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SIX funders retreat on aligning for impact

Location: Canada
Published Date: 11 September 2017

In August 2017, SIX hosted a retreat with 20 global philanthropic leaders on Aligning for Impact. The retreat drew on the latest global thinking and practice and provided opportunities for peers to support each other.


The retreat was provided courtesy of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s leadership on behalf of their partnership with BMW Foundation, Breuninger Foundation, McConnell Foundation and Community Foundations of Canada.


The retreat focused on the changing role of foundations, why foundations need to align, different frameworks and aides for action to align and provided opportunities for peers to support each other through current or emerging challenges.


This retreat is part of a series of meetings of the SIX Funders node. The SIX Funders Node is a global collective of more than 60 foundations who support each other to be more strategic and more innovative in their approach and practice. 


About the retreat:


The challenges we are facing are growing larger in scale and gravity. From climate change to the refugee crisis to growing inequality across the world, we know that we need to work in new and different ways. The political, social and economic uncertainty facing the future requires a change in how we work, both internally and externally.  


Foundations are positioned to play a unique role in addressing these challenges. They can take the long view, invest first-loss capital into important innovations, bridge gaps in seed-funding or scale-funding, convene diverse stakeholders, or partner across sectors. No matter their role, however, no single organisation is equipped to fight these challenges alone, making it more important than ever to understand or find alignment between our efforts.


Are our efforts complementary, conflicting, redundant, or unrelated? How do we better align to increase our impact? Should more foundations better work together and respond quicker to today’s urgent challenges and be better prepared for tomorrow's?


This retreat supported funders focused on understanding why and how to align to achieve greater impact.


We dove deeper into the opportunities and challenges that come with alignment, as well as different frameworks and tools that effectively support both funder and cross-sector collaboration and collective action.


We learnt from real case studies, practical strategies and methods, implications internally for organisations and explore how to bring more funders along externally.


Our learning and insights - what comes next? 

SIX will be producing and sharing our learning and insights from the retreat later in 2017 including: 



  • A wrap-up of the retreat to share with colleagues 

  • Why we focused on alignment

  • The challenges and painpoints of alignment 

  • Stories of alignment 

  • Helpful resources to get to alignment - a collation of different frameworks, methodologies, techniques or practices 

  • A piece on the changing role of foundations in this new era 

  • And burning questions still to answer and further areas for inquiry (which will be published later in October)



Get in touch with Jordan if you want to learn more at jordan@socialinnovationexchange.org