Systems change and philanthropy: Taking risks and achieving greater impact

What can be achieved when a global group of philanthropic foundations come together to explore what risk looks like when trying to achieve greater impact through systems change for complex problems?  We aimed to explore this by working with the Social Innovation Exchange and their Funders Node – the bringing together of over 50 different foundations from around the world.

In an Australian first, a funders retreat was held with participants from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, Germany, South Africa and Denmark to go deep on issues relating to systems change.

Key questions explored included:

  •  What does risk look like when you work from a systems change perspective?
  •  What are the different roles funders can play in supporting systems change?
  •  What does it mean to develop a culture and capacity for systems change?
  •  What are different approaches to systems change?

This retreat was designed as a learning experience that builds on the strengths of Foundations to continue to tackle complex work, growing and supporting the field of systems change in the practice of philanthropy.  As well as forging stronger global connections, the retreat saw the development and refinement of a number of concepts, including the different roles philanthropy plays in changing systems.

We are pleased to share with you the SIX Funders Node Adelaide Retreat Report that outlines much of what was covered during our time together.  Of course, the success of this retreat was only possible with every attendee bringing their expertise and willingness to learn and share – the Fay Fuller Foundation thanks each and every one for their leadership and insight.