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The Role of Philanthropy in Scaling Solutions toward Systems Change

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 -
9:30am to 12:00pm PST
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
343 2nd St | Los Altos, CA 94022
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How can funder behavior evolve to be more collaborative, and more supportive of scaling the solutions and impact of grantees whose work creates positive, systemic changes to pressing problems? For more than two years, the Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems, an initiative launched by the Skoll Foundation, Ford Foundation, Draper Rickards Kaplan Foundation, Porticus, and  Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, has been a learning journey examining when, how, and why certain solutions were able to grow and achieve system-level shifts, and the role of philanthropic funders in that.

The initiative’s first report in 2017, Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems, highlighted organizations that had scaled solutions and how funders had helped or hindered the process, including a set of recommendations for interested funders. In 2018, our second report, Approaches for Impact, Approaches for Learning, delved deeper into two questions: Which funders go beyond an endorsement of such recommendations and put them into practice, and why and how is this happening? And given the importance of collaboration, what can we learn from existing funder collaboratives aimed at some kind of systems change?

Join Us To

  • Understand the highlights from the Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems initiative
  • Discuss how interested funders in the Bay Area could move forward on this theme
  • Learn how funders can shift approaches to better support grantees to scale their solutions and create systemic change
  • Learn about the challenges and opportunities in using a Scaling Solutions approach


Jim Bildner, CEO, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
Jim works with the team to expand and manage the portfolio & pipeline, build the donor and talent base, and develop thought leadership for the foundation. He currently sits on the board of DRK Grantees Feeding Texas Produce Co-Op, Landed, OpenBiome, Open Up Resources, Service Year, and The GroundTruth Project. He previously served on the boards of DRKgrantees CAST, EducationSuperHighway,, SIRUM, StriveTogether, TurboVote/Democracy Works, The Earth Genome, The Empowerment Plan, and Worldreader. Jim is a nationally recognized lecturer, panelist, and speaker on nonprofit organizations, social enterprise, capitalization and the institutional role of philanthropy in solving complex societal issues. His prior experience includes 22 years in the private sector including as a consultant at Deloitte and serving as the CEO of two public companies. Jim’s government service includes serving as a legislative aide and speechwriter in the United States Senate, a run for the NJ State Assembly, election to two terms as a Selectman in Manchester by the Sea and an appointment by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services. Jim earned his AB from Dartmouth College, his MPA from Harvard, his J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law and an M.F.A. from Lesley University. He is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
Heather Grady, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Heather is a Vice President in RPA’s San Francisco office and leads the organization’s strategy and program development in global philanthropy, including collaboratives, global programs, research, and publications. She drives thought leadership through efforts like the SDG Philanthropy Platform, a collaboration to encourage philanthropy to engage more meaningfully in the Sustainable Development Goals/Agenda 2030, and the Scalable Solutions initiative, which aims to fuel the placement of longer-term, responsive and adaptive resources to fund and accelerate scalable solutions that target systemic changes focused on pressing global issues. Heather has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard and a B.A. from Smith College.
Suzana Grego, Director of Public Engagement and Communcations, Skoll Foundation

Suzana directs the Foundation's Public Engagement & Communications program, guided by the Foundation’s core belief in communications as an important change agent. In this role, Suzana is focused on helping to demonstrate and activate the impact of social entrepreneurs on the world’s most pressing problems. Suzana has decades of experience in communications, marketing, and public engagement. Prior to joining the Skoll Foundation, Suzana directed communications and media relations for philanthropies like the Ford Foundation, NGOs like the International Center for Transitional Justice, and corporations like IBM/Lotus. Suzana holds a Master of International Affairs in Human Rights from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and a B.A. in Government and International Relations from Harvard University.

Joanne Schneider, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Joanne joined the RPA team in 2009. She helps individuals, families, corporations, and foundations at all points in the giving journey from just starting to think about how to engage in philanthropy to creating customized donor intent documents and dissolution plans. Her work includes helping clients determine priorities for giving, developing and implementing philanthropic strategies, and managing grantmaking initiatives and giving programs. She enjoys that her role enables her to work with passionate philanthropists across a wide range of issues and geographies to bring needed resources to important causes and to support solutions to our biggest challenges.

Target Audience

This event is open to NCG members and non-member funders only.