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This publication on responsible research assessment aims to explore diverse approaches taken by foundations to enhance the fairness, transparency and effectiveness of evaluating research proposals for funding. The publication delves into three distinct methodologies that challenge traditional assessment methods and offer innovative alternatives: 1. Using artificial intelligence (AI); 2. Adopting narrative curriculum vitae (CVs); and 3. Implementing randomised selection. It provides an overview of general principles of responsible research assessment, key framing documents and recommendations for implementing these principles; and offers examples of the real-world application of these methods by various foundations and organisations.While these approaches demonstrate the innovative potential within research assessment, they are by no means an exhaustive representation of all available tools and methods. Nevertheless, they serve as compelling illustrations of the ongoing efforts to revolutionise evaluation practices and foster a more inclusive and equitable research ecosystem.
Many funders are starting to recognise the value of Organisational Development (OD) support and are looking to peer organisations on how to create OD programmes. In doing this, many grantmaking foundations want to reflect on the experience of other organisations on how they began OD programmes, before starting their own. Simultaneously, funders that already provide OD support are looking at how they can enhance their programmes by wanting to learn from the experiences of others. The Organisational Development (OD) Community of Practice organised its second-ever satellite event before the start of the Philea Forum 2023 in Šibenik, Croatia. This document serves as a knowledge product generated during the session, presenting the top eight learnings shared by participants at the satellite event. Its primary objective is to assist funders in gaining an understanding of key steps involved in developing OD support programmes.
This report is the result of a partnership between Philea and Luisa Bonin, a visiting fellow from Brazil at the Maecenata Foundation in Berlin. Luisa`s project on strategic philanthropy was selected for the 2021/2022 cohort of the "German Chancellor Fellowship for Prospective Leaders," a programme of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The goal of this report is to take a deep and qualitative look into the listening practices of European foundations. Talking about listening can sound subjective, but this report shows how this process can be viewed objectively and how these learnings can be used to start improving listening practices within foundations. An executive summary, as well as further reading and resources, are included.
This study represents another milestone on the journey of supporting philanthropic practice in becoming more inclusive and closer to those it serves. It is based on: a survey of and interviews with 40 European philanthropic organisations; focus group interviews with children and young people involved with these organisations; and 11 case studies of participating organisations. The study provides recommendations and clear examples of initiatives by foundations along this journey, which can be used to spark discussion on the various modes and phases of participatory philanthropy, whatever the target group or thematic area.
This paper sheds a light on developments and changing practices in institutional philanthropy in Europe since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and offers insights for making responsible philanthropy the new normal. Leveraging data from a document review as well as various surveys and interviews conducted with the membership of the former European Foundation Centre (now Philea, a convergence of Dafne - Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe - and the EFC), the present analysis delves into what foundations have learned from this period. Organisations may survive in their current state, but they will lose legitimacy and perceived value if they do not adapt. The paper first looks at the challenges perceived by philanthropy professionals and how they respond to these threats, including criticism of philanthropy, and then takes stock of actions that have helped foundations to bounce back from massive disruption. Finally, the paper offers a set of recommendations to reveal opportunities for change and prepare for what's next.
The Philanthropy Transformation Initiative Report is a comprehensive framework outlining 10 core principles for driving transformative change in the philanthropy sector. It brings together existing wisdom, practices and examples to inspire action and fuel healthy debate.The report provides foundations and philanthropic support organisations (PSOs) with an actionable roadmap to enhance their impact and contribute to broader systems change. By endorsing and adopting these principles, organisations can create positive long-term impact and advocate for landmark shifts in the philanthropic sector. Published by WINGS, with the support of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) at Cambridge University, in June 2023 as part of the project 'Unlocking Philanthropy's Potential: Enhancing the Enabling Environment, Effectiveness and Leveraging the Contributions of Philanthropy Actors'.
Since its launch in 2016, the Shifting Systems Initiative has played a vital role in catalyzing change within the philanthropy sector. It has conducted extensive research and facilitated numerous convenings, engaging funders and partners across the globe, including the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.In June 2020, the initiative entered its latest phase, which involved commissioning a comprehensive evaluation to assess the evolution of system change as a field, the initiative's role in driving that evolution, and to inform its future direction.The evaluation report pursued five central strands of inquiry, examining the impact and effectiveness of the Shifting Systems Initiative and the sector more broadly. The primary objectives were to assess the extent to which the philanthropy sector has embraced the concept of systems change; explore the influence of the initiative on discourse and practices within philanthropy; analyze critical successes and challenges encountered by the initiative; understand effective strategies to influence philanthropic behavior; and identify opportunities for operational and governance improvements.The evaluation report features significant findings and key insights, shedding light on the impact of the Shifting Systems Initiative and others in the field. It provides valuable guidance for shaping the next phase of the initiative and serves as a vital resource for actors engaged in systems change within philanthropy.
