Talent for more innovative, more impactful philanthropy

This article originally appeared on the Rockefeller Foundation blog on 29 September 2014. The original article can be found here.

By Chris Grygo

Last October, The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the Council on Foundations, convened twenty foundation leaders from sixteen countries for a three-day symposium on “Talent Management for Innovative and Impactful Philanthropy in the 21st Century”. The event initiated an important dialogue on the evolving challenges and the urgent need to more actively cultivate people and talent within the global philanthropic sector.

That conversation is reflected and broadened in a special feature on “Talent for Philanthropy” within the September 2014 edition of Alliance magazine. It is perhaps best captured by the guest editors who wrote, “if global philanthropy is to prosper and achieve great things in the future, the sector must dramatically change the way it views, deploys, and invests in people and talent” (p.27).

From that provocative point of departure, articles grapple with questions about what kind of talent is needed to best enable philanthropy to maximize its impact on the lives of beneficiaries, and where to source that talent. The authors explore how to develop professionals who excel at building and leveraging networks; learn from one another and those in adjacent sectors; and harness their full diversity and inclusivity to co-create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

A major theme of the special feature is that employee engagement is inextricably linked to organizational excellence, and in need of much more attention from big and small foundations alike. Engagement is a powerful but often overlooked strategic lever for enabling and sustaining organizational success.

Alliance’s special feature on “Talent for Philanthropy” is sure to open further dialogue on the topic, and The Rockefeller Foundation looks forward to that ongoing conversation.


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