The Energy Foundation, a philanthropic foundation established through a partnership among major donors with a mission to promote clean energy technology, is the largest funder in the U.S. focusing on the energy sector. The $60 million foundation operates through a range of networks, among funders and grantees, to achieve broad impact. Funder networks and foundations that work through a network approach are relatively uncommon in the philanthropic sector. Eric Heitz, EF's president, seeks to build the broader field of energy philanthropy, scale EF to meet the sector's needs, and utilize the strengths of its grantees and their networks. He must determine how the foundation can achieve greater impact by leveraging not only its own resources, but also those of others in the field.
Learning objective: To illustrate how a philanthropic funder network can operate and examine the strategic challenges it faces as it seeks to achieve large-scale impact.