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How Foundations Can Make Progress on Long-Term Social Change Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Unusual opportunities can advance long-term goals of building more just, equitable societies

In the report “Shaping Inclusive Markets” from FSG and The Rockefeller Foundation, I and other authors found that some of the most significant progress in creating sustainable and equitable market systems has come during crises. Amid the responses to COVID-19, there are also opportunities for innovative solutions that can further the vision of equitable societies that serve all of their members. To identify, create, preserve, and augment these steps toward more just systems, civil society must support and expand the efforts beyond the immediate response to this crisis.

Foundations have a particularly important role to play. There are more than 260,000 of them around the world. They command roughly $1.5 trillion in assets and spend more than $150 billion a year, according to the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University. At FSG, we have partnered with dozens of foundations that are working toward a more equitable world by changing the practices, regulations, and informal norms that make up complex social systems, from business markets to health care to education. Based on this experience, here are three steps foundations can take to play an important role amid a crisis to bring about lasting, positive change:

  1. Use New Crisis Responses to Reassess Old Systems | To further the long-term goals of equitable and inclusive social systems, foundations need to identify and explore the innovative solutions taken in response to the pandemic that may be worth continuing beyond the end of the crisis.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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