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

Shifting Power to Shift Systems: Insights and Tools for Funders

December 8, 2022

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.

Ethical issues and Good Practices; Grantmaking and Programme Management

Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy 2022

July 20, 2022

This study expands on previous research conducted by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in 2019 and 2020 to understand the factors that affect a philanthropy's consideration in choosing the length of time for which it will remain active. With the advent of COVID-19, socio-economic uncertainty, and rising geopolitical tensions, the responses from 150 philanthropies from 30 countries to a global survey help illuminate how and why philanthropic organizations make important decisions, including those about philanthropic timeframes.This global research includes an exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons and examines strategies and operations, as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages of different philanthropic timeframes. The report also includes views on reasons for giving, causes, geographic flows of funding, decision-making and next-generation involvement.A recording of the launch webinar that highlighted key findings from the report is available to watch here: https://www.rockpa.org/global-trends-and-strategic-time-horizons-in-philanthropy-2022/

Corporate Philanthropy; Family Philanthropy; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy; International Affairs, Global Challenges

Operating Archetypes: Philanthropy’s New Analytical Tool for Strategic Clarity

April 27, 2022

This publication is part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' multiyear Theory of the Foundation initiative, which seeks to enhance the capacity of philanthropies to effectively align their resources for the impact they envision. Operating Archetypes is a new tool for action and alignment for funders seeking to optimize their operations and impact. We hope that both established and emerging funders, as well as the broader community of grantees and partners, will find this new analytical framework enriching and beneficial in their pursuit of thoughtful and effective philanthropy. 

Administration and Management; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Strategic Time Horizons : A Global Snapshot of Foundation Approaches

January 1, 2020

Strategic time horizons are increasingly becoming the subject of thoughtful discussions within philanthropic organizations, causing a shift away from in-perpetuity models as the default approach. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and NORC at the University of Chicago set out to conduct a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons in institutional giving.This report includes a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons and examines strategies and operations, as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages of different philanthropic timeframes.

Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Philanthropy and the SDGs: Practical Tools For Alignment

April 25, 2019

This guide provides practical steps for philanthropic funders that are ready to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the global agenda for people and planet adopted by all countries at the United Nations in 2015. In this guide, you'll learn how to plan, assess, report, and take action on the SDGs, and you'll read illuminating examples of other funders facing and resolving challenges similar to yours.

Environment and Sustainable Development; Grantmaking and Programme Management; International Affairs, Global Challenges

Philanthropy and the SDGs: Getting Started

April 25, 2019

In 2015, the countries of the world came together at the United Nations and signed on to a historic agreement called "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," which included a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs chart a way forward to a just, secure, and sustainable future for people and the planet. This guide introduces the SDGs and explores how philanthropic funders can align with them to increase their impact on the issues they care about.

Environment and Sustainable Development; Grantmaking and Programme Management; International Affairs, Global Challenges

Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems

October 1, 2017

This report marks the findings and recommendations RPA have so far in the process of encouraging funders to work in more collaborative ways to place longer-term, adaptive, and responsive resources with grantees and investees to accelerate scalable solutions that target systemic changes addressing pressing global problems. The input of dozens of funders, in addition to the perspectives of the organizations who receive grants and impact investments, was crucial in formulating the recommendations contained here.

Collaborative Philanthropy and Partnerships

Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact

June 27, 2017

Philanthropy is evolving more quickly than ever with new societal challenges, new players, and new strategies. Funders are seeking to increase their effectiveness, and want clear, practical guidance for getting there. This GrantCraft leadership series paper produced in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), explores the core frameworks that shape private foundations, and offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on these frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action.

Administration and Management; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

The Theory of the Foundation European Initiative

January 23, 2017

The purpose of the Theory of the Foundation European Initiative was to contribute key insights into European foundations; and to look beyond the direct charitable activities or grant-making of European foundations and instead to explore and understand how foundations operate as organisations in their pursuit of mission and social impact. This we term a "whole foundation approach".Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) established a framework to stimulate discussion around the organisational form of philanthropy called "The Theory of the Foundation."1 Inspired by Peter Drucker's "Theory of the Business,"2 RPA's approach to framing philanthropic practice is detailed in Figure 1 and contains three core domains: Charter, Social Compact, and Operating Capabilities.

Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Impact Investing: an introduction

April 8, 2016

This guide is part of the Philanthropy Roadmap series and is expressly written for donors who may wish to complement traditional grantmaking approaches as they invest their assets to promote change. Think of it as an introduction to the world of impact investing

Finance and Investment

Supporting Social Entrepreneurship

April 8, 2016

This guide is designed to help philanthropists evaluate whether they want to include support for social entrepreneurs in their giving or investment programs, and how to begin doing so. For philanthropists accustomed to more traditional grantees, yet interested in backing these groundbreaking leaders, funding social entrepreneurs can feel like entering uncharted territory. Donors might find themselves intrigued by the potential for change, and yet, at the same time, unsure of what to expect in a field where the unexpected is the norm.

Employment and Labour; Grantmaking and Programme Management; Socio-economic Development, Poverty

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