Blogs tagged with Collaboration

  • Rebecca Hobble, Analyst, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP)
    Posted: July 24, 2017

    This blog post was originally published on the website for UPenn's Center for High Impact Philanthropy and is being reposted with permission by the author.

    “Which snowflake breaks the branch?”

    “It’s neither the first nor the last,” said Leslie Crutchfield, author and Executive Director of the Georgetown University Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI). “Rather, it’s the collective weight of all the snowflakes that breaks the branch.” During the closing plenary, Crutchfield used this analogy to urge philanthropists to fund movements, not just programs. According to her research, movements only last when they have bottom-up support from a variety of different groups. For example, the successful movement to reduce smoking in the U.S. did not have one leader in particular. Rather, a groundswell of philanthropic leaders, citizen activists, lawyers, and others came together to push the movement forward—thus “breaking the branch” together. Philanthropies such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation played a crucial role in this movement, yet they alone cannot claim credit for its success. “There’s often ego involved in philanthropic funding,” Crutchfield remarked, “but funding movements doesn’t give you credit because you can’t attribute success to yourself.” For funders who are willing to forgo such credit, funding the “backbone” of movements can facilitate the involvement of the multiple stakeholders needed to make strong, lasting change.

  • Diana Ayton-Shenker, CEO, Global Momenta and Global Catalyst Senior Fellow, The New School
    Posted: July 17, 2017

    In reflecting on the recent Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact, organized in partnership with Morgan Stanley, several recurring themes emerged throughout the event: collaboration; innovation; and new ways to harness capital for good. The most striking takeaway of the gathering for me was how important it is for philanthropic change-makers to come together in a safe space and exchange best practices, lessons learned, and new ideas to foster positive social impact. All of these themes fall under the umbrella of how philanthropists can shift mindsets and strategies to create systems-level change. But what does it really mean to achieve systems change? Here are some inspirations that hit home for me and my role in the sector:


  • Saskia Siderow, MPH, Managing Director, Ormond House LLC
    Posted: July 3, 2017

    Language matters. Evidence matters. Transparency matters. In 2017, these may sound like political statements, but they are not intended to be. For those of us in the business of solving the world’s most intractable problems, they should be the fundamental tenets of our work. Nothing political, but simply the most efficient way to proceed: define your problem, design or fund programs based on sound evidence, develop and follow set protocols for your intervention and evaluation, report results in good faith. And as we look for effective ways to design and achieve system-wide change, these golden rules become even more important.

    At this year’s Social Impact Exchange gathering – held in two exciting content-rich days in mid-June – presenters and delegates explored myriad methods for achieving impact at scale: systems-thinking to uncover the best leverage points, cross-funder collaboration, partnership with government and other stakeholders, market forces, systemization of existing knowledge and entrepreneurial chutzpah. The golden rules were perhaps taken as given, but we should be careful not to lose sight of them as our goals become more ambitious.

  • Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH | Professor, Health Management and Policy Director, Center for Hunger-Free Communities
    Posted: June 29, 2017

    I had a fantastic experience at this year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact. Despite being one of the few people from the non-profit sector, I was warmly welcomed to join for an extraordinary two days. I attended the conference eager to learn the language of impact investing, and to build my network in the financial sector.  As the founder of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, where we seek to improve the systems that directly affect low-income families with young children, I have developed a proven financial empowerment program, the Building Wealth and Health Network.  It is ready to scale. The conference is intended for funders, not for people like me on the front lines of trying to break the cycle of poverty. However, I was met with generous advice and insight.  After listening to the S. Robert Levine Scaling in Action© session regarding systems strategies and the need to break away from linear thinking and planning, I knew I was in the right place.

  • Chris Langston, Board Chair, Social Impact Exchange and VP, HealthCare Services, Aging in New York Fund
    Posted: June 15, 2017

    On the occasion of the seventh annual meeting of the Social Impact Exchange, I would like to thank all who make it possible.  As the Chair of the Board of Directors, it is a pleasure to support President & Co-Founder, Alex Rossides, and Co-President, Toni La Belle, and all of their colleagues in their work.  We are also all grateful to all our meeting sponsors (listed here) and especially our partner, Morgan Stanley.  Without their effort and support we would not be meeting in New York once again. 

    However, we could not put on as substantive a conference without the insights and connections we gain from our work with funders and non-profits all year round.  So, we should also thank the members of our working groups in early childhood, health, and poverty alleviation for their dues and the grant funds we have received to push this agenda over the last seven years  (Hint, hint).