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Giving in Challenging Times

The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors released a guide called “Giving in Challenging Times,” in 2008. They followed up ten years later with this blog post and recommended that donors take their time to carefully “review, recalibrate, and recommit” – an approach that also makes sense now.





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The Theory of the Foundation: Core Framework

This infographic is part of GrantCraft’s Leadership Series paper Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact, produced in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which explores the core frameworks that shape private foundations, and offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on these frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action.This infographic is composed of three core elements—charter, social compact, and operating capabilities—that together inform a foundation’s structure and approach.​





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Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact

This leadership series paper produced in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors explores the core frameworks that shape private foundations, and offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on these frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action.





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Solutions for Impact Investors: From Strategy to Implementation

In this publication, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors highlight some of the areas in which behavioral economics and innovative organizational and legal structures can be applied to the discipline of impact investing. By describing best practices in transparency, disclosure and rigorous decision making, they also hope to bridge the divide between traditional and social purpose investing.  





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Financial Inclusion – Opportunities and Risks for Donors

People living in poverty often lack access to safe, reliable ways to manage the little money they have. As a result, they face de facto exclusion from the financial system the rest of us rely on. To address this problem, a unique philanthropic project, funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Bankable Frontier Associates, formed partnerships with five large banks in the developing world. The approach was straightforward: research and implement new approaches to providing poor people with the financial tools they deserve. This philanthropic-public-private collaboration focused on sustainable financial inclusion—developing savings accounts that could Read more





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Enhancing Foundation Capacity: The Role of the Senior Leadership Team

This article examines the issue of foundation organization design and assesses how foundation leaders might think about their organizations as institutions. Noting that any organization structure inhabited by human beings creates silos and territorial issues, foundation leaders are increasingly using two primary mechanisms to minimize these artificial barriers and maximize collaboration: enhanced headquarters functions to help integrate across the organization, and senior leadership teams. This article reviews the structure, roles, responsibilities, and value-add of senior leadership teams at 19 foundations. The senior leadership team plays a crucial role in foundations, functioning as an advisory group to the president and chief Read more





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Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing

It is not a surprise that we are seeing a growing interest among trustees and foundation leaders in mission-related investing (MRI). With over $600 billion in the endowments of U.S. private foundations, it is logical to consider how these funds can be put to use beyond generating income for grantmaking and begin to be a catalyst for social change via investments in market-driven entities. With this guide, Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing, plus other research that has been collected on MRI, there is now a strong body of work that can provide donors, trustees, staff of foundations, and the Read more







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Making Change Happen

Effective philanthropy is about the thoughtful creation of something new in the world. It harnesses rigor and strategy – as well as commitment and strength of heart – to build a practical path from donors’ ambitions to their desired impact. It starts with a philanthropist’s values and motivations, and moves through the careful, well-researched selection of appropriate goals until it produces its core element – a giving strategy. This strategy is hugely important because it dictates how a philanthropic investment will actually make change happen.  





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Investing in Leadership

Leadership is one of a number of factors that determine the effectiveness of a nonprofit organization’s work. Visionary leaders possess the ability to assess the way things are and then inspire us to help create new solutions. In this sense, leadership does more than set policies and define goals; it creates a paradigm for a better world. This brief guide, part of the Philanthropy Roadmap series, is designed for both emerging and established philanthropists. It sets out five key questions that donors can ask to evaluate leadership.





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Assessing Impact

Experienced donors know how important it is to have reliable, relevant information about the programs they fund. Assessment, done in tandem with your grantees, can provide this information. Without it, donors risk missing their planned destination by miles. With it, they can orient their giving. This guide reviews various ways to assess philanthropic impact. It looks at what assessment can accomplish and what it has difficulty measuring. It sets out a series of questions donors can ask as they consider how to proceed with their philanthropy. And finally, it details some of the limitations inherent in trying to understand exactly Read more





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Women and Giving

Because philanthropy can help organizations take calculated risks, not all philanthropy achieves its goals. However, when successful, philanthropic and personal investments can pay dividends in the form of meaningful connection and even joy. Why does women’s philanthropy matter? Here are three reasons: Women control more of the financial pie than ever before The percentage of women wielding wealth is only going to rise Research supports the idea that gender differences in giving between women and men are real  





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Funding Locally

Imagine sustainable change at the grassroots. Imagine giving to address specific issues in specific places while building local communities and infrastructure. Now don’t limit yourself to your hometown or a place where you have roots or relationships. Instead, imagine you can do it anywhere in the world.





