Investing in long-term systemic change in the United States and Israel
Philanthropy has a critical role to play in addressing the most complex issues facing our society. While philanthropy cannot solve these problems on its own, it can work in partnership with communities, experts, civic institutions and governments to prioritize systemic issues, seed new approaches and take solutions to scale.
At Schusterman, our philanthropic work focuses on tackling systemic issues that require ongoing learning, long-term investment, multi-faceted approaches and a range of partners vested in identifying, creating and supporting solutions. We believe systemic change must happen at the individual, organizational, field and sector levels. That is why we fund both charitable and advocacy activities, and we also operate programs that develop leaders as key levers for driving change.
We bring both an entrepreneurial mindset and rigorous approach to our work that includes:
- Listening to the people and communities most impacted by the issue we seek to address;
- Learning from experts, research and previous attempts to solve a problem;
- Examining the root causes of an issue and gaps in the broader systems that impact it;
- Making long-term investments in leaders and organizations positioned to make an impact; and
- Adapting our approach as our understanding of an issue deepens and relevant conditions evolve.
We believe that effective philanthropy should use a range of approaches and inputs to address complex issues from multiple angles. The tools we use to drive change include:
- Making multi-year, capacity-building grants to key organizations in our portfolio areas;
- Operating and investing in programs that seek to develop strong leaders;
- Incubating and piloting new initiatives that fill gaps in a system and can be scaled;
- Convening and connecting organizations doing complementary work and building communities of practice to increase learning and collaboration;
- Investing in research and evaluation to inform our work and build knowledge in a given field;
- Working in partnership with other funders, community partners and public institutions to scale our investments; and
- Supporting advocacy work in the U.S., including engaging and working alongside governments to influence public policy on a wide range of issues.
When it comes to our grantees, we are willing to be the first in and to invest for long-term sustainability. We recognize the inherent power dynamic between funders and grantees, and we view our grantees as partners in the work and experts at what they do. That is why we often provide multi-year general operating support that enables grantees to think long term and execute a strategy that will best achieve our shared goals. We also provide robust assistance beyond our grants to build organizations’ capacity and deepen their expertise in a variety of areas, including evaluation and learning, communications, leadership and talent development, and more.
At Schusterman, we work hard to ensure our values are reflected in how we approach our work. We seek to foster a culture that blends a willingness to innovate, be flexible and take risks with a commitment to learning, due diligence and impact. We also strive to embed into our grantmaking our commitment to equity by fostering environments in which diverse voices and perspectives are heard and in which we are continuously improving our processes and policies.
Ultimately, we believe our multifaceted, dynamic approach will help us drive systemic change and contribute to building a more just and inclusive society.
Due to the increasingly strategic and focused nature of our grantmaking, we are not currently accepting unsolicited requests or proposals for funding. We work continuously to identify potential grant applicants through due diligence procedures and will request proposals from a limited number of organizations that fall within our current grantmaking portfolios.