Dedicated to making philanthropy more innovative

Foundations are well positioned to support experimentation and learning and to stimulate systemic change, but they often do not know how to access the best methods, tools, and approaches to achieve the impact they want to see, and they often work in their own silo.

We support philanthropic foundations globally by helping them better understand where and how to fund, by building their innovation capacity, and by creating spaces for critical reflection on their role and practice. Through our work, we hope more philanthropic capital will be available for the use of social innovation to increase impact.




Global Retreats



Why do we need to be make philanthropy more innovative?

We believe that philanthropy can play an important role in ambitious social change, necessary to help solve the complex and urgent challenges our societies and planet face today. Our role in philanthropic spaces is not to support philanthropy, but to push it by exposing it to new ideas and perspectives, and to help the people involved learn from social innovation approaches and practice, in order to improve how it works.

We work with senior leaders who are ready for change. They come from across family, corporate and community foundations of different sizes. We bring in diverse voices from different sectors and geographies, drawing on SIX’s network, in order to provide fresh perspectives for foundations – no organisation can be effective if they only work in their own silo.

Featured project


Our small and intimate global retreats are a core part of the Funders Node programme. They allow foundations to step out of the day-to-day, learn from their peers, and connect on the questions keeping them awake at night.

What we do

We work with foundations in three interconnected ways. All our programmes can be delivered both offline and online.

1 Hosting retreats for pioneering leaders

We bring together senior leaders from pioneering foundations to step out of the day to day and reflect on their own practice. We support them to think critically about topics beyond the buzzwords through:

  • 3 day in person retreats. 
  • Online retreats and virtual executive cohorts

Find out more about retreats here

2 Innovation capacity building

We help foundations apply innovation practices and new ways of doing things within their organisations, spreading knowledge beyond just a few individuals by:

  • Designing and facilitating trainings within foundations
  • Organising global study tours to demonstrate examples in other parts of the world
  • Working with foundations on their strategy, theory of change and learning cultures

Find out more about our capacity building work here.

3 Global intelligence and growing the field

We drive the field forward by introducing innovation in philanthropy. We bring in topics from neighbouring fields, work through questions and challenges for foundations to tackle (eg -legitimacy, power, taking more risks ).  We help foundations decide where to invest/focus their programmes.

  • Horizon and field scanning
  • Systems mapping
  • Advisory support
  • Fast tracking through the network and making connections with other sectors
  • Disseminating the impact of philanthropy globally/to new audiences

Find out more about our global intelligence work here.

Themes we are focusing on at the moment:

How can we keep pressure on
philanthropy after Covid?

The global pandemic both accelerated change and focused attention in many areas. What do these changes mean for the way funders operate in the future?

How can philanthropy and the private sector work more collaboratively?

How do we create trust between sectors and enable them to learn from each other? What role should philanthropy play in driving business for good?

New type of funders/new
types of grantees

How does new money exist alongside more traditional philanthropy? How should new movements, networks and informal structures be better supported?

Philanthropy’s unique response
to climate issues

How can philanthropic organisations be more innovative in moving the dial on this issue? How can they work more effectively with other sectors on this issue?

“For me, the Funders Node is the most effective funding network worldwide… the quality and depth of the challenging conversations on cross-thematic subjects like change and transformation does not happen in other spaces.”

If you are interested in working with us on the future of philanthropy, please contact the team