Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A subgroup of volunteers from the Funders Forum has met to begin drafting what could become a “Proclamation” based on the ideas and perspectives that were presented by participants at the meeting this past July. Our work at this point has involved a review of the notes from our July meeting and some telephone and email discussions to develop a draft proposal of what we are referring to as principles and implementation strategies for the group to consider. These priniciples are neither formalized nor finalized and we will be presenting the draft to the entire group within the next two months.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As this group begins their work, we will be sharing their products via this blog... so keep your eye on this space!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
These two issues – implementing what we already know to be effective and doing so on a scale to benefit many people – are two of the biggest challenges to creating benefit through research. After considering our own history of grantmaking and listening to the experience of others, it’s clear that there are at least three interrelated conditions at the source of this difficulty.
- There’s lot of money for research but precious little to implement research findings.
- It’s nobody’s “job.”
- Most research is done in academic centers, whose incentives work against developing an idea far enough along for the findings to be put into a useable “product.”
Because these conditions are larger than Donaghue can change on its own, we are looking for opportunities to work with other funders. And although we aren’t spending a lot on new grants now, we are working to shape our grantmaking programs to be more focused on these issues. Maybe this involves starting with those who have the health care problems and then looking for research-based solutions. Maybe the research team should be a partnership with those who are ultimately the end users. And maybe, like Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone, we need to be willing to stick with one issue for several years in order to make real change.
But this is only my take on the topic – what’s yours?
Lynne Garner is Trustee and President of the Donaghue Foundation