Featured work

Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

A new way of thinking about corporate purpose and climate risks Businesses have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future, but the idea that businesses should care about the climate, even from a materiality perspective, let alone a moral or existential one, is still relatively new.  The ... Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Introduction Over the coming months, SIX will be sharing our tracking and interrogation of how the discourse around philanthropy has shifted, or not, after the profoundly impactful events of 2020. We are looking for themes that have been lost in the noise, and trends that have become louder; we are searching for signals about what has ... How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Practising radical change in philanthropy: why we’re looking at it and what it means On 3 November 2020, Ariadne and SIX invited 23 philanthropic organisations from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to exchange practical examples, lessons and tensions in their work funding radical, structural and deep change, and to uncover practical, concrete examples that benchmark ... Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges: Insights from a global call between WINGS and SIX networks On 25 June, WINGS and SIX brought together 17 philanthropic leaders from around the world in a reflective conversation to explore which methods and models philanthropy should be engaging with in order to shift power, and to uncover the ways ... Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

As COVID-19 started to take hold of countries and regions around the world, we began a comprehensive global scan exploring the most innovative ways in which philanthropic organisations around the world have been pivoting in order to support grantees and communities now and in the future. These provocations are rooted in the insights and perspectives of over ... Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Many of the conversations taking place within philanthropy at the moment centre around legitimacy, transparency, equity, diversity, inclusion…the list goes on. These topics skirt around what really needs to be addressed: the unbalanced power dynamics entrenched throughout the sector. This is why at SIX we are focus on decentralising power within philanthropy this year. For this to ... Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Three reflections after a year spent with funders

I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening to funders; on the phone; at roundtables and during the three retreats we’ve held this year on Wasan Island as part of the SIX Funders Node. This programme supports philanthropic foundations from around the world to work more effectively and authentically, and in 2019 we held ... Three reflections after a year spent with funders

matt-howard-696299-unsplash

Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Author: Louise Pulford & Cat Tully All philanthropic organisations exist to change the world, or at least a part of it. They are distinguished by their level of ambition – and by their optimism. But that makes them particularly susceptible to the radical uncertainties of our fast-changing world. To be considered transformational, any philanthropic organisation should ... Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Funding – A Practice Guide

Funding is essential for social innovation to grow and thrive. This is why SIX has an entire programme dedicated to philanthropy. The SIX Funders Node challenges, enables, and inspires funders to be more systemic and innovative in their thinking and practice. Our aim is to increase the flow of funding to social innovation and systemic change. We ... Funding – A Practice Guide

Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

On the 19th of November, SIX hosted an intimate dinner with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in London to explore the opportunity for philanthropy to engage in strategic foresight, ahead of a workshop to follow up from a retreat we hosted on the topic in the summer. Foundations are uniquely placed to be ahead of the ... Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

Having worked for an international exchange for almost 5 years, I can attest firsthand to the power of networks. Networks help us to navigate our daily life (whether in the workplace or at home), providing much needed inspiration and success stories, new connections and personal relationships, whilst expanding our learning and horizons.   I’ve thought ... What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

What do we mean by strategic foresight? Strategic foresight, in general, is the systematic exploration of possible futures to help inform present-day decision making. It looks beyond 3- and 5-year strategic plans to 20, 30, or even 50 years into the future. Strategic foresight does not mean predicting the future. We are not futurists or ... How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

In our rapidly changing and volatile world, funders need to build more capacity to better deal with the new challenges that come their way. This August, SIX is hosting a retreat with our Funders Node to explore how they can fund strategically with future foresight and adaptive capacity for emergent change. Below is a selection of readings ... Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Abstact Global Networks Networks are a powerful and growing vector for social change. Considering the complex nature of today’s global challenges, solutions need to be reactive to an ever-evolving landscape of players and circumstances. Networks are a fitting way to approach this complex challenge and if well-managed, networks help us share and use knowledge across ... Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

Author: Mark Cabaj The idea for this resource emerged during a retreat on Wasan Island for the SIX Funders Node devoted to exploring the challenges and opportunities of getting alignment on tackling tough social, economic and political issues.   The retreat focused on the changing role of foundations, why foundations need to align and how they ... Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

The Burning Questions of Alignment

We believe that there’s great power in knowing the questions and challenges that are keeping your peers up at night. Not only does it help to reassure that you’re not alone in your work but it can spark a conversation, which in turn can shift thinking and practice. The mission of the Funders Node is ... The Burning Questions of Alignment

Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

Author: Jordan Junge If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together African Proverb We know that the challenges our societies face are growing in scale and complexity. We know that not one organisation is capable to solve these challenges alone. Not even foundations, who are uniquely positioned and ... Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

