Key Points

· Many foundations have substituted process accountability for accountability for contributing to social change.

· While process accountability is important, it sets a floor, not an aspirational ceiling.

· There are tools—such as risk analysis, systems approaches, and game theory—that can help philanthropy engage in work on complex social problems that cannot be deconstructed into a series of small, linear projects.

· Seeking to extend basic human rights to more individuals around the world, seeking to reduce racism in a given city, or seeking to change publichealth norms in small town—all of these aspirations require first a willingness to take on challenges that defy short-term, causal, quantifiable results attributable to a best practice.

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