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Theses Master's

Resourcing Global LGBTI Movements: Systems Philanthropy for Social Justice

Heman, Ryan

Foundations seeking to have an impact on the most intractable of problems have spent the last half century experimenting with ways to become more strategic in their efforts. Though commendable, the resultant growth of the strategic philanthropy movement has instead become self-limiting, too often unable to grasp the true complexity of social change and therefore remaining inadequate to address it. In response, this thesis reviews the expanding literature of systems thinking, specifically excavating the contribution of social systems methodologies to the design of philanthropic portfolios. Global foundation grantmaking regarding the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) communities is presented as a praxis in this respect. Comparing the theory of systems philanthropy with the evolving practice of LGBTI funders demonstrates the extent to which complex problems require a less rigid approach—one more attuned to the lifecycle of emergent solutions, a networked landscape, and the necessity of strategic decisionmaking being located on the frontlines rather than in the boardroom.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Braun, Rainer
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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