Event Writeups

The Shifting Systems Initiative has convened numerous workshops and events to investigate and propagate successful systems change. To preserve and disseminate the learnings and commitments, reports from those workshops and events were created and can be accessed below.

Shifting Systems: What it Takes To Be a Systems Change Funder

During the September 2023 United Nations General Assembly opening week, representatives of many diverse organizations traveled to New York City to attend Climate Week and other related events. As part of a workshop series hosted by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors-led Shifting Systems Initiative, about 95 participants convened at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice to explore the theme, “So You Think You’re a Systems Change Funder.” Read a summary of the event and key findings here.

Courage to Transform: Funding Systems Change for Lasting Impact

At the Skoll World Forum 2023, the Shifting Systems Initiative hosted an even that focused on numerous challenges facing philanthropy. The program included a panel discussion as well as facilitated table discussions. For key takeaways from the panel and insights from the table discussions, read the report here.

Country Deep-Dive Workshops 

In 2019-2020, RPA conducted deep dives in three countries using a workshop process that includes preparatory research and interviews, as well as a follow-up plan based on commitments made in the workshops. Reports from those workshops include:. 

  • Narrowing the Rural Equity Gap in Colombia (with a focus on SDGs 8 and 16): RPA and Asociación de Fundaciones Familiares y Empresariales (AFE) (Colombia) convened in Bogotá in early 2020 with a goal of determining how philanthropic funders can better support Colombia in narrowing the rural equity gap. 
  • Exploring Gender Equality Efforts in India: In collaboration with Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, RPA held a convening in New Delhi to focus on SDG 5, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.  
  • Exploring Good Health for All in Kenya: The theme of this Kenya-based workshop focused on health and the determinants of health. For Kenya and most countries, achieving this goal requires greatly scaled-up solutions where at least some philanthropic funders adopt a systems approach.  

Assessing Systems Change 

In August 2019, RPA co-hosted a workshop to explore how to monitor and evaluate systems change. The workshop was designed around three key themes: seeing systems change, facilitating systems change, and assessing systems change. Read the full report here.

Building an Impact Economy 

The Summit at Race Brook in July 2018 brought together leaders from three continents across the themes of systems thinking, philanthropy, impact investing, and ‘new economy’ models. Attendees shared an interest in creating economic, financial and investment systems that serve people and planet. There findings have been distilled in the report Philanthropy Transforming Finance: Building an Impact Economy. Read the full report here. 

In addition, as a result of this convening, Building an Impact Economy: A Call to Action, was released in February 2019. It calls for philanthropic organizations to use their capital in a way that more directly supports the development of an impact economy and to align their investments and actions overall with the underlying values inherent in an impact economy. Read the full report here. 

Workshop in Bogotá, Colombia 

In March 2018, RPA co-hosted a workshop on Scaling Solutions in Bogotá. Conversations amongst the sixty participants representing corporate, family, and operating foundations in Colombia also centered on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Theory of the Foundation initiative, and strategic time horizons in philanthropy. Read an article summarizing the workshop here.