Looking to Our New Future: Funding Systems Change Effectively

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
10:30am - 12:00pm PDT
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We are living through an unprecedented, generation-defining moment, full of uncertainty. When this crisis passes — and it will — we will experience a moment of reckoning, where will confront a need to imagine a new world — one where everyone can thrive. The past few months have also underscored the failures of systems — from healthcare to social welfare to wage inequality and food insecurity — that exacerbated our current crisis. As we rebuild, we must ask ourselves how we will support those seeking to address these failures' root causes. We must look to the future and imagine a world of mutual interest and prosperity. We must not revert to a philanthropic mindset of treating symptoms. 

Join San Diego Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and Ashoka, for a conversation that builds on Ashoka's unique collaboration with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Skoll Foundation, and other colleagues to address how we can most effectively fund systems change. Based on the interviews with more than 130 social entrepreneurs and funders; it underlines the imperative for a new culture and philanthropy practice. Read more here.

Please us join to discuss: How are you working in partnership with social entrepreneurs to align funding, grant practices, and relationships to transform systems?

SDG Members: To register, please contact [email protected]


Nichole Hoeflich, Director of Programs, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (Moderator)

Nichole Hoeflich is a director of programs at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. As part of GEO’s program team, Nichole supports content planning and development for GEO conferences, remote learning opportunities, publications and other programming. Before joining GEO, she worked at the Center for American Progress as a Graduate Student Fellow with the K-12 Education Policy team. Prior to this, she taught high school social studies at Ivy Collegiate Academy, an international boarding school in Taichung City, Taiwan, where she also served as the dean of students and the social studies department chair.


Peter Zahn

Peter Zahn, CEO, Moxie Foundation

Peter Zahn brings three decades’ experience as a leader and innovator across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. An attorney by practice, entrepreneur by blood, and environmentalist by passion, Zahn has served in a range of capacities, including owner of a business law firm, Deputy Mayor of Solana Beach, California, founder of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, and a company CEO. Zahn cares about growing engaged and sustainable communities. He serves on Solana Beach’s Climate Action Commission; and the boards of Cleantech San Diego, the ZIP Entrepreneurship Platform at San Diego State University, City College of New York’s Zahn Innovation Center, and the clean technology Rocket Fund at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Zahn is forming a new philanthropic venture, Futures Unbound, which will be a successor to the Moxie Foundation.

Shivani Garg Patel

Shivani Garg Patel, Chief Strategy Officer, Skoll Foundation

Shivani Garg Patel has been a social entrepreneur, investor and advisor. Prior to Skoll, she was Co-Founder and Managing Director of Samahope, a non-profit that invested in local medical providers who provide critical medical care to women and children in poor communities around the globe. In 2015, Samahope joined forces with CaringCrowd.org, a platform for global health funding and awareness powered by Johnson & Johnson. Her technology-driven social innovation work has spanned the Grameen Foundation, World Bank and World Health Organization. She has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management.

Manmeet Mehta

Manmeet Mehta, Director, Program Operations and Impact, Ashoka U.S

Manmeet Mehta has more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and social sector, working on issues of improving access to philanthropic capital, strategy consulting, strategic philanthropy, and grantmaking. She founded GlobalGiving’s online crowdfunding program, “The GlobalGiving Accelerator" in 2007. The Accelerator was the first globally accessible mechanism for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to access funding from the $270 billion US philanthropic market. She has worked with funders like USAID, The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on developing a systems-driven strategy for finding and funding transformative solutions globally. She grew up living in many cities across India, holds an MBA, and a degree in Masters in International Relations and Public Policy from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY.

Michael Zakaras

Michael Zakaras, Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Ashoka U.S.

Michael Zakaras is Director of Strategy & Partnerships at Ashoka U.S. He is also co-founder of Ashoka’s ‘All America’ initiative which focuses on pushing the boundaries of social entrepreneurship beyond the traditional coastal circles. Michael has previously worked for Ashoka in Ireland and Central Europe, and has participated on selection panels for social entrepreneurs across the globe, from Montreal to Warsaw to Istanbul. He has a particular interest in food and agriculture policy, criminal justice reform, and more democratic economic models, and writes regularly about these issues and more on Forbes online. He grew up in Brussels, has worked in the California wine industry, and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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