Leveraging Grant-Making—Part 2: Aligning Programmatic Approaches With Complex System Dynamics

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  • The purpose of this two-part article is to enable foundations to increase the leverage of their grantmaking resources by working effectively with the dynamics of complex social systems.
  • This article examines how foundations can align planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts with the behavior of the social systems they seek to improve.
  • Asking powerful questions of staff, board, grantees, and other stakeholders helps to transform how they think about their goals and strategies.
  • In addition to using the power of questioning, foundations function more systemically by suspending their assumptions about their effectiveness and what is possible, creating the cultural shifts needed, learning from others, and developing their systems thinking capabilities.

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