Strategic Philanthropy Essays

This essay series celebrates the spirit of innovation and exploration that is central to the foundation’s venture philanthropy approach as we seek out programs, partnerships, and solutions that level the playing field for underserved youth.


Grantees seeking to scale their organizations, funders looking for positive models of peer collaboration, or board members hoping to build strong connections and effectively fulfill their obligations will find an essay of interest. Several of the essays focus on mentorship—our struggle to identify effective leaders and programs and an argument for a bold new approach to expanding mentorship opportunities. Strategic Inflection Point Funding provides insight into our focus on catalytic giving, strategic partnerships, and targeted problem solving. Many of the essays provide specific examples of each of these venture philanthropy funding strategies.

We do not suggest that we have concrete answers to difficult questions that all philanthropists face but, rather, this series is a glimpse into our thinking around how we approach some of these questions. We hope they will stimulate, provoke, and challenge you.


Promoting Informed Choice and Greater Transparency in Education Funding

Three investments that make critical school data transparent and accessible so that all families in New York can make better-informed choices.

As seen on The 74 Million

Be Bold

How can we most effectively address wealth inequality among our youth in a way that creates lasting impact?


A Call to Business Leaders: Become a Mentor

Mentoring is a guarantee in terms of effective interventions that can and do make an impact.

As seen on Inc.

CUNY: A Model for Expanding College Access and Success

If you care about social and economic mobility for underrepresented, low-income, and immigrant students, look at what J.B. Milliken has done to create a model of success at CUNY.

As seen on Philanthropy News Digest

Strategic Inflection Point Funding

Inflection point funding seeks to change the course of a young person’s life at a key juncture.

As seen on Philanthropy News Digest

Nurturing Nonprofit Boards: Funders Can Do More

As funders, it’s imperative that we support healthy organizations with strong and engaged boards.


Funding Structures for Social Profit

Foundation leaders can and should help prospective grantees understand that they can access an array of financial products similar to those used by for-profit companies.


Investing in Leadership & Mentorship

We are asking a lot of questions about leadership and mentorship.


Scaling Back on Scaling: Assessing Whether and How to Grow for Social Profit

The key to considering an organization or program’s potential to scale lies in asking the right questions.


Creating a Culture of Mentorship Among Young Professionals

Despite the trumpeting of mentorship programs by a large number of companies, too few know how to create a culture of mentorship.