Networks as a Strategy to Advance Foundation Priorities


Networks as a Strategy to Advance Foundation Priorities

About the Workshop

The workshop is designed for foundation board members, leadership and program staff to better understand what intentional community change networks are, their unique features, their purposes, and how foundations can use this approach to more effectively advance their strategic priorities. The workshop facilitators will begin by introducing intentional change networks by covering topics such as: 

  • What is a network and how is it different than a collaborative or coalition?
  • What are the key features of effective networks and what supports do they need?
  • Why are networks becoming a key tool for foundations to advance their strategic priorities?
  • How are networks being used today in communities?
  • How does leadership look different in a network?
  • How do networks stimulate community innovation and citizen engagement?
  • Why are networks so effective at creating new partnerships and collaborations?

The workshop will then focus the remainder of the time on recommendations for funders, based on the lived experiences of funders seeking to use networks to advance their strategic priorities. The facilitators will lead a discussion with participants focused on:

  • First,  invest in building community capacity to establish the foundational conditions and capacities for community networks to emerge and thrive;
  • Recognize the different strategic purposes of networks – stimulating innovation and collaboration, bringing community together, creating community capacity for future challenges;
  • Complex community change initiatives (CCIs) require 1)  an organizing framework such as networks that must be tailored to local conditions, and 2) technical assistance to support messy work;
  • Foundations are well advised to invest in their own learning and Internal change to culture and relationships to support networks. Be prepared to acknowledge your own need to learn alongside your grantees and be authentic in your own learning process.


Click here to download the Synopsis of the workshop: Workshop Synopsis