Foundations Webinars

New and innovative ideas for leaders of foundations

Our on-demand SSIR Live! webinars are offered every 4-6 weeks, and feature the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s most provocative and important topics. Webinars are available for purchase on-demand 12 months after the date of the live event.

When Foundations Exit the Field

December 11, 2014 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Christopher Oechsli, David La Piana, & Sherrilyn Ifill

An increasing number of philanthropists and foundations are considering a limited-life strategy as a way to maximize impact in their own lifetimes. An even greater number of nonprofits are, or have been, affected by a foundation’s decision either to leave a program area or to close down entirely. How can foundations and grantees navigate these shifts together in a way that minimizes disruption and allows both of them to remain true to their missions? Whether they are grappling with a total wind-down and closure or with a shift away from funding in a specific program area, foundations and their nonprofit partners confront an array of challenges. The Atlantic Philanthropies, whose grantmaking will culminate in 2016, has developed a growing body of experience and insight on how foundations and their grantees can meet those challenges. Join Christopher G. Oechsli from the Atlantic Philanthropies, Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and consultant David La Piana for a discussion of these issues. This webinar will benefit leaders of nonprofits that are affected by foundation exits as well as philanthropists and foundation leaders who are considering a limited-life plan or another major shift in their funding strategy.

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Related Story: A Good Ending

Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World

September 18, 2014 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Kathleen Enright, John Kania, Zia Khan, & Hilary Pennington

How can foundations become more effective in catalyzing and sustaining change? Do the conventional tools of strategic philanthropy work for today’s complex social problems? If not, what are the options? Emergent strategy can help foundations that are tackling complex social problems by helping funders become more relevant and effective. This approach helps foundations adapt their activities to ever-changing circumstances and more successfully engage others as partners. Join Kathleen Enright and John Kania to find out more about what it means to take an emergent approach that focuses on sensing, co-creation, and building system fitness. Learn how you can put this strategy into practice during a panel discussion with Ford Foundation’s Hilary Pennington and The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zia Khan. This webinar is for foundation staff and board members who want to better understand how others are navigating complexity, what it means for goal setting, and how it affects staff/board dynamics.

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Related Story: Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World

Raising Social Impact Money

May 13, 2014 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Jonathan C. Lewis

Fundraising mystifies, if not terrifies, most social enterprise leaders. In truth, both for-profit and nonprofit fundraising is a simple, learnable skill. If you can talk, you can raise social impact money. Empower yourself! Join Jonathan C. Lewis, serial social entrepreneur and host of the Café Impact social entrepreneurship video series, to learn his fundraising tips, including the Non-Pitch Pitch, the Pre-Pitch Non-Planning Period, and the Post-Pitch Phase. This webinar is for current and aspiring social entrepreneurs and those who support them. If you consider yourself a social entrepreneur, then you must learn to raise money. In Lewis’s own words, “Your social mission deserves it. Your social venture requires it.”

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Injecting Innovation Into Your Philanthropy (Complimentary)

April 22, 2014 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Gabriel Kasper, Justin Marcoux, Brian Quinn, & Sarah Koch

Over the last decade, many foundations have begun to lose their appetite for risk and experimentation in favor of safer, more proven, and incremental investments. But a small group of funders has begun to deliberately seek out and support high-risk, high-reward innovations with the potential to create real breakthroughs on our most intractable social problems. Join four innovation funders for a discussion on the processes and practices that help foundations and grantmakers incorporate a greater degree of risk-taking, experimentation, and flexibility into their work. This webinar is for philanthropists and grantmakers who are ready to take risks and think outside the box when it comes to tackling social problems, and for nonprofit leaders who want to want to encourage innovation in funding.

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Related Story: The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

Making Social Innovation Work Inside Your Organization

February 5, 2014 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Warren Nilsson, Tana Paddock, & Marlon Parker

How can you build a capacity for innovation within your social purpose organization? Join Warren Nilsson and Tana Paddock as they discuss the theory and practice of “inscaping”—their term for the work of drawing on personal experience to generate the raw material of social change. Nilsson will present examples and insights from specific organizations that use inscaping to foster innovation “from the inside out.” Also joining the webinar is Marlon Parker, founder of RLabs, a social enterprise based in Cape Town that promotes community-driven innovation in 21 countries. This webinar is for people at nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other social purpose groups who want to create internal processes that will help to build a deep, long-lasting capacity for innovative thought and action.

