Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors President and CEO Melissa Berman recently led a seminar on Frameworks for 21st Century Foundations at Duke University’s Sanford Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society.
As part of Duke’s Foundation Impact Research Group (FIRG) seminar series, the discussion contributed to an ongoing series dissecting modern philanthropy with high level speakers including Judith Rodin, former President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Larry Kramer, President of the Hewlett Foundation; and Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation.
There were approximately 30 guests in attendance, ranging from donors, foundation leaders and staff, academics, students, and lawyers. After presenting, Ms. Berman answered several questions from the audience on RPA’s thought leadership initiatives and current philanthropic projects.
The discussion revolved around key concepts from RPA’s Theory of the Foundation initiative, which seeks to explore foundations as institutions beyond their programmatic and grantmaking activities so they are able to align their internal framework to best operate for impact.
Key elements of the discussion included:
- A brief history of RPA’s legacy and contributions to the philanthropic sector
- Why the Theory of the Foundation initiative was established to study foundations’ operations, a topic that may have not been of interest in the past
- An overview of the three major components of a foundation: charter, social compact, and capabilities