The philanthropy of place

As the pace of life increases, our lives are continuously engulfed by technology and data. There are few opportunities for stillness.  We need spaces to recharge and recalibrate more than ever, and when we find these spaces, we need to use them more strategically. This is the view of Dr Helga Breuninger of the Breuninger ... The philanthropy of place

How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

We work hundreds of miles apart, separated by the border but our two organizations – the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation in Canada and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in the US -have formed a collaboration that is accelerating our efforts to bring about change in our respective countries. Despite our many differences, our organizations are wrestling with similar ... How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

As part of the SIX Funders Node, which connects funders across the world that want to learn from each other to be better funders of innovation, I interviewed Dr Toby Lowe of the University of Newcastle Business School who is working with Collaborate and the Big Lottery Fund to explore trust-based funding, as a response ... What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

In a rapidly changing world, the role of foundations to broker and create change is increasingly important. And, as their own role develops, it’s vital for funders to share and learn from their peers across the globe. The SIX Funders’ Node works with leading funders to unpack the big questions facing trusts and foundations all ... The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

The SIX Funders Node took place at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in January, 2016 and was the first convention of social innovation grantmakers from three continents. Andrew Barnett, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK Branch, writes about his experience. Social Innovation should be invigorating and I returned from the SIX Funders’ Node ... Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein The last quarter century has seen significant changes in the world of foundation philanthropy. New pools of earned wealth (think Jeff Skoll, Bill Gates or Skype founder Niklas Zennström) have accelerated traditional philanthropy’s shift from responsive grantmaking towards experiments with ... Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Independent social funders are an established part of a mature ecosystem of social support in the UK. They represent a ‘sector’ that is diverse in makeup and practice, with some cutting edge thinking and innovative practice sitting alongside very traditional models of funding for activities in the community. It is also a sector whose leading lights ... Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

As the strategic philanthropy movement has swept across the field, many grantmakers have lost their appetite for funding experimental and innovative projects. Recently, however, a number of funders have begun exploring how to deliberately reintroduce risk-taking into their processes and portfolios in search of breakthrough change. The term “innovation” is now used so widely and ... The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

Intentional innovation: How getting more systematic about innovation could improve philanthropy and increase social impact

Based on a review of case studies and current innovation theory and practice, proposes a framework integrating best practices, processes, and tools for making innovation a more consistent and integral element of philanthropy. Lists models and resources.

Philanthropy

Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

A new way of thinking about corporate purpose and climate risks Businesses have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future, but the idea that businesses should care about the climate, even from a materiality perspective, let alone a moral or existential one, is still relatively new.  The ... Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Introduction Over the coming months, SIX will be sharing our tracking and interrogation of how the discourse around philanthropy has shifted, or not, after the profoundly impactful events of 2020. We are looking for themes that have been lost in the noise, and trends that have become louder; we are searching for signals about what has ... How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Practising radical change in philanthropy: why we’re looking at it and what it means On 3 November 2020, Ariadne and SIX invited 23 philanthropic organisations from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to exchange practical examples, lessons and tensions in their work funding radical, structural and deep change, and to uncover practical, concrete examples that benchmark ... Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges: Insights from a global call between WINGS and SIX networks On 25 June, WINGS and SIX brought together 17 philanthropic leaders from around the world in a reflective conversation to explore which methods and models philanthropy should be engaging with in order to shift power, and to uncover the ways ... Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

As COVID-19 started to take hold of countries and regions around the world, we began a comprehensive global scan exploring the most innovative ways in which philanthropic organisations around the world have been pivoting in order to support grantees and communities now and in the future. These provocations are rooted in the insights and perspectives of over ... Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Many of the conversations taking place within philanthropy at the moment centre around legitimacy, transparency, equity, diversity, inclusion…the list goes on. These topics skirt around what really needs to be addressed: the unbalanced power dynamics entrenched throughout the sector. This is why at SIX we are focus on decentralising power within philanthropy this year. For this to ... Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Three reflections after a year spent with funders

I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening to funders; on the phone; at roundtables and during the three retreats we’ve held this year on Wasan Island as part of the SIX Funders Node. This programme supports philanthropic foundations from around the world to work more effectively and authentically, and in 2019 we held ... Three reflections after a year spent with funders

matt-howard-696299-unsplash

Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Author: Louise Pulford & Cat Tully All philanthropic organisations exist to change the world, or at least a part of it. They are distinguished by their level of ambition – and by their optimism. But that makes them particularly susceptible to the radical uncertainties of our fast-changing world. To be considered transformational, any philanthropic organisation should ... Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Funding – A Practice Guide