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Next Gen Philanthropy: Finding the Path Between Tradition and Innovation

Enjoyment and meaning in giving begin with individual motivations and values. People with wealth share the challenge all human beings face—how to find your own individual way, your own path toward meaning, while also maintaining a connection to family, community and history. You must stand on your own even as you stand in the great and ever-evolving succession of ancestors and descendants. Philanthropy starts with an inward journey—an exploratory mission into the heart and mind.





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Impact Investing: An Introduction

For many years philanthropy and investing have been thought of as separate disciplines—one championing social change, the other financial gain. The idea that the two approaches could be integrated in the same deals—in essence, delivering a financial return while doing good—struck most philanthropists and most investors as far-fetched.   Not anymore.





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Supporting Social Entrepreneurship

For philanthropists accustomed to more traditional grantees, yet interested in backing these groundbreaking leaders, funding social entrepreneurs can feel like entering uncharted territory. Donors might find themselves intrigued by the potential for change, and yet, at the same time, unsure of what to expect in a field where the unexpected is the norm.   That’s why we wrote this brief guide. Think of it as an introduction to social entrepreneurship. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap series, the guide is designed to help philanthropists evaluate whether they want to include support for social entrepreneurs in their giving or investment programs, and Read more





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Your Philanthropy Roadmap

This is the first in a series of guides to engage and educate donors – notably new and emerging donors – in planning, implementing and sustaining effective philanthropy programs. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap resources to support effective giving by donors worldwide, this guide sets up the framework for the topics in the series, as well as introduces the approach RPA has been using successfully for some time to guide donors along their philanthropic journey.





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What Is My Giving Style?

If you were to ask a donor, “What type of donor are you,” he or she might pause and respond with another question: “What kinds of donors are there?” A number of observers of philanthropy have written about different types of philanthropists. While categorizing donors into types may be useful, most philanthropists’ gifts will fall along a spectrum of giving styles. Donors may find themselves pulled to supporting direct services and write a check to an organization whose sole purpose is to feed the hungry. Later, they may be moved to make a gift that addresses the root causes of Read more





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Unlocking the Power of the Proxy: How Active Foundation Proxy Voting Can Protect Endowments and Boost Philanthropic Mission

This report features a step-by-step process to assist foundations in developing proxy voting guidelines in a simple and cost effective manner. Key recommendations include: find a champion to coordinate the process and develop a proposal for the board of directors explaining the benefits associated with aligning philanthropic mission and funding areas with investment strategy. Once guidelines are developed, options for implementing a policy including hiring a proxy voting service, asking a broker or money manager to vote in line with the policy, or develop the capacity to vote in-house. The report contains a comprehensive Resource Section listing sample voting policies Read more







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Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing. A Policy and Implementation Guide for Foundation Trustees

The goal of this guide is to provide foundation trustees and, where or when appropriate, staff with a process to create both an overall policy for mission-related investing as well as specific paths for implementation.







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Diversity in Action: Strategies with Impact

This monograph features foundation CEO and trustee reflections on the impact of a broad array of diversity and inclusiveness efforts. They address many of the issues foundation leaders face every day including how to ensure that your grant resources have the most impact possible. The authors have identified diversity and inclusion as important tools in advancing their organizational missions and program goals. Their strategies range from institutional issues such as board development and staffing to community outreach and redefining grantmaking success.





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Diversity and Inclusion: Lessons from the Field

Features the stories, successes and experiences of CEOs and trustees of some of our nation’s leading foundations and corporate grantmaking programs, both large and small. Each has shared their unique perspectives—their struggles and strategies to overcome challenges. They have provided insight into how and to what effect diversity and inclusive practices have been embedded within their organizations. With leaders reaching out to leaders, we hope you will be inspired by their successes, and see yourself in this important work.