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 …


Getting To Collective Impact: How Funders Can Contribute Over The Life Course Of The Work, Douglas Easterling Jan 2013

Getting To Collective Impact: How Funders Can Contribute Over The Life Course Of The Work, Douglas Easterling

The Foundation Review

· Foundations have a long tradition of convening and funding collaborative groups with the hope that this will lead to large-scale impact.

· Although funder-driven collaboration sometimes leads to breakthrough solutions, foundations have also pushed the participating organizations into artificial, awkward, and unsustainable efforts.

· This article argues that funders should support naturally emerging networks and should tailor their support to match the network’s stage of development.

· A five-stage developmental model is introduced and illustrated through a case study of the Central Appalachian Network (CAN).

· Over CAN’s 20-year history, a succession of regional and national foundations have played …