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Partnering for Philanthropic Impact Report

Developing the strategy and institutional capacity required to maximise foundations’ impact through partnerships

Foundations have a hugely important and unique role: as partners, as funders, as drivers of innovation, and as catalysts for collective action. Many Foundations are already using – or desire to use – partnering to maximise their impact. Many are moving beyond pure financing, and are exploring the internal capacities required to do that effectively.

As Foundation boards and staff teams grapple with the challenges and opportunities of working more collaboratively – both in their relationships with grantees and, in many cases, in supporting or catalysing new partnerships – there is an opportunity to step back and ensure that a strategic approach is taken.

This sector report as part of the Partnering for Philanthrophic Impact Programme dives into what it means for Foundations to be as strategic as possible in their partnering: i) by understanding which partnership models can deliver their desired impact, and ii) to understand what they need to put in place to make them work.

This report draws on a year of Partnering for Philanthropic Impact inquiry, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Foundation and Z Zurich Foundation, which are keen to strengthen their own institutional capacities to partner and to share their learning with the sector. These early insights, combined with TPI’s 17 years of experience in supporting the theory and practice of effective partnerships, inform the models that are presented in the report.

At the core of the report are four core models through which foundations are currently choosing to partner: Trusted Partner, Connector, Supporter and Systems Leader. In considering which partnering model is most appropriate to a particular foundation’s strategic goals, organisations can learn from the partnering journey taken by others and ensure the partnerships they engage in are as effective as possible.

TPI is keen to support foundations learn from these models and to facilitate ongoing knowledge exchange through the Partnering for Philanthropic Impact programme. Those interested in learning more about the programmee, and how to join, are welcome to contact TPI.

Read more about our programme on partnering for philanthropic impact
Read our blog on pushing the boundaries of traditional grant-making and trust-based philanthropy
Read our blog on key takeaways from Philea Forum 2022


If you are a foundation interested in participating in the Partnering for Philanthropic Impact programme, or would like more information please contact Anna Hirsch-Holland (anna.hirsch-holland

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