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Six pathways to enduring results: Lessons from spend-down foundations

Susan Wolf Ditkoff

This discussion paper, based on The Bridgespan Group’s experience in philanthropy advising, charts six pathways that spend-down foundations and philanthropists have used to magnify their influence:

  1. investing in the people who will become the field’s future leaders,
  2. building the capacity of powerful institutions and networks to continue making progress,
  3. influencing other philanthropists,
  4. funding proven programs that create lasting results,
  5. supporting pioneering research to develop new solutions, and
  6. changing government policies.

Choosing the right pathway is a complex decision. For each pathway, this paper describes how philanthropists came to their own choices and offer tips on how to align your own giving with the path that best accommodates your goals.


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