This Wallace-written report summarizes Creative Philanthropy, by Helmut K. Anheier and Diana Leat, experts in the field of nonprofits. They explore an approach to foundation work that capitalizes on these organizations’ special position to take risks, test innovative ideas and influence the way en¬tire sectors think about some of our greatest chal¬lenges. By focusing on initiatives that can help move entire fields forward, their work can produce long-term effects with the potential to improve the lives of people on a large scale. Wallace is credited with practicing this “creative philanthropy”—spotting innovative solutions to problems, catalyzing and helping sustain the innovation process, and assisting in disseminating and imple¬menting results.
The authors also discuss distinguishing traits of foundations that practice creative philanthropy, such as operating as learning organizations that believe they can discover as much from the failure of their investments as they do from successes and supporting objective, credible research to capture the results of their efforts.
Points of Interest
In creative philanthropy, making a grant is only one step in a multi-fac¬eted process that continues through learning lessons, sharing and discuss¬ing that knowledge with people in the field, and evaluating the success of those solutions at every stage.
Creative philanthro¬pies understand they need to find ways to share inno¬vative ideas and knowledge with influential people in the public and political spheres who can most effectively make change happen.