It’s precious rare, in grantmaking circles, to hear anyone admit to carrying on philanthropy that isn’t strategic — much less to boast of it. Here at the Center, where Strategic Philanthropy is part of our name, we obviously try to encourage that aspiration as much as possible, even as we realize that (a) many foundations aren’t nearly as strategic as they want to be, and (b) strategy, by itself, isn’t the answer to everything. At a recent meeting of the Center’s Foundation Impact Research Group, Robert Gallucci, president of the John D. and Catherine T.
The Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society is pleased to announce the publication of Changing the Game: Civic Leadership at The Boston Foundation, 2001-2012, by Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of The Boston Foundation.
On June 6-7, 2012, the Center hosted a meeting in Washington D.C. for representatives of foundations that are in the process of spending down their assets.
Even under normal circumstances, it can be tricky for foundations to change a grantmaking strategy once it’s launched (hence all the learned writing on “mid-course correction” and “exit strategies,” which has provided a generation of consulting fees for people like me). Yet strategic changes become even harder when a foundation’s life expectancy comes down to single digits. At that point, the time for making adjustments is short, and the risk of a rushed or haphazard course-correction rises steeply.
For the past three years, I have been chronicling the ongoing process of spend-down at AVI CHAI, a foundation located in Jerusalem and New York with programs in Israel, North America, and the former Soviet Union. The third annual report, titled "Shifting the Spend-Down into High Gear: A Foundation Begins Implementing Its Strategy," is now available.
Center Faculty Chair Joel Feishman, with his coauthor Tom Tierney of the Bridgespan Group, has an article in today's Fortune magazine online, titled "The New American Philanthropists: Will Their Billions Get Results?"