As a foundation considering how to leverage the SDGs for your work, globally but also in the U.S., here are four ways to get started:

  • Map Your Programs Against the Goals
  • Join the Conversation
  • Explore Collaborations to “Work Differently”
  • Leverage Non-Financial Assets

Map Your Programs Against the Goals
When beginning to link foundation programs to the SDGs, first analyze where grantmaking may already align. All 17 goals address problems that U.S. foundations have been working on for generations, like alleviating hunger and investing in quality education.

Join the Conversation
Once you know where your funding priorities overlap, you can start participating in the global conversation on the SDGs by reframing or adding a new lens to your existing programs. You don’t necessarily have to overhaul your entire strategy; simply re-illustrating existing work to show how it is funding progress to achieve the SDGs will connect your portfolio to other global social development programs as well as opportunities to collaborate with other funders.

Explore Collaborations to “Work Differently”
Consider how to best leverage your work by collaborating with others working towards the same goals. While many actors are invested in the SDGs, foundations can play a unique role as investors of risk capital. Ask yourself: How can our financial resources serve as a catalyst, perhaps by funding activities or initiatives that others can’t or won’t? How might our foundation “work differently” to achieve these ambitious goals by 2030?How could unlikely partners complement our strengths as a grantmaker?

Leverage Non-Financial Assets
The SDGs present a great opportunity for foundation leadership, and foundations should consider what non-financial assets they might bring to achieving the SDGs.

Universality of the SDGs – A Role for All
One of the most powerful elements of the SDGs is their universality: they apply to all countries in the world, not just those in the global South. They therefore provide a shared language that can be applied to work happening anywhere in the world. For multi-national companies, this can mean aligning and tracking investment across the SDGs from core business to employee volunteering, grantmaking, and employee match programs.

Read the full article about leveraging the SDGs in grantmaking by Natalie Ross at PEAK Insight Journal.