The Philea Virtual Library

The Philea Virtual Library includes over 1,000 free-to-download publications from a range of organisations and publishers on the topics of philanthropy, the management of foundations and the areas they are involved in and support. As a Philea member you can send us your publications for inclusion in the library which will also be added to the global IssueLab network where they will be made available to an extended audience, including users of Worldcat, the global catalogue used by tens of thousands of libraries. For questions or assistance, please contact the Philea Virtual Library.
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Evaluation of the Shifting Systems Initiative

June 22, 2023

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.

Ethical issues and Good Practices; Evaluation and Learning; Grantmaking and Programme Management

Our Journey in Philanthropy: Lessons from three decades of funding at MAVA

November 30, 2022

After 28 years as a grant-making foundation, and as we enter our final weeks, we wanted to share our day-to-day experience at MAVA. We started doing this just over a year ago through our various learning products. But beyond the technical and partnership aspects, what are the main lessons we have learnt from our work as a donor?The 23-page publication 'Our Journey in Philanthropy: Lessons from three decades of funding at MAVA' illustrates – in the form of infographics – a summary of the history of the MAVA Foundation and the three successive phases of its structuring. It then presents the eight main lessons that we have learnt from our work as a donor and that we wish to share with the philanthropy sector. These lessons address the topics of collaboration, partners' expertise, donors' levers for action, and the role of foundations in the global system. In addition to describing each of these lessons, we provide elements of practice and an overall recommendation.

Collaborative Philanthropy and Partnerships; Evaluation and Learning

Learning to Let Go : Decision-making for foundations

February 1, 2022

Building on over 25 years of grant and decision-making at MAVA, this publication sheds lights on three distinct decision-making models implemented by the foundation over the last decades. It looks at the roles of board members and staff as well as the centre of gravity for decision-making. Based on the experience of the foundation, the authors provide pros and cons for each of the models. While there is no single answer to the best decision-making model question, the authors explain that collaborative processes, adaptive management, speed and trust are important factors for increasing impact and that the decision-making process needs to be build for that purpose. This report is part of a series of learning products developed by MAVA (due to close down in 2022) to reflect on and share the foundation's learnings about institution processes and ways of working, with the aim of inspiring donor strategies and best practices. Other learning products are available in this virtual library and here: https://mava-foundation.org/learning/ 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Be an Octopus : Reflections from an Engaged Donor

November 1, 2021

After more than 25 years of activity, and one year before the closing of MAVA, a small group of staff members reflected on what it really means to be "an engaged donor". In this report, they explore ways of engagement for donors, reflect on those they have experimented, putting an emphasis on improving project design and implementation, supporting partner organisations and high potential individuals, and increasing the system connectivity.Also included are key lessons learnt presented around the issues of optimal timing, depth of engagement, human relationships, appropriate staffing, decision-making model and communicating vs labelling a donor-partner affiliation. The authors try to address concrete questions faced in their engaged donor day-to-day life. This report is part of a series of learning products developed by MAVA (due to close down in 2022) to reflect on and share the foundation's learnings about institution processes and ways of working, with the aim of inspiring donor strategies and best practices. Other learning products are available in this virtual library and here: https://mava-foundation.org/learning/ 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Grantmaking and Programme Management

Assets, Capacity, Trust: Role of Community Foundations in Development of Local Philanthropy

February 1, 2021

The concept of community philanthropy continues to take shape across countries. Researchers and civil society development institutions in many countries are concerned with the same questions: what role community philanthropy plays in local development, what ideas and resources are invested in it, and how it can be measured and evaluated.We asked ourselves the same questions within the Program for Support of Community Philanthropy implemented by CAF Russia. Together with community foundations involved in the program we started to look for solutions. New research presented in this report demonstrates the use of ACT (Assets-Capacity-Trust) framework to find answers to these questions. This report highlights what we found important, what were the results and the impact of the work.

Community Philanthropy; Socio-economic Development, Poverty

Sustaining Civil Society: Lessons from Five Pooled Funds in Eastern Europe

October 21, 2019

After 1990, US and European foundations and government agencies invested in a series of Partnerships and Trusts to support civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans and the Black Sea regions. Analyzing the long-term impact of these investments is crucial, especially as many politicians across these regions increase their anti-civil society rhetoric. Three long-time US foundation staff look back at the legacy and impact of this funding and derive a series of lessons for practitioners seeking to understand how best to sustain civil societies for the long term.

