Shifting Systems Initiative

In the face of increasingly complex global challenges, many philanthropic funders are reflecting on how to create transformational, systems-level impact. To help answer this question, a number of philanthropic organizations and ɫ launched the Shifting Systems Initiative in 2016. Over time, its Steering Group has included the Skoll Foundation, Ford Foundation, Porticus, Chandler Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Jasmine Social Investments. The initiative’s aim is to encourage funders to place longer-term, more adaptive resources with grantee partners to scale their solutions and impact and enable sustained, positive systems change.

The Shifting Systems Initiative’s mission has remained consistent over its lifetime: To examine when, how, and why certain solutions achieve system-level shifts, and to share the lessons and recommendations from those successes.

For those unfamiliar with systems change concepts in philanthropy, ɫ has created a topic brief that provides a basic overview and examples. And you can explore where you sit as a systems change funderby taking to better understand the degree to which your organization is systems-oriented in giving and program planning.


Key Reports and Research

This collection of publications highlights the challenges, wins, and recommendations for change.

The most recent publication, Evaluation of the Shifting Systems Initiative, features significant findings and key insights from the initiative’s 2023 evaluation, shedding light on the impact of the Shifting Systems Initiative and others in the field.

View all major publications here.


Event Recordings

The initiative has presented numerous webinars, workshops, and events over the past several years. With participation from systems thinkers, funders, non-profits and other partners engaged in changing systems, these recorded events highlight effective strategies for deepening engagement in systems change.

Access videos and learn more here.


Event Writeups & Articles

Find highlights of key takeaways and insights from systems change workshops and events around the world, including India, Colombia, Kenya, the United States and more.

Read more here.


Case Studies

Sourced from research for the initiative, these case studies can provide inspiration and valuable lessons for your own work.

View the case study library here.

Featured Case Studies