Value Add for Foundations

In 1904, philanthropist Joseph Rowntree stressed, when writing to the trustees of his foundation the “need to seek to search out the underlying causes of weakness or evil rather than remedying their more superficial manifestations.” He added, “It was necessary to ascertain once and for all the actual facts as to intemperance, its causes – legislative and social – and when these were understood, the remedies that must be applied.”

This forward-thinking statement, over a century old, acknowledges that public policy has to be influenced through the right channels in order to reach the desired goal of well-being for the community. Today many European foundations think along similar lines. “The use of advocacy to inform public policy or systems change is an important grantmaking strategy for foundations dedicated to achieving sustainable social change,” remarks one interviewee. Another notes that, “if you want to substantially influence societies and trigger change within a certain context, then of course, you need to address public policy. “If you engage with policies you can change something systematically and structurally.”

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 Speaking Up!.