Injecting Innovation Into Your Philanthropy

Presented by:

Gabriel Kasper, senior manager, Monitor Institute

Justin Marcoux, senior consultant, Monitor Institute

Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation,
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Sarah Koch, director of social innovation, Case Foundation

Moderated By:

Eric Nee, managing editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Time: 11:00am–12 noon PDT, 2:00pm–3:00pm EDT

Over the last decade, many foundations have begun to lose their appetite for risk and experimentation in favor of safer, more proven, and incremental investments. But a small group of funders has begun to deliberately seek out and support high-risk, high-reward innovations with the potential to create real breakthroughs on our most intractable social problems.

In their recent SSIR article, “The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation,” Gabriel Kasper and Justin Marcoux of the Monitor Institute tell the stories of a number of these “innovation funders,” and explore the ways that supporting breakthrough innovation differs from more traditional grantmaking. And they offer up practical suggestions to help funders get started on integrating innovation into their own philanthropy.

In this webinar, Kasper and Marcoux will share the processes and practices that help innovation funders incorporate a greater degree of risk-taking, experimentation, and flexibility into their work. They will be joined by Brian Quinn of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sarah Koch of the Case Foundation, who will give first-hand accounts of the approaches that their foundations are using to deliberately seek out and support transformative change.

This webinar is for philanthropists and grantmakers who are ready to take risks and think outside the box when it comes to tackling social problems, and for nonprofit leaders who want to want to encourage innovation in funding.

Thanks to the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this webinar is complimentary.

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Speaker Biographies:

Gabriel Kasper is a senior manager at the Monitor Institute, a consultancy and think tank focused on philanthropy and social change that operates as part of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He has spent nearly two decades thinking about the future of philanthropy and helping funders develop new approaches to increase their effectiveness in a rapidly changing global context. He has led numerous national initiatives focused on innovation and emerging philanthropic practices, and has co-authored the Monitor Institute publications What’s Next for Philanthropy, On the Brink of New Promise, Intentional Innovation, and Working Wikily. Prior to joining the Monitor Institute, Kasper served as a program officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and as a manager of neighborhood programs at the Berkeley Community Fund.

Justin Marcoux is a senior consultant at the Monitor Institute, a consultancy and think tank focused on philanthropy and social change that operates as part of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He focuses broadly on innovation in philanthropy, exploring ways to find and fund new ideas across a diverse array of issues with forward-thinking foundation leaders. In addition, he is leading several initiatives related to What’s Next for Community Philanthropy, a year-long Monitor Institute project focused on the future of place-based change. Marcoux was previously at Cambridge Associates, where he worked with foundations, nonprofits, and universities on investing their endowments. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Boston College (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude), where he wrote a prize-winning thesis on socially responsible mutual funds. You can follow him on Twitter @jmcoux.

Brian C. Quinn is assistant vice president for Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He brings an extensive background in health policy analysis and innovative program development to his current role, where he collaborates with the vice president for Research and Evaluation to lead a team dedicated to understanding and measuring the key health care issues. He also works to assess the Foundation’s organizational performance, the team’s strategic and tactical decisions, and oversee daily operations. Quinn holds a Ph.D. in health services and policy analysis from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sarah Koch is director of social innovation at the Case Foundation, which invests in people and ideas that change the world. Koch heads up efforts around Be Fearless, a campaign that encourages experimentation in the nonprofit sector, civic engagement, and global entrepreneurship. With a background managing online nonprofit campaigns with, Koch also leads programs related to technology for social good and using prizes and challenges to foster innovation. Koch earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish from Luther College. She has worked with Latin American immigrants in the areas of culturally competent education and healthcare.

Eric Nee is the managing editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review, published by the Center of Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University, and co-host of the Social Innovation Conversations podcast channel. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the publishing industry, most of it covering the high-tech industry. Before joining Stanford, Nee was a senior writer for Fortune magazine in the Palo Alto, Calif., bureau. He also helped Time Inc. launch eCompany Now (where he was executive editor), which later merged with Business 2.0. Before joining Fortune, Nee launched Forbes magazine’s Silicon Valley bureau, where he was bureau manager. He also served as editor-in-chief of Upside magazine for close to five years.

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