In their 2017 Founders’ Letter, Bob and Dottie King review highlights from the past year.
Underlying all of our efforts at King Philanthropies is a belief in the power of investing in people and then leveraging the connections that emerge between them. As we explained in our 2016 letter, our vision for confronting extreme poverty depends in part on embracing a new math: 1 + 1 = 3. The best way to generate outsized impact, in other words, is to foster collaborative relationships between talented people and between high-performance organizations.
Building and deepening relationships, particularly with grantees and other partners, was a hallmark of our work at King Philanthropies during 2017.
Read the full letter here.
Every recipient of a King Scholars award—either from Dartmouth College or the University of Wisconsin–Madison—has a powerful story to tell about the journey that has brought him or her to that institution. Consider Janel Consuelo Morales Perez, a young woman from the Philippines who will enter Dartmouth this fall as a King Scholar. Inquirer.net, a news site that serves people of Filipino descent around the world, profiles Perez in a recent article, “From Buting Elementary School to Ivy League.”
The article explores the inspirational influence that Perez’s mother, Cristina, has had on the young scholar, as well as Perez’s connection to Zholl Tablante, senior assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth, who is also from the Philippines. In addition, the piece covers Perez’s educational and professional goals—goals that align closely with the mission of the King Scholars initiative. “I want to focus on poverty alleviation through human capital development,” Perez says.
This week, CEO Kim Starkey Jonker moderated a panel at the 2018 Global Philanthropy Forum conference in Redwood City, Calif. The panel, “Building an Ecosystem: When Generosity Meets Strategy,” focused on the growth of philanthropy in Africa. In introducing and leading the session, Jonker drew both on her work at King Philanthropies, which sponsors ambitious programs in Africa, and on her work for the book Engine of Impact, which explores (among other topics) the nexus of generosity and strategy.
A post at the GPF website summarizes the session:
Strategy is a planned set of actions that enable you to achieve your goals. However, many organizations in the social sector have strategies that lack focus and spread their resources too thin. Kim Starkey Jonker, president and CEO of King Philanthropies, sat down with Valerie Dabady, manager of the Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department at the African Development Bank and Dikembe Mutombo, chairman and president of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, to discuss how philanthropists can effectively identify or build organizations with strong, targeted strategies. A former NBA player, Mutombo emphasized the importance of collaboration as a central part of strategy. “Anything you want to do in life, you have to understand you need to work as a team,” he said. Building on this, Dabady pointed out that knowing who to work with, and making the right partnerships for your organization is critical.
A complete video recording of the session appears below.
