JENNIE CURTIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It has been my tremendous pleasure to direct the Garfield Foundation and work with its trustees since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001. A lot has changed over the past 15 years: When the Foundation first initiated the RE-AMP Network in 2004, there was virtually no philanthropic investment in social action networks, and we knew of no other instances of foundations supporting systems mapping as a tool to build shared understanding among stakeholders across a given field. On the other hand, it was commonplace for funders to support individual organizations or campaign coalitions as the primary means for achieving goals. Today, many in philanthropy, including some of the largest foundations, are engaged in social action networks, systems mapping is often deployed, and investing in network-based collaborations to achieve “collective impact” is a quickly gaining currency.
While much has changed, I’m pleased to say that what’s been consistent over the past decade is the spirit of innovation and willingness to take risks that infuse the Garfield Foundation’s culture, board, staff, and programs. We continue to adhere to our analysis that to solve the most difficult social and environmental problems, we must join with colleagues to build alignment of purpose based on shared understanding and deep collaboration over longer periods than is still typical in philanthropy.
As I look towards the future, I am inspired by the dedication of so many extraordinary leaders who acknowledge that business as usual is not going to get us to the solutions to which we all aspire and therefore are willing to engage in new strategies to solve complex problems. The Garfield Foundation is committed to doing its part to help build more shared knowledge around ‘how to’ facilitate deeply aligned, cross sector collaborations, and we are excited to learn from others who are engaged in similar endeavors. We are fortunate to work with so many excellent partners who share these values.