Ecosystem philanthropy: a recipe for change

Problems do not exist in isolation. They are entwined in complex ecosystems. Changemakers must be mindful of the ecosystem, and whenever possible, put the ecosystem to work for them. Herein lies the roots of effective philanthropy.

Bush Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy hit these key points in her recent TEDx talk on ecosystem philanthropy. Her 18 minutes on stage were jam-packed with anecdotes and stories that highlighted the potential pitfalls of quick-fix problem solving that disrupts an ecosystem versus the benefits of longer-term, creative approaches that can change an ecosystem.

She surmised three elements of successful ecosystem philanthropy:

  1. Activate others. Ideas require people to power them. Determine who and what you need to make your idea happen. Go from there.
  2. Do. Wait. Watch. Be patient as you look for the change you want to see happening. Ecosystem philanthropy is not a quick-fix.
  3. Think long and lasting. Create a strategy for the long haul and alter conditions as needed.

You can watch her full talk below. It’s worth your time!