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Spring Quarterly Membership Meeting & ICoF Annual Meeting: Systems Change and Being the Change

April 21 @ 10:00 am - 2:30 pm


Session Overview:

Many foundations are adopting new approaches for creating social change—approaches which aim to influence the actions and investments of the public and private sector, as well as address the complex conditions that hold social problems in place. Foundations involved in systems change can increase their odds for success by focusing on the least explicit but most powerful conditions for change, while also turning the lens on themselves.

Join us for a conversation with Directors from FSG as we explore two of their publications. First, we will discuss The Water of Systems Change, which offers the “inverted triangle” framework as an actionable model for funders and others interested in creating systems change, particularly those who are working to advance equity. Then we will look at Being the Change to learn about trends in the field and how foundations are applying their assets, knowledge, skills, networks, and people in new ways in order to create impact at scale and change systems. These reports complement each other and you will leave with an understanding of the six conditions of systems change and how your foundation may make shifts to best support this work in your community and/or in the systems you are working to affect.

We encourage you to read these articles in advance of the session and come prepared with questions and to engage in dialogue with your colleagues.

  • FSG’s article, The Water of Systems Change
  • FSG’s article, Being the Change

Learning Objectives:

  • Deepen your understanding of systems change
  • Provide space to reflect on how your foundation’s structures and systems can support systems change
  • Reflect on your role in supporting systems change
  • Hear examples of systems change work funders in Iowa are supporting
  • Explore 12 internal practices foundations have adopted to support their goals to advance systems change

Who should attend?

  • Foundation executives who support organizational culture and operations
  • Grantmaking staff who support grant programs and programming
  • Program staff who coordinate nonprofit networks and coalitions
  • Evaluation staff who track and monitor progress for the foundation and/or their community
  • Staff at new foundations that are establishing their grant programs and focus areas

Please join us – we think this session has something for everyone!

*Please note that each member is allowed one free registration, and the cost for additional registrants is $25.00

Our Speakers:

Joelle Cook, Director

Joelle brings an extensive background in evaluation and research to FSG, with a particular focus on evaluating complex advocacy and systems change efforts. Her experience has spanned many issue areas including: agriculture, global health, and U.S. education. As a director, Joelle co-leads FSG’s Strategic Learning and Evaluation practice.

During her tenure at FSG, Joelle has led a number of strategic learning and evaluation projects for dozens of U.S.-based philanthropies and nonprofits. These projects have included developmental, formative, and summative evaluations, strategic reviews, and creations of strategic learning and evaluation systems. Clients have included the Kresge Foundation, the Palix Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, and the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.

Prior to joining FSG, Joelle was a consultant with ORS Impact, a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, and a research assistant with the University of Washington. Joelle holds a MPA from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs and a BS in Political Science with a minor in Statistics from the University of Iowa.


Abigail Ridgway, Director

Abi is a director in FSG’s San Francisco office with over ten years of work experience in the health care and consulting fields. She focuses on strategic approaches to addressing complex population health challenges. Abi has worked with a number of leading health foundations and hospitals systems, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, The California Health Care Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. She has also helped build collective impact efforts to address childhood obesity, diabetes, and childhood asthma.

Prior to joining FSG, Abi worked in a variety of consultative and analytical roles improving health care delivery. Abi graduated with honors from the joint MBA and MPH program at UC Berkeley. She earned a BA, magna cum laude, in Economics from Dartmouth College and was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico.


April 21
10:00 am - 2:30 pm
Event Category:


Iowa Methodist Medical Center | Kelley Conference Room
1415 Woodland Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309 United States
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Kari McCann Boutell


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