The Philanthropy Framework

A Framework for Optimizing Institutional Effectiveness and Impact

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Informed by leaders from 50+ global foundations, The Philanthropy Framework is a dynamic tool created by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to help new and existing philanthropies of all types respond to seismic shifts in philanthropy and the world.

Over the past two decades, evolving generational perspectives, unprecedented wealth creation, innovative impact models, and changing operational landscapes have transformed the philanthropic landscape. The Framework acts as a practical, future-focused guide to empower philanthropists to create more profound social impact by focusing on organizational design, resource management, and goal achievement.

From aligning trustees, board, and staff around core concepts and values, to assessing ideal philanthropic structures, to considering how best to deploy resources, the Framework gives philanthropies new tools for analyzing how to make decisions to evolve with changing times. It lays out three core elements for philanthropists–be they individuals or families, independent, corporate, or other types–to consider when determining how to maximize their impact:

  • Charter, the organization’s scope, form of governance, and decision-making protocol;
  • Social Compact, its implicit or explicit agreement with society about the value it will create; and
  • Operating Model, the approach to the resources, structures, and systems needed to implement strategy.

Examples of these elements in action are illustrated through the work of contributors such as the Wellcome Trust, Ford Foundation, The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, The California Endowment, Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Episcopal Health Foundation, and others highlighted in case studies in both the English-language and Chinese-language versions.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has also created a freely accessible online self-assessment tool for philanthropies to gain a better understanding of their own Philanthropy Framework.

Supporting Philanthropies

We are grateful to the following organizations for their support in developing The Philanthropy Framework:

  • The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Arcadia Fund
  • Arcus Foundation
  • Barr Foundation
  • Bikubenfonden
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Robert Bosch Foundation
  • The California Endowment
  • The California Wellness Foundation
  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
  • Conrad. N. Hilton Foundation
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Episcopal Health Foundation
  • Esmee Fairbairn
  • The F.B. Heron Foundation
  • Fondation Daniel & Nina Carasso
  • Fondazione Cariplo
  • Fondazione CRT
  • Ford Foundation
  • Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Hewlett Foundation
  • Houston Endowment
  • John Templeton Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland
  • Lumina Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Margaret A. Cargill Foundation
  • Mercator Foundation
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Newman’s Own Foundation
  • NoVo Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Porticus
  • Rasmuson Foundation
  • Realdania
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • Schusterman Foundation
  • Simons Foundation
  • Surdna Foundation
  • TIAA-CREF Institute
  • The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
  • Wallace Foundation
  • Wellcome Trust
  • William Grant Foundation