What is Fund for Shared Insight?
Fund for Shared Insight is a funder collaborative working to improve philanthropy, informed by insights from the people we serve. Shared Insight emerged from the belief that we as funders are most effective and can do more good in the world if we are more open to listening to, and acting on, feedback from the people we seek to help.
Shared Insight pools financial and other resources to provide grants, technical assistance, inspiration, and community-building through collaborative philanthropy. Our initial investments included grantmaking in three areas: foundation openness, supporting information-sharing efforts among funders; feedback practice, supporting initiatives to develop and improve feedback loops; and research, supporting the examination of how openness and feedback can lead to better results.
As Shared Insight continues to learn and evolve, we have narrowed our grantmaking focus, investing most heavily in our signature national initiative, Listen for Good, which supports the implementation of high-quality feedback loops at nonprofits serving diverse populations. We have also incorporated lenses of equity, diversity, and inclusion into our work.
How did Fund for Shared Insight come about?
Fund for Shared Insight launched in July 2014, after a year of exploratory conversations among small groups of funders around the country. Led by Fay Twersky, the then-newly appointed director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group, the meetings were meant to stimulate ideas around what role foundations could take in improving philanthropy. Even as the number and size of U.S. funding organizations were growing, the amount of funding for philanthropic-infrastructure groups or other efforts to assess and improve grantmaking remained relatively limited. A small group of initial funders decided together that the challenge would be best tackled through collaborative funding – bringing not only more dollars, but also more attention, to improving philanthropy.
At the start, seven funders joined together to form Shared Insight, focusing their efforts to make grantmaking more effective by promoting more openness and listening more closely to the people we seek to help. They set up a fund at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and by the fall of 2014, the group was making grants in the field, investing in information-sharing efforts, feedback-practice initiatives, and research around feedback loops. Since then, Shared Insight has grown to 78 funders making $21.1-million in grants to 184 nonprofits in the pursuit of more effective philanthropy. As Shared Insight continues to grow each year, it has solidified its commitment to incorporating lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work.