Key Points

· The seven-year SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) initiative, created by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), aimed at systemically linking the pre-K and kindergarten worlds as a way to position vulnerable children for greater success in the early grades.

· At the foundation, the initiative served as a departure point for WKKF to move from its traditional grantmaking role to a changemaker role.

· To create change, a foundation must articulate – and commit to – a point of view about how change can occur. A theory of change can be a powerful tool to guide ongoing planning and action.

· A foundation that intends to create change must be prepared to take responsibility for results and create the internal structures that promote accountability and collaboration. The nature of the SPARK effort called for abandoning the silos of portfolio management and developing a new collaborative approach.

· Foundations must be prepared to advocate for change, and bring their visibility, credibility, knowledge, and convening power to it.

Open Access