Key Points

Learning from fellow grantmakers is imperative in today’s ever-changing world. In late 2016, four health legacy foundations partnered to launch the Health Legacy Collaborative Learning Circle, creating an opportunity to understand not just the participating foundations’ visible investments and programs, but also the underlying behaviors, structures, and mindsets that ultimately explain why certain results were or were not achieved.

This article describes the yearlong process of creating the collaborative, and presents a new learning framework — based on the iceberg metaphor — that can be used to create learning environments that test and expand assumptions about promising approaches to common population health challenges, explore organizational best practices related to programming and operations, and understand the roles and impacts peer health legacy foundations have in their communities.

For the learning circle participants, the process provided a new and valuable problem-solving tool that allows their organizations to have a more profound impact on the communities they serve. This article concludes with recommendations for how other foundations can create similar transformational learning journeys with their fellow grantmakers.

Open Access