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Stanford Social Innovation Review | Fall 2009

Catalytic philanthropy offers an approach in which donors take a structured, active role in addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Top Takeaways

  1. Funders can become the key to establishing impact by shifting the responsibility from nonprofits to themselves.
  2. Philanthropists must listen to and work with others, enabling stakeholders to develop their own solutions.
  3. Systemic change depends on a sustained campaign to increase the capacity and coordination of an entire field.

  4. Donors achieve impact by taking responsibility for making progress on an issue; engaging others in a campaign; using tools beyond grantmaking; and creating actionable knowledge.

Philanthropy is indeed a powerful tool for social progress, but only when donors make it so.

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