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New Publication on Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems: Seeing, Facilitating, and Assessing Systems Change

July 14, 2020

In a time of a global pandemic and a movement to end systematic racism, philanthropy aims to connect inefficiencies and use modern-day technological systems to help magnify and accentuate classic structures of charitable giving. The pandemic has shown starkly and unquestionably that both the problems we endure and the solutions we construct ultimately rely on complex and interlinked systems. The question becomes “How can we understand how the underlying issues are interconnected, and assess the best path towards an impactful systems change?”

This publication is the third of the Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems initiative, a collaboration between Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), Skoll Foundation, the Ford Foundation and other funders that commenced in 2016 with the goal of identifying and promoting best practices for scaling solutions and impact, and funding for systems change related the world’s pressing challenges. This new report, building on insights explored in the first and second publications, explains how funders can design for and measure progress on systems change. Based on workshops in Kenya, Colombia, India and the United States, case studies, and evolving practices in the field of philanthropy, this publication also provides recommendations for:

  • How mapping systems can help funders better develop robust theories of change.
  • When, how and with whom to share lessons.
  • The implications of funders exiting systems they have been supporting.
  • Recognizing and working with government and the private sector as partners in systems change efforts.
  • How to better empower grantees through streamlining, collaboration and increased responsiveness.

To read the full report and learn more about the Scaling Solutions Initiative, please visit

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