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DOI

10.9707/1944-5660.1517

Key Points

In 2014, the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment made a significant shift in focus to supporting adaptive rather than programmatic solutions to address critical health issues, and adopted a new approach that emphasized engagement with key stakeholders, recognizing the importance of contribution over attribution and requiring a long-term perspective on outcomes.

The endowment identified three new “changemaker” roles for itself, alongside new funding mechanisms and a set of conditions where positive change could be supported to influence health. While changemaking began as a description of the endowment’s strategic direction, today this philanthropic philosophy permeates all that it does.

This article discusses how the endowment experimented with a new model of creating change, ultimately translating new knowledge from national thought leaders and aligning it with its own experiences to create a path that continues to guide the endowment’s work. This article also shares lessons for other funders seeking to identify how to deepen their engagement and drive true systemic change.

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