From Purpose to Program Six Theories of Change

Here's a quick look at how six funders started with a purpose they wanted to accomplish, articulated a theory of change, and ended up with a program model for making grants to individuals. The names are changed, but the descriptions are based on real programs.

For All You've Done Prizes

Purpose: To offer thanks and support to accomplished community leaders, artists, and innovators
Theory: A prize validates an individual's work, makes way for continued achievement, and inspires others to excellence
Program: Make unrestricted awards to accomplished individuals

Leading Edge Fellowships

Purpose: To develop a pipeline of leaders with new solutions to social problems
Theory: Ideas for social change develop best among individuals working outside institutional constraints
Program: Provide fellowships to social entrepreneurs and promote networking for mutual support

Saving Today's Einstein Scholarships

Purpose: To enable scholars under threat of death or other serious harm to continue their work in safety
Theory: Individuals, not institutions, face threats and need safe haven to continue their work
Program: Offer grant support and institutional connections to enable threatened scholars to continue their work in safe countries

Crossing Boundaries Health Research Grants

Purpose: To promote a high-performing health care system and increase the quality of care for vulnerable populations
Theory: Working internationally and across disciplines, individuals can learn what works and transfer effective practices
Program: Support mid-career health care professionals from abroad to work for a year in the U.S. on policyoriented research

Home-Grown Achievers Scholarships

Purpose: To strengthen the ability of public universities to compete for the top high school seniors in their states
Theory: Linking top students with public universities will strengthen the educational system and keep the most talented students in the state
Program: Give full-tuition scholarships to 20 high school seniors each year, to be used at any of the state's public universities

Equity in Arts Leadership Internships

Purpose: To cultivate and diversify the next generation of museum and arts organization leaders
Theory: Giving a diverse group of undergraduates exposure to arts organizations will inspire them to enjoy the arts and perhaps pursue careers in the field
Program: Provide funding to students and organizations to support 150 internships per year

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Grants to Individuals.