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The Foundation Review

Strategy

Public Policy

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Full-Text Articles in Business

Advancing Philanthropic Strategy Through Evaluative Thinking: One Foundation’S Approach, Christine Baker, Margaret Eigsti, Kathryn Racine, Laurence O’Connell Sep 2022

Advancing Philanthropic Strategy Through Evaluative Thinking: One Foundation’S Approach, Christine Baker, Margaret Eigsti, Kathryn Racine, Laurence O’Connell

The Foundation Review

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland supports Catholic sisters and their ministries in northeast Ohio through the grantmaking, partnership, capacitybuilding, and evaluation efforts of its Catholic Sisters Program Area. The decline of sisters actively engaged in ministry, due both to their rising median age and a decades-long decline in their overall numbers, called for a reconsideration and likely revision of the CSPA existing theory of change.

Unlike other strategic approaches at the foundation, such as ending homelessness or improving health equity, transitioning from sister-led to lay-led leadership of ministries remained largely unexplored: Basic research was lacking, and model practices …


Strategy Resilience: Getting Wise About Philanthropic Strategy In A Post-Pandemic World, Jewlya Lynn, Clare Nolan, Peter Waring Jun 2021

Strategy Resilience: Getting Wise About Philanthropic Strategy In A Post-Pandemic World, Jewlya Lynn, Clare Nolan, Peter Waring

The Foundation Review

Public and private systems worldwide have been disrupted by COVID-19, cutting across all types of philanthropic priorities. Amid this uncertainty, some philanthropic strategies have struggled to find their footing while others have adapted easily, harnessing previously unanticipated opportunities to achieve change. Why have some philanthropic strategies been more successful than others? What wisdom can we draw from this moment that can help us prepare for the future?

During times of crisis, the concept of resilience is frequently applied to nonprofit organizations and their leaders. This article flips the vantage point toward funders, proposing a theory to explain what makes some …


Making Health Equity Real: Implementing A Commitment To Engage The Community Through Fellowships, Saphira M. Baker, Mark D. Constantine Dec 2019

Making Health Equity Real: Implementing A Commitment To Engage The Community Through Fellowships, Saphira M. Baker, Mark D. Constantine

The Foundation Review

Between 2016 and 2019, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation jumpstarted its transformation from a health legacy foundation committed to increasing access to health care to one promoting regional health equity through a racial and ethnic lens. A central component of this new focus was the trustees’ decision to invite community members to inform and advance the health equity strategy through two distinct community fellowship programs — the Equity + Health Fellowships. These programs ultimately provided the foundation with a new language, benchmarks, and structure for welcoming broader community engagement.

This article highlights the outcomes of both programs, how the experience with …


Strategic Learning In Practice: A Case Study Of The Kauffman Foundation, Matthew Carr, Brett Hembree, Nathan Madden Mar 2019

Strategic Learning In Practice: A Case Study Of The Kauffman Foundation, Matthew Carr, Brett Hembree, Nathan Madden

The Foundation Review

Increasingly, foundations and nonprofits are seeking to engage their staff in learning and reflection activities that assess successes and challenges, and then generate insights that can improve programs and funding strategies. Yet, despite the intuitive benefits, there are common challenges that often stand in the way of promoting strategic learning for continuous improvement.

For the past year, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has been focused on creating more systematic and intentional strategic learning across our organization. As part of this work we cultivated a select cohort of staff to be “learning champions,” created simple tools and processes that can more …


Shifting Mindsets: How Meaningful Accountability Systems Can Strengthen Foundation Learning And Improve Impact, Marc J. Holley, Marcie Parkhurst Mar 2019

Shifting Mindsets: How Meaningful Accountability Systems Can Strengthen Foundation Learning And Improve Impact, Marc J. Holley, Marcie Parkhurst

The Foundation Review

This article explores what it looks like when a foundation attempts to integrate accountability and learning practices, and presents a framework for the unique and complementary contributions that accountability and learning can make to the work of foundations.

The article also looks at the tensions that can arise when a foundation’s internal evaluation staff attempt to design, implement, and make use of accountability systems. Specifically, it identifies three problematic perspectives that can hold foundations back from full engagement in internally driven accountability initiatives, and offers practical guidance on how to shift these mindsets to more productive practices.

It concludes by …


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 …


Inside The Black Box: Investigating Philanthropic Foundation Strategies In A Dynamic Environment, Amanda Stewart Dec 2017

Inside The Black Box: Investigating Philanthropic Foundation Strategies In A Dynamic Environment, Amanda Stewart

The Foundation Review

Foundations have been described as black boxes — implying that we know very little about what happens between inputs and outputs. We do know that they operate in dynamic environments and must adopt strategies to be effective in the face of change. This article, which examines the strategies of 29 foundations operating in one southeastern state, provides fresh insights into how foundations fulfill their missions.

The article is based on a research study that used semistructured interviews to explore how foundations approached grantmaking. Interviewees discussed the multiple and simultaneous roles played by grantmakers in addition to their traditional check-writing function. …