Roles & Responsibilities
It is important at the outset to set stringent guidelines to shape the future. Determining donor intent and supporting the foundation’s mission are the first steps in setting the foundation’s strategies. Having grant-making strategies defines the foundation’s areas of giving and outlines the types of grants the foundation makes. Having defined a planning process, the mission is translated into goals and strategies that can be accomplished and measured. The planning process is the link between the foundation’s mission and its vision. In order for the foundation to achieve its goals it is important to eliminate confusion regarding responsibilities and is therefore essential to prepare and adhere to written job descriptions.
How We Invest
By clearly defining our mission and creating measurable goals within each of our grantmaking areas, we seek to find the most committed and progressive organizations with whom to create lasting partnerships. Our grants are not simply donations. Rather, they are investments with our partners to achieve the goals we share. We always consider where and how our investments can create the most impact and we focus our efforts on those areas of need.
We are constantly seeking to listen and learn, receiving guidance from the world’s leading experts on neurodegenerative diseases, worldwide education gaps, and global development concerns. We obtain as much information as we can and find the areas where we can make a meaningful difference. Once we commit to an area of need, we define our major goals and identify a clear path to achieving them.
The global issues we focus on are wide-ranging, complex and protracted. They are issues that truly effect the entire globe and will only be solved by a global community addressing them together. All of our work involves the collaboration of many different teams of people working toward a common goal. We seek to maintain constant transparent communication and foster honest feedback to ensure maximum adaptability to the always shifting landscapes within which we work. We want to push for new solutions, harness the power of emerging science and new tech, and move the boundary of what we consider to be possible.
In each of our divisions, we do our best to define goals and strategies up front. In many cases during the foundation’s history, strategies have emerged from successful partnerships. These partnerships have helped to guide us in defining strategies for the future. We send out annual questionnaires to collect as much data as we can on the work of our partners. We constantly monitor the progress of many of our projects and try to compare data across the field. We define metrics at the outset of a new project and check them with our goals as often as possible. We always want to be able to course-correct and shift the specifics of our strategies as new data reveals itself.
The majority of our investments are created by internal research and outreach. While we do receive some requests and grant applications, by in large, our donations go to organizations we seek out and choose mostly because they align with our goals and strategies.
Before we invest in an organization or project we do as much research as possible. This research is shared across the team. New projects and organizations are discussed at length. We then set up a meeting or introductory call with the organization in question to hear first-hand how they operate, what they are striving to achieve, where is their greatest need and how we might be able to collaborate.
Depending on how the discussions go at this stage, we begin to develop the specifics of the investment. This includes an analysis of how much to give, where to direct the funds, length of the partnership, and process of maintaining open lines of communication.
Our investments are structured based on an assessment of need, level of impact, and duration of project. We work dynamically with our budget each year to maximize our giving and specify how much we want to donate to our three core objectives. We believe that each grant is unique and we assess accordingly. Some grants are more general while others are extremely specific, time-sensitive and dynamic, so we try to assess and structure our grants on a case-by-case basis.
While our strategies for evaluation are in their early stages, we strongly believe in its importance. We want to measure what matters and make decisions analytically based on the data we are able to collect. In this regard, we look to The Gates Foundation as a role model for best practices in evaluation.
The Gates Foundation defines evaluation as:
“The systematic, objective assessment of an ongoing or completed intervention, project, policy, program, or partnership. Evaluation is best used to answer questions about what actions work best to achieve outcomes, how and why they are or are not achieved, what the unintended consequences have been, and what needs to be adjusted to improve execution. When done well, evaluation is a powerful tool to inform foundation and partner decision making about how to optimize scarce resources for maximum impact. It is distinct from other forms of measurement that focus only on observing whether change has occurred, not why or how that change occurred.”
With our three core investment areas, we have defined our goals and listed all potential measurable metrics with which to evaluate success. Additionally, we do the same with each individual partner we have. In this way, we create overall goals and metrics for our foundation as well as specific goals and metrics with each of the projects we support. Ideally, we are able to see that the specific metrics are working to support the goals of the larger foundation as a whole.
Evaluation and data collection can be difficult, time-consuming and riddled with bias. It is our goal to collect and evaluate information through various means (questionnaires, financial statements, trial results, global reports, government findings, etc…) and use that information to guide our investments. We also recognize that different issues require different evaluations and there is not and should not be a one-size-fits-all formula for each project.
Code Of Ethics
The Foundation for a Better World’s members (all board members and staff) are aware and are respectful of the founder’s intentions, mission, vision and ways of operating and are committed to upholding these standards.
We advocate, champion and see that our mission is achieved.
We act with honesty and fairness in all endeavors and with due respect to the funds entrusted upon us, seeing that each donation achieves its objective.
We promote a working environment that values respect, fairness and teamwork.
We are aware and conscious that we are part of a philanthropic entity and recognize that the foundations integrity begins and is measured by each individual’s integrity
We follow and comply with general best practices and general laws governing private foundations.