In philanthropy, we are driven by the causes that matter to us and bolstered by the opportunity to generate meaningful change. For years, when I was out in the community or talking with my colleagues about the work of Blue Shield of California Foundation, I would rarely start by describing us as a “policy funder.” Instead, I would say that we aim to strengthen and transform the systems that support the health and safety of California’s most vulnerable populations. As I thought more about our programs and grant making and peeled back the many layers of “systems change,” I uncovered a policy framework upon which so much of our work relies. For us—and most foundations—strong policies are the infrastructure that … Continue reading An Underutilized Tool For Foundations—Policy Change
I recently had the pleasure of helping to tell the story of an incredible grantmaking initiative at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust called “Healthy Places NC.” This is an effort to improve health and wellness in several of North Carolina’s poorest counties, but the activities that are part of this effort are all community designed and community driven. Rather than designing the rules of engagement for this initiative, the Trust sees itself as a learning partner and team member. It has even redefined the roles of its program officers to accommodate the nature of this initiative, getting them out from behind desks and transforming them into community connectors and resource agents whose main job is to support local residents … Continue reading How Flexible Are You, Really?