Funding changemakers and changing funding models

Funding changemakers and changing funding models

Because funding is a critical driver of social impact, a significant slice of Panorama’s work is about connecting philanthropic dollars to organizations working for change. But Panorama’s grantmaking approach elevates support beyond money, accelerating the pace of change.  

As you might expect, investment in Panorama funds helps donors find their way into complex issues and enable support for diverse organizations leading change. We also aim to ensure that our grantee partners and projects have the resources and support they need to do their work.

Before investing a single dollar, though, we create a strategy informed by need and opportunities to catalyze change so that our investments will have the most impact. Sometimes that means we fund work to reduce barriers; other times, we fill a critical gap. Where possible, we prioritize multi-year operating grants that nurture big picture thinkers and solutions.

Then, we go further.  

For every Fund we host on our platform, Panorama leverages its own expertise, operational capacity, and network to increase the speed, reach, and impact of our philanthropic investment.  

We help grantees develop shared strategies, establish systems and resources that foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, and we enable organizations to benefit from each other’s expertise.  

And, we center our giving both on organizations doing hands-on work to meet an immediate need and on initiatives focused on changing the bigger system over time.

Panorama’s funds are designed  to not only allocate resources, but also to advance entire fields. Dollars get where they need to go sooner, replication is replaced by multiplication, and strategic, sustainable change happens better, faster, and more comprehensively than ever before.

"Thank you for your partnership. I've never had a funder so genuinely interested and involved in our success and helping us to connect dots. I truly feel like this is a great opportunity and appreciate all that you do."

Dr. Kathryn Fox, Assistant Professor, Fox Lab

Removing the Roadblocks to Equity in Politics

Women comprise 51% of the U.S. population but only 30% of our country’s elected leaders so, in 2020, seed funding from Melinda French Gates’ Pivotal Ventures enabled the launch of The Ascend Fund to accelerate the achievement of gender parity in the U.S.

On its most basic level, Ascend aggregates capital and invests it in nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations that break down the barriers keeping women from elected office. In practice, though, it does so much more.

Like all Panorama funds, Ascend partners identified a single, clear strategic pathway to long-term impact and united grantees around this goal: increasing the number of women serving in elected office to 50% representation in all 50 states by 2050. Following investment in partners working nationally, we launched a three-state pilot that will inform future state-level efforts and ensure philanthropic dollars are doing the most good they can.

Panorama also enables partners to collaborate to maximize long-term impact. We established shared communications and data platforms, convened working groups, provided technical resources, and built connections among leaders, investors, and organizations. We also help grantees develop creative, collaborative approaches to dismantling underlying structural roadblocks that hold women back. As always, we keep a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion because more voices lead to better ideas.

The result: in 2021 alone, Ascend’s 12 grantee partners trained more than 16,000 women to run for political office. Of the women who trained with our partners and ran for office in 2021, 68% won their general elections. The national pipeline now includes more than 55,000 future women candidates. As we continue to accelerate the pace of change, our goal is to reach a level of self-sustaining parity that will ultimately render Ascend obsolete.

Providing Effective, Inclusive Mental Health Care for Youth

Adolescents of color and LGBTQ+ youth face significant barriers to accessing mental health care and services. The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, created in response to increased demand for care caused by COVID-19, was formed to support organizations serving these youth.

The aim of The Upswing Fund’s giving is to get critical funding to front-line organizations quickly yet responsibly so they can serve these communities. Upswing ‘Surge Capacity’ grants have helped partner organizations expand services swiftly and procure technology and telehealth resources rapidly to reach and serve youth immediately.

Not content to stop there, Upswing also keeps a lens focused on eliminating the systemic barriers to adolescent mental health care and addressing the longer-term problems that are contributing to the current crisis. Advised by a renowned panel of mental health experts, Upswing has made “Systems Enabler” grants to support forward-thinking organizations developing approaches to make more inclusive, resilient care systems. And the Fund released a report, based on input from partners that documented four systemic barriers to accessible, culturally responsive care along with actionable recommendations to close critical gaps.

Upswing partners are on the front lines of the recently declared national child and adolescent mental health emergency, elevated as a priority by the U.S. Surgeon General in December 2021. And, in the last year alone, the efforts of our 92 Upswing partners benefited more than 127,000 adolescents who otherwise would not have received services.

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