At a recent philanthropy conference, I joined a gathering of executives to discuss the question: "What's keeping us up at night?" Unfortunately I had a many part answer to that question. However, one of them is the idea of "catalytic and adaptive philanthropy", the idea that great philanthropy is much more than writing a check and sitting back and hoping that the grantee/partner achieves the desired impact. That we as funders need to take responsibility along with our partners for the metrics and impact. That we need to acknowledge every day that we don't have the answers, and that complex social problems need complex adaptive solutions. And that adaptive solutions only come from teams that are thinking and acting that way every day.
The level of work and engagement ahead is daunting. The team spends approximately 60% of their time "out in the field", and even still we are just scratching at the surface of building relationships, identifying and helping cross-sector networks, and getting smart about the multi-component systems strategies to tackling an issue. Not to mention that we are trying to do that in seven counties.