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Foundation Strategy

FSG partners with private and community foundations and philanthropists to create social change. Since 2000, FSG has advised the world’s leading philanthropic organizations on how to best leverage their resources to improve lives around the world. Our services range from addressing specific strategic questions to the comprehensive design, implementation, and evaluation of strategic initiatives.

Foundation Strategy Projects 


We work with funders to create lasting change.

  • We help staff and boards articulate values and develop a vision for how they can contribute to transformative change.
  • We support funders in their efforts to structure and support community engagement to help surface community-identified priorities.
  • We develop comprehensive plans that identify clear goals and powerful strategies to strengthen our clients' ability to create change.
  • We create action plans to implement new strategies, including high-level communication plans, suggested changes to grant, staffing, and governance processes, and key evaluation metrics and learning techniques.
  • We design evaluation systems and conduct evaluations to improve decision making and learning, so that initiatives, programs, and strategies adapt to changing conditions.

FSG is the gold standard in thought leadership for the philanthropic sector. Their publications are required reading for our board orientation, volunteers, and peers in the philanthropic community.
and FSG BOARD MEMBER          
Each individual on the FSG team was phenomenal to work with. They adapted to our culture, and they engaged our operations staff and our program staff. They were a true thought partner.
Earl Maxwell, CEO
St. David's Foundation
FSG led GTF through an intensive, 6-month strategic planning process that resulted in a revised mission and vision, as well as a plan that our board and staff actually use to guide our work every day. The team brought their strong content knowledge in education to help us make data-based decisions, while facilitating a process to ensure that all voices were heard and incorporated.
Wynn Rosser, Former Executive Director
Greater Texas Foundation
FSG's dedication to our strategic planning process is evident in all aspects of our decision making as an organization. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to learning our way to solutions together. 
Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., Executive Director
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
We now have a shared language for talking about strategy, learning, and evaluation. Through our partnership with FSG, we’ve made big gains toward creating a more intentional culture of learning.
Chera D. Reid, PhD
Director of Strategic Learning, Research, and Evaluation
The Kresge Foundation
FSG has been a transformative partner in helping us plan the forward trajectory of our community leadership work. Their expertise in collective impact has allowed us to garner the continued confidence and support of key stakeholders throughout the process. I would highly recommend their team!
Shelley Hoss, President
Orange County Community Foundation
Working with FSG has transformed my role as a philanthropist and improved our family foundation’s ability to effect the kind of change we have committed our life to. After working with the team we have a clear goal of what we want to accomplish, how we will get there, and why it is going to be effective.
Caitlin Scott, Board Member,
Reissa Foundation
Our family foundation is thrilled with the team’s work. They demonstrated a high degree of dedication, emotional intelligence, and fluency in addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and power dynamics. We could not have created a cross-sector effort to increase social mobility for disadvantaged communities in two cities without the guidance and involvement of FSG.
Joel Tauber, Chairman
Tauber Family Foundation

FSG’s Approach to Strategy

  • Co-creation with clients: We build close partnerships with our clients to leverage their expertise and create customized plans based on their unique capacity, values, and culture. It is important that we create a positive and powerful experience for clients, using our time together to generate insights.
  • Adept at facilitation: We bring a rigorous approach to analysis. But patterns and insights alone don’t lead to collaborative decision-making. We believe that skillful facilitation encourages stakeholders to tap into their wisdom. Our staff brings expert facilitation skills, using creative techniques to engage individuals at all levels of the system and enable decision-making.
  • Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): Our commitment to DEI shapes the questions we ask, the way we analyze data, how we engage with people, and the recommendations we make on strategy and part­nerships.
  • Systems change orientation: We understand that social change requires systems change. We explore issues from a systems perspective, looking deeply at context, connections, and patterns and incorporating multiple perspectives into our work.
  • Linking strategy and evaluation: We believe questions about the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of strategy should guide an evaluation, and that strategic decision-making should be informed by continuous monitoring, learning, and evaluation. 

Research and Tools