A Unique Role For Philanthropy

Often, philanthropic entities operate outside of the confines of current Policy-led grantmaking from Governments (be they Federal, State/Regional or Local), and as such play a vital role in funding the work of people, groups, projects and organisations who sit outside or in opposition to Policy positions.

So what is the role for Philanthropy in this space?

The Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network prepared a Climate Change Briefing for Philanthropic Institutions, which is largely is a briefing note on accepted climate science, with a couple of paragraphs about the possibilities for Philanthropists to be independent, to use a climate lens across their grantmaking portfolios, and to scale up efforts

Strategic Planning Vs Foresight

Many philanthropic institutions have followed the trend towards setting strategic plans for 3–5 horizons, to inform their activities. This probably doesn’t seem like a bad thing to most people, as strategic planning is so mainstream it’s not even questioned, despite it’s high failure rates.

Complexity-informed Philanthropy?

Given an acceptance that we are increasingly seeing our worlds become more complex, and thus we are less able to predict the future – it begs the question how we should respond to complexity. I was surprised when the foundation President said that many applicants to the program officer role didn’t explicitly talk about systems or complexity in their covering letters or interviews.

Systems Awareness

There’s an argument that philanthropic organisations could have a significant impact by making small changes to their grant making process — primarily, offering systems thinking capacity building to grantees.

Read the full article about environmental philanthropy by Sam Rye at Medium.