Human Rights, Citizenship, Democracy

The Mission Aligned Framework for Investing: Maximizing the Impact of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Mission Driven Investment Portfolio

July 2, 2019

The Mission Aligned Framework for Investing, introduced in this report, is a management and governance tool created by KKS Advisors on behalf of the Kellogg Foundation. It offers a set of determinants related to our programmatic strategy and desired outcomes. As we evaluate our investments, this analysis is contributing to our thinking and ongoing measurement of sustained impact. We offer this report as a resource for the field and a tool for other organizations exploring mechanisms to evaluate the social effect of investments in pursuit of deep impact.

Finance and Investment

Constiuent Voices: Lean Data Learnings

March 1, 2018

This report sets out results from a consultation to explore ways to stimulate and develop community philanthropy as a means of contributing to the sustainability of civil society and supporting the effectiveness of development aid.The consultation was undertaken by the Aga Khan Foundation USA and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in association with the Global Fund for Community Foundations. The Ford Foundation also contributed resources to the process.Three meetings were held (in Washington D.C., Johannesburg, and Dhaka). Three working papers were written during the process, and two articles published in Alliance magazine so that a wider constituency could offer feedback. People who took part in meetings are listed in Annex A.

Community Philanthropy

The Value of our Evaluations: Assessing Spending and Quality

February 8, 2018

In 2013, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation adopted a clear framework for how it evaluates strategies. The foundation formalized a set of Evaluation Principles and Practices; hired its first dedicated Evaluation Officer to support programs to commission, manage, interpret, and use evaluation findings; and made several recommendations to our Board (which were adopted) regarding evaluation spending and quality. Of course, foundation staff learn in many ways, but this set of activities represented a significant step towards a more disciplined approach for foundation staff to learn from independent third parties about the effectiveness of our grantmaking strategies. This report takes stock of progress of these recommendations to ensure the foundation is not just increasing spending and funding more evaluations, but increasing the utility and value of evaluations for more effective grantmaking. The assessment uses financial data, ratings of evaluation documents, and interviews with program staff, for a set of 46 evaluations contracted directly by program staff between 2009 and 2016.

Evaluation and Learning

Systems Change Evaluation Forum: Synthesis of issues, discussions and resources

October 1, 2017

In May 2017, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation convened staff and external evaluators for a Systems Change Evaluation Forum. In addition to establishing a common understanding of systems change evaluation, the participants grappled with four practical dilemmas that systems change efforts create for evaluation:1. How do we better understand our unique contribution to change when there are so many other actors influencing the system? .2. How can we select and capture meaningful interim outcomes to understand systems change progress when we are operating in short time horizons and using strategies that have indirect impact?3. How do we set realistic boundaries around the aspects of the system that our strategy and our evaluation should focus on?4. How can we embed continuous, intentional learning into our strategy and evaluation work?

Evaluation and Learning

Letting the Movement Decide: FRIDA Grantmaking Report

November 19, 2015

FRIDA and TLP launched a Grantmaking Model Evaluation of FRIDA's work in February 2015. The aim of the evaluation is to assess, after three grant making cycles, FRIDA's impact and effectiveness in supporting young feminist groups. This resulting report serves to document FRIDA's practices, test FRIDA's assumptions on the model's impact, and offer recommendations for improvement. Many key learnings have already been used to adapt the model. This report utilizes existing materials on FRIDA's grantmaking model, including outreach and internal documentation, and a number of interviews with FRIDA staff, advisors, founders, grantees, and applicants.

Evaluation and Learning; Gender and Women; Grantmaking and Programme Management

Public Interest Litigation and Social Change in South Africa: Strategies, Tactics and Lessons

October 1, 2014

In 2007, The Atlantic Philanthropies approached two legal practitioners, Gilbert Marcus SC and Steven Budlender, to conduct an evaluation of public interest litigation in South Africa, following The Atlantic Philanthropies' substantial investment in the field. The resulting report -- A strategic evaluation of public interest litigation in South Africa -- was published in 2008. This 2008 report has now evolved into a book entitled Public interest litigation and social change in South Africa: Strategies, tactics and lessons, with a further co-author, Nick Ferreira. The book is a revised and substantially expanded version of the initial study, providing new insights and covering post-2008 developments in the field of public interest litigation in South Africa. The book will be relevant to anyone interested in how to best use rights, law and litigation to advance social change.

Human Rights, Citizenship, Democracy

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