This report summarizes insights relating to power dynamics from leaders and experts on driving systems change.Over the course of three months in early 2022, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' Shifting Systems Initiative hosted a series of eight workshops focused on power and equity in philanthropy. During these workshops, an invited group of funders and other partners discussed the role of power dynamics in effectuating the systems change needed to address increasingly complex global challenges.The honest and rich conversations during those workshops surfaced several important themes and insights on how to balance power in a way that drives rather than inhibits change. This report distills some of the practical actions that funders can take in order to reduce that power imbalance, including:Shifting internal vision and practices to embrace a vision of society based on global solidarity and distributed leadership.Fostering a culture of learning, growing, and experimenting through exploring new tools and resources, sourcing fresh and emergent perspectives, and funding grantees without restrictions.Embracing equitable evaluation and impact assessment practices by recruiting evaluation teams and consultants who are culturally competent and possess lived experience, and by working with grantees to create relevant metrics of success that define impact on their terms.The report also contains conceptual frameworks and actionable resources that can enable funders to create equitable processes and practices, and to embed equity as a core principle and building block of systems change. We hope this publication will be a meaningful contribution towards moving the practice of philanthropy away from its inequitable origins and practices, and towards more equitable practices that will ultimately enable it to shift power and systems.
How to Think Legitimacy: Considerations in the Growing Field of European Philanthropy : Paper prepared for the International Philanthropy Research Conference 22 and 23 September, Turin, ITSeptember 22, 2022
This paper, by Elizabeth McKeon, takes stock of three areas where philanthropy's "license to operate" is questioned: 1) its authority as a non-state actor to influence norms and outcomes in society; 2) matters related to its financial capital; and3) the composition of its governance and staffing. It is suggested that academic research might probe themes of competitive performance, useful scope and unique contribution to help shape a clearer understanding of philanthropy's value in Europe, in relation to government and the private sector.The paper concludes with a caution that research studies will be especially meaningful when developed with careful consideration of the complex taxonomy of philanthropic institutions, whose variations in size, style and mandate defy easy comparisons or one-size-fits-all prescriptions.
Listening to Beneficiaries and Ultimate Clients : Paper prepared for the International Philanthropy Research Conference 22 and 23 September, Turin, ITSeptember 22, 2022
This conference paper, by Volker Then, intends to shed light on the perceptions of foundation partners based on the results of empirical research which has been conducted over many years in the context of the "Learning from Partners" project in Germany. The project has been conducted in a longitudinal perspective from 2011 to 2021 in a total of four waves surveying all the partners of cohorts of major German foundations.
Philea, in collaboration with the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) hosted a webinar on using data collection and research evidence for influencing social policy, strategic decision-making, and implementation of programmes on 13 September 2022. Based on a critical overview of the field, which was provided by Tobias Jung (Director and Founder at the Centre for the Study of Philanthropy and Public Good) and reflections on good practices and lessons learned, which were kindly shared by Cristina Chiotan (Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning at European Climate Foundation) and Rein Terwindt (Senior Evidence Specialist at LEGO Foundation), this follow-up piece summarises some of the key issues raised during the online event and provides a basis for foundations to further reflect on the roles that they can play in public policymaking and how to approach these.
Over the course of the pandemic, more than 60 percent of foundations loosened restrictions and lightened reporting for grants. Now is the time to normalize these good practices across the sector, because flexible, multiyear grants, anchored in trust, are not only the right way to build grantee partnerships but also the smart way for grantmakers to create more impact, advance equity, and strengthen grantee organizations for the long run, as strong evaluations show.In October–November 2021 MilwayPLUS interviewed, surveyed, and conducted focus groups with 30 global funders and nonprofits that had significantly increased their percentage of multiyear, flexible funding over the past decade. The analysis surfaced five common barriers to making the shift and practical ways that boards, CEOs, and program officers have broken through, which nonprofits felt helped to share power. Moreover, the researchers also discovered five effective accelerators of change that both funders and grantees rated more significant than the barriers and could speed the transition. Among the accelerators was the adoption of an equity lens on grantmaking.To help funders and nonprofits harness this positive momentum for change, this toolkit offers tactics, resources, examples, and starting points. It seek to equip trustees, CEOs, program officers, and grantees themselves to overcome board biases and other barriers, to accelerate the shift to multiyear, flexible funding, and to embrace practices that create the greatest impact and strongest partnerships with their grantees.
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