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Key Points

Editor’s Note: This article, first published in print and online in 2016, has been republished by The Foundation Review with minor updates.

This article argues that a foundation’s internal culture is critical to achieving large-scale social change, but that efforts to build a changemaking culture too often are left out of strategy conversations.

While there is no one culture that suits every foundation, a particular set of characteristics must be present in those that seek largescale social change: a focus on outcomes, transparency, authenticity, collaboration, racial equity and inclusion, continuous learning, and openness to risk.

This article offers insights into why culture can be challenging for foundations to address and maintain, examines cases of successful culture change at foundations, and offers advice for foundations that aspire to it.

Open Access