Shifting Systems Initiative
Realizing that the world’s pressing challenges are becoming more complex, many philanthropic funders are reflecting on how to create more transformational impact. To help answer that question, the Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems initiative was launched in 2016 with representation from the Skoll, Ford, and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations, Porticus, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Though the name of the initiative changed in 2021 to the Shifting Systems Initiative, our goal remains the same: to examine when, how, and why certain solutions achieve system-level shifts and to share the lessons and recommendations from those successes.
How far along are you are as a systems change funder?
Take this survey to see the degree to which your organization is systems-oriented in giving and program planning.
2021 Skoll World Forum Session on The Future of Philanthropy: Transformational Impact
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors hosted a session during the 2021 Skoll World Forum event on The Future of Philanthropy: Transformational Impact. The session uses an equity and racial justice lens to examine how to support more systemic impact and draw lessons from funders and organizations that they support. Click here or below to watch the recording.
2020 Findings: Facilitation and Assessment
Seeing, Facilitating, and Assessing Systems Change is a publication that focuses on 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 to better empower grantees through streamlining, collaboration, and increased responsiveness.
- 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 mapping systems can help funders better develop robust theories of change.
Access the publication here.
Click here or below to view a webinar exploring the learnings included in this publication, featuring the Edelgive Foundation (India), the Ford Foundation, Fundación Arturo y Enrica Sesana (Colombia), Skoll Foundation, and Instituto Humanize (Brazil).
2018 Findings: Improving Practices and Embracing Collaboration
- How and why funders successfully moved from endorsing approaches identified in the first report to actually improving their policies and practices around those approaches; and
- Key lessons from existing funder collaborative models aimed at systems change.
2017 Findings: S.C.A.L.E.
The initiative’s first report, Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems, highlighted organizations that had scaled solutions and how funders had helped or hindered the process. In it, we detail our findings that funders can help grantees scale toward shifting systems by:
- Streamlining processes for application and reporting;
- Collaborating more effectively;
- Accelerating impact through non-monetary support;
- Learning more about systems change; and
- Empowering grantees by intentionally shifting the power dynamics between the givers and receivers of funds.