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Related Story: Social Innovation From the Inside Out

Funding For Impact: How to Know When Your Giving is Getting Results (Complimentary)

December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Jeff Raikes, Tom Tierney, & Lisbeth Schorr

The topic of how to fund programs that have social impact elicits a wide range of reactions. Some funders only support programs that have been proven to be effective, while others are willing to take a risk and fund unproven approaches. Some funders believe that the only reliable evaluation is a randomized control trial, while others argue that these are rarely useful, particularly for programs that tackle wicked social problems, like poverty. Some funders lead with their heart, while others lead with their brain. Join us for a lively discussion on funding for impact with presenters Jeff Raikes, Tom Tierney, and Lisbeth Schorr, all whom have long and distinguished careers in philanthropy and evaluation.

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Adaptive Philanthropy: Getting Results in Uncertain Environments (Complimentary)

October 17, 2013 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Steven McCormick, Jenny Shilling Stein, Jeffrey Walker, & Susan Wolf Ditkoff

2013 has presented a complicated economic environment for funders. Join this complimentary webinar to hear from McCormick, Shilling Stein, Walker, and Wolf Ditkoff, who all take distinct yet complementary approaches to philanthropy. In this webinar the panelists will explain the new trends that are most influencing their giving, how they define and measure success, the questions they confront when deciding whether to stay the course or tack in shifting winds, how to flexibly engage communities enhances effectiveness, and the implications of their decisions on their partners and grantees.

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When Giving Leaves Town: The Disconnect Between Wealth and Philanthropy and What We Can Do About It

July 11, 2013 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Alexa Cortes Culwell, Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, Jen Ratay, Chris Block, & Michael Lombardo

How is it that Silicon Valley, a region burgeoning with new wealth and so noteworthy for its overall philanthropic giving, is uniquely spare in providing for its own neediest causes and populations? To better understand these trends, this webinar will explore new data from a review conducted by Philanthropy Futures, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s local grantmaking program, which took a deeper look at giving in Silicon Valley.

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Related Story: Local Resources for Local Needs

The Value of High Stakes Donor Collaboration

June 4, 2013 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Willa Seldon & Kristian Parker

Collaboration is a hot topic in philanthropy and a common practice, but one form remains uncommon. Few foundations and philanthropists pool their time, expertise, and financial resources around multiyear goals beyond the reach of any one participant. When they do, their unified action can yield impressive results. So why don’t such collaborations happen more often? Join Willa Seldon, a partner at Bridgespan, when she reviews the barriers to high stakes collaboration and how to work around them, and discusses the three types of collaborations that work best. She will be joined by Oak Foundation’s Kristian Parker, a founding board member of the European Climate Foundation and the Oceans 5 donor collaborative. Parker will add first-hand insights and explain how new donors can benefit from joining forces with those, like the Oak Foundation, that have expertise in a particular area.

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Related Story: High Stakes Donor Collaborations

Listening to Beneficiaries

April 10, 2013 at 11:00 am Pacific
Presented by Fay Twersky, Phil Buchanan, & Valerie Threlfall

To become more effective, nonprofits and foundations are turning to various sources for advice. Some look to experts, others turn to crowdsourcing. Experts and crowds can produce valuable insights, but too often nonprofits and funders ignore the constituents who matter most, the intended beneficiaries. Join Fay Twersky, Phil Buchanan, and Valerie Threlfall as they discuss the reasons why surveying beneficiaries is so important, how the feedback can be used, and some of the challenges to doing this and how to overcome them. They will also provide real-world examples of organizations that are effectively surveying beneficiaries, including their own experience trying to elicit the voices of high school students through YouthTruth, a nonprofit that the three of them co-founded. YouthTruth has gathered feedback from close to 150,000 students across the United States.

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Related Story: Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries