Leveraging Impact – Changing Philanthropy: 2011 PFC Conference

The Leveraging Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in Public Policy session explored perspectives on how foundations are working in the public policy realm.  It was a packed room full of familiar faces of folks with a keen interest in the intersection of public policy and foundation strategy.  I thought I would share some key comments from the four panelists.

Matthew Mendelsohn, Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation

“There has been a hollowing out of public service in its ability to generate policy directives.  Philanthropy can move to provide support for evidence based public policy initiatives.”

Sandy Houston, George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation

“Foundations can act as intermediaries or conduits to bring grass roots ideas and energy up to the policy level.  It is important to invest in people.”

Frances Lankin, Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario

“Foundations can build capacity for non-profit networks to contribute idea generation and problem solving.  We can broker relationships with researchers
to conduct community based research, we can fund research, we can convene broad sense partnerships – with innovators, implementors, and we can lend a voice to advocacy.”

Allan Northcott, Max Bell Foundation

“Foundations are instruments, not conduits for cash.  Key learnings on what’s working include: learning by doing, learning from veterans, learning from specific examples of non-profits playing developmental roles in shaping public policy, encouraging mentorship, exposing high value organizations to sub-sectoral agencies and their work in public policy, and understanding that organizations involved in public policy is a long term commitment and funders need to see it that way.”

This post originally appeared on the PFC Conference’s blog, which can be viewed by clicking here.

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