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Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems: A Call to Action

September 19, 2017

 

Impact: that’s the north star for funders in the social entrepreneurship space. Many foundations are unwavering in their attention to measuring how a grantee moves the needle. Increasingly though, this focus is becoming self-reflective as well–funders are inspecting their own practices for capacity to create impact. Funders are working with grantees as true partners, working to better understand the complex context in which funds are employed, and collaborating with other funders to achieve greater impact.

Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems [PDF], a new report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisory in collaboration with the Skoll Foundation, Ford Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Porticus takes a close look at this emerging trend in philanthropy. It explores specific actions that philanthropy can take to be nimble, shift away from a project-oriented lens and toward more sustained, transformation change, and help create the conditions that facilitate large-scale impact. The report examines the following themes:

  • Paths taken by organizations to scale and shift systems, and how funders have supported or constrained them
  • Non-monetary inputs from funders
  • Power dynamics
  • Collaboration on the side of funders
  • Bridging to influential “system actors”, including governments and state authorities, large private sector actors, and industry associations.

Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems [PDF] includes a collection of case studies that collectively shed light on how funders can shift to funding at the systems change level and design collective impact strategies. “Exploring how funders can hold ourselves accountable to shifting systems as much as we hold grantees accountable for it will be a key part of our work in future,” write the authors. In short, philanthropy can do better, and this report outlines clear steps to take. This initiative is ongoing and open source and the authors and their steering committee welcome broader engagement from the funding community.

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