System Change Agents: A profile of elite grant-making foundation engagement in public policy

Peter R. Elson, Sara Hall


This study profiles the engagement of elite Canadian grant-making foundations in public policy.  There is a growing realization by public and private foundations alike that downstream community issues are not isolated from upstream policy and regulatory practices. Engagement in this context has been measured across five policy streams: policy research and issue identification; policy entrepreneurship and convening; policy advocacy; policy implementation; and policy evaluation and impact. Themes emerging from this research include: 1) a migration from program into policy engagement; 2) the utilization of multiple soft and hard policy tools; 3) simultaneous engagement across multiple policy streams; 4) engagement with both systems and agents; 5) engagement in policy implementation; and 6) a long-term commitment to a focused policy issue.


Grant-making Foundations, public policy, Canada

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