The article dives deep into the principles of emergent philanthropy, and how TCHF worked to co-create their strategy, funding and process with key stakeholders and grantees in Colorado’s school system.
One important lesson learned? When one funder shifts its funding approach to be more emergent, it can put a burden on grantees who are still responding to the more traditional expectations of their other funders. It’s also really hard for one funder to solve all the shifting issues in a complex system.
Enter collective emergent philanthropy – a process where multiple funders combine efforts to help solve a problem through an emergent approach guided by a systems-level collaborative.
By collaborating with other funding partners interested in addressing a systems issue at the outset, funders can:
Better focus a complex field by pooling and leveraging resources;
Disperse power and mitigate vested interests; and
Further strengthen and build partnerships to adapt to new challenges and continuously improve efforts.
When working to change complex systems it can be difficult for individual stakeholders to engage in authentic collaboration. This is neuroscience. We are all motivated to move away from perceived threats and toward perceived reward. Bringing multiple actors together to work toward a common goal can create conflict between doing what is best for the individual organization and doing what is best for the system.