Moving toward collective impact
An important new approach to social change is called “collective impact.” A recent issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review described the approach as “… the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.”
The point is that some community issues like homelessness, education and equitable access to health care are so “big” that no one entity can solve them alone. Evidence is mounting that a more effective approach is for various parts of the social sector to come together in common cause to address the problem.
In essence that is what is behind OGF’s new strategy – helping philanthropy achieve greater collective impact on important issues facing Ohio. For nearly 30 years OGF has been a membership association for organized philanthropy alone. Participation is limited to foundations and corporate giving programs. However, over the last 30 years the sector has become more diverse, with new “players” taking the field and ways other than grantmaking developed to achieve philanthropic objectives. United Ways, social venture partners, donor advised funds, venture philanthropy, giving circles and online giving are examples of some of the non-traditional ways philanthropy is practiced in 2012. And while organized philanthropy will remain the primary vehicle for philanthropy in Ohio for years to come, these additional actors play important roles in addressing community issues all across the state.
After two years of careful planning, OGF’s board has begun the process of reaching out to connect all types of philanthropy in Ohio. We are creating new membership categories, making better use of technology, and in the months ahead, inviting others involved in philanthropy to consider the value of establishing closer connections with Ohio’s foundation community.
The board expects that the core of OGF’s membership, as well as the bulk of our programs and services, will remain focused on foundations and grantmaking. And we will always maintain the “safe space” for proprietary discussions of various groups of members; but since “some community issues are so ‘big’ that no one entity can solve them alone,” we want to help create the conditions and provide the infrastructure for Ohio philanthropy to achieve greater collective impact on the important issues of the day.
What better time for philanthropy to do this, than in an era of economic uncertainty, when resources are challenged and needs are increasing. OGF is about to embark on an exciting journey … one that will benefit both our members and the communities they know and love. Welcome aboard!