Funding is essential for social innovation to grow and thrive. This is why SIX has an entire programme dedicated to philanthropy. The SIX Funders Node challenges, enables, and inspires funders to be more systemic and innovative in their thinking and practice. Our aim is to increase the flow of funding to social innovation and systemic change. We ... Funding – A Practice Guide

Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

On the 19th of November, SIX hosted an intimate dinner with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in London to explore the opportunity for philanthropy to engage in strategic foresight, ahead of a workshop to follow up from a retreat we hosted on the topic in the summer. Foundations are uniquely placed to be ahead of the ... Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

Having worked for an international exchange for almost 5 years, I can attest firsthand to the power of networks. Networks help us to navigate our daily life (whether in the workplace or at home), providing much needed inspiration and success stories, new connections and personal relationships, whilst expanding our learning and horizons.   I’ve thought ... What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

What do we mean by strategic foresight? Strategic foresight, in general, is the systematic exploration of possible futures to help inform present-day decision making. It looks beyond 3- and 5-year strategic plans to 20, 30, or even 50 years into the future. Strategic foresight does not mean predicting the future. We are not futurists or ... How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

In our rapidly changing and volatile world, funders need to build more capacity to better deal with the new challenges that come their way. This August, SIX is hosting a retreat with our Funders Node to explore how they can fund strategically with future foresight and adaptive capacity for emergent change. Below is a selection of readings ... Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Abstact Global Networks Networks are a powerful and growing vector for social change. Considering the complex nature of today’s global challenges, solutions need to be reactive to an ever-evolving landscape of players and circumstances. Networks are a fitting way to approach this complex challenge and if well-managed, networks help us share and use knowledge across ... Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

Author: Mark Cabaj The idea for this resource emerged during a retreat on Wasan Island for the SIX Funders Node devoted to exploring the challenges and opportunities of getting alignment on tackling tough social, economic and political issues.   The retreat focused on the changing role of foundations, why foundations need to align and how they ... Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

The Burning Questions of Alignment

We believe that there’s great power in knowing the questions and challenges that are keeping your peers up at night. Not only does it help to reassure that you’re not alone in your work but it can spark a conversation, which in turn can shift thinking and practice. The mission of the Funders Node is ... The Burning Questions of Alignment

Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

Author: Jordan Junge If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together African Proverb We know that the challenges our societies face are growing in scale and complexity. We know that not one organisation is capable to solve these challenges alone. Not even foundations, who are uniquely positioned and ... Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

The philanthropy of place

As the pace of life increases, our lives are continuously engulfed by technology and data. There are few opportunities for stillness.  We need spaces to recharge and recalibrate more than ever, and when we find these spaces, we need to use them more strategically. This is the view of Dr Helga Breuninger of the Breuninger ... The philanthropy of place

How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

We work hundreds of miles apart, separated by the border but our two organizations – the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation in Canada and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in the US -have formed a collaboration that is accelerating our efforts to bring about change in our respective countries. Despite our many differences, our organizations are wrestling with similar ... How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

As part of the SIX Funders Node, which connects funders across the world that want to learn from each other to be better funders of innovation, I interviewed Dr Toby Lowe of the University of Newcastle Business School who is working with Collaborate and the Big Lottery Fund to explore trust-based funding, as a response ... What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

In a rapidly changing world, the role of foundations to broker and create change is increasingly important. And, as their own role develops, it’s vital for funders to share and learn from their peers across the globe. The SIX Funders’ Node works with leading funders to unpack the big questions facing trusts and foundations all ... The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

The SIX Funders Node took place at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in January, 2016 and was the first convention of social innovation grantmakers from three continents. Andrew Barnett, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK Branch, writes about his experience. Social Innovation should be invigorating and I returned from the SIX Funders’ Node ... Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein The last quarter century has seen significant changes in the world of foundation philanthropy. New pools of earned wealth (think Jeff Skoll, Bill Gates or Skype founder Niklas Zennström) have accelerated traditional philanthropy’s shift from responsive grantmaking towards experiments with ... Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Independent social funders are an established part of a mature ecosystem of social support in the UK. They represent a ‘sector’ that is diverse in makeup and practice, with some cutting edge thinking and innovative practice sitting alongside very traditional models of funding for activities in the community. It is also a sector whose leading lights ... Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

As the strategic philanthropy movement has swept across the field, many grantmakers have lost their appetite for funding experimental and innovative projects. Recently, however, a number of funders have begun exploring how to deliberately reintroduce risk-taking into their processes and portfolios in search of breakthrough change. The term “innovation” is now used so widely and ... The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

Intentional innovation: How getting more systematic about innovation could improve philanthropy and increase social impact

Based on a review of case studies and current innovation theory and practice, proposes a framework integrating best practices, processes, and tools for making innovation a more consistent and integral element of philanthropy. Lists models and resources.