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Bold Problems Require Bold Funders, Implementers, and Solutions: Results from Testing a New Philanthropic Model

At least 241 pledges have been made by philanthropists from 29 different countries to give the majority of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes or in their wills. Most of this money, however, remains on the sidelines despite the urgency of local, national and global social and economic challenges because would-be donors have no accessible, trusted, and reliable way to choose with confidence among charitable causes, organizations, and projects.

Lever for Change (LFC), a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation affiliate, has unlocked roughly $1.5 billion in the past four years through a new model of grant making designed to address barriers to bigger, bolder giving. Through the LFC model of customized competitions and donor cultivation/support, a space would be created where diverse and bold ideas for solving social problems could be developed and funded, transforming how high net worth donors engage in philanthropy.

In September 2019, TCC Group commenced work with Lever for Change to develop an evaluation system that would include a clear articulation of LFC’s theory of change, prioritize critical learning questions, and establish a set of processes to collect, analyze, and reflect on data for the LFC model. This paper shares where the model has had success as well as the areas that are still being tested as LFC continues to evolve its work.

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