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Limited or Limitless? The (Transformative) Potential of Catalytic Philanthropy

Kate Williams 1% for the Planet

In 2009, Mark Kramer introduced the concept of catalytic philanthropy, describing how it differs from traditional philanthropy and how it can be used to effect lasting change. He writes, “catalytic philanthropists have used a variety of unconventional tools for social change, including corporate resources, investment capital, advocacy, litigation, and even lobbying.”

How can professionals across the impact investment, philanthropic, and private sectors use these tools effectively? In this workshop, we’ll focus on the opportunities and obstacles facing catalytic philanthropy.

The format of this workshop is a facilitated PESTLE analysis. PESTLE, which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental, is a tool that enables structured collaborative knowledge-building around the trends, obstacles, and solutions that may shape the future path of a particular topic or arena – in this case, catalytic philanthropy.

The starting thesis: catalytic philanthropy is, and can become, a more effective tool for driving impact. In this workshop, we will challenge ourselves to apply what we know to look ahead at the next 10 years, and consider what are the opportunities and obstacles?

For example, when considering social obstacles to catalytic philanthropy, one might think of the ways gender and race impact the field. Harvey Koh, in his article on the five “myths” that prevent catalytic philanthropy from reaching its potential, notes that “white-male-led asset managers control 98.6 percent of the investment industry’s over $80 trillion in assets under management.” How do social norms around who manages investments shape the future of catalytic philanthropy?

PESTLE analysis will be a useful format because we will be able to focus our knowledge and thinking around each of the six categories (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). We have created an energetic and interactive approach that enables us to tap the best thinking of every participant in the session. Specifically, after giving an intro and talking though some examples of catalytic philanthropy – including strategic corporate giving and blended capital approaches – the session will move dynamically through four sections:

1) The Salons: small groups will gather around each PESTLE component to develop an initial set of obstacles, solutions, and trends;

2) The Promenade: individuals will walk the “gallery” of flip-chart notes, adding their additional thoughts to each of the PESTLE components;

3) The Assembly: we will convene as a full group to ask clarifying questions and share a few observations; and

4) The Vote: each individual will have three dot stickers and will be asked to “vote” for the three (only three across all PESTLE components – radical prioritization!) items that they think are the most important to solve or accelerate in order to enable philanthropy to be as powerful as possible.

Track

Catalytic Philanthropy

Format

Workshop (Up to 3 Facilitators/Instructors)

Speakers

  • NameKate Williams
  • TitleCEO
  • Organization1% for the Planet
  • NameRobert Morier
  • TitleProfessor and Associate Director of External Relations
  • OrganizationDrexel University

Description

In 2009, Mark Kramer introduced the concept of catalytic philanthropy, describing how it differs from traditional philanthropy and how it can be used to effect lasting change. He writes, “catalytic philanthropists have used a variety of unconventional tools for social change, including corporate resources, investment capital, advocacy, litigation, and even lobbying.”

How can professionals across the impact investment, philanthropic, and private sectors use these tools effectively? In this workshop, we’ll focus on the opportunities and obstacles facing catalytic philanthropy.

The format of this workshop is a facilitated PESTLE analysis. PESTLE, which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental, is a tool that enables structured collaborative knowledge-building around the trends, obstacles, and solutions that may shape the future path of a particular topic or arena – in this case, catalytic philanthropy.

The starting thesis: catalytic philanthropy is, and can become, a more effective tool for driving impact. In this workshop, we will challenge ourselves to apply what we know to look ahead at the next 10 years, and consider what are the opportunities and obstacles?

For example, when considering social obstacles to catalytic philanthropy, one might think of the ways gender and race impact the field. Harvey Koh, in his article on the five “myths” that prevent catalytic philanthropy from reaching its potential, notes that “white-male-led asset managers control 98.6 percent of the investment industry’s over $80 trillion in assets under management.” How do social norms around who manages investments shape the future of catalytic philanthropy?

PESTLE analysis will be a useful format because we will be able to focus our knowledge and thinking around each of the six categories (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). We have created an energetic and interactive approach that enables us to tap the best thinking of every participant in the session. Specifically, after giving an intro and talking though some examples of catalytic philanthropy – including strategic corporate giving and blended capital approaches – the session will move dynamically through four sections:

1) The Salons: small groups will gather around each PESTLE component to develop an initial set of obstacles, solutions, and trends;

2) The Promenade: individuals will walk the “gallery” of flip-chart notes, adding their additional thoughts to each of the PESTLE components;

3) The Assembly: we will convene as a full group to ask clarifying questions and share a few observations; and

4) The Vote: each individual will have three dot stickers and will be asked to “vote” for the three (only three across all PESTLE components – radical prioritization!) items that they think are the most important to solve or accelerate in order to enable philanthropy to be as powerful as possible.

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