Being the Change: 12 Ways Foundations Are Transforming Themselves to Transform Their Impact

Host Organization: Philanthropy Massachusetts


As foundations adopt new approaches for creating social change, they must also adapt their internal practices. To achieve meaningful impact at scale, many foundations are aiming to influence the actions and investments of the public and private sectors, as well as address the complex and deeply entrenched conditions that hold social problems in place. To do so, foundations are not only offering grant funding, but are also expanding how they apply their assets, knowledge, skills, networks, and people in new ways. There is a wealth of information on how to adapt strategies to create impact at scale and to change systems; however, less has been written about what internal practices are needed to make this happen.

FSG interviewed 114 practitioners representing 50 funders and 8 philanthropic services organizations that have gone through or advised internal transformation yielding surprising commonalities. Colleagues agreed that new practices are needed in the areas of staffing philosophy, structure and design, skill development, and supportive culture. By experimenting with these practices, foundations hope to foster connectivity, vibrancy, and deep engagement both internally (across all people and parts of their organization) and externally (with grantees, community members, and other partners), ultimately opening up new avenues for impact.

Join us to:

  • Learn about how peer foundations are rethinking their goals for creating social change, and the role that the foundation and its staff members play in achieving those goals
  • Hear examples of peer foundations who have transformed staff size, structures, skill development and cultures to support their strategies
  • Interact with and explore these ideas with your colleagues and peers

Presented by: Lauren Smith, Co-CEO, FSG


  • Marty Cohen, President, MetroWest Health Foundation;
  • Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs and Advocacy, Schott Foundation for Public Education;
  • Erin Reedy, Koya Leadership Partners

This program will be live broadcast. If you cannot attend in person, you can register to take part via Zoom video conferencing. Simply register as usual through the Philanthropy MA website, and then send an email to info@philanthropyma.org to request remote access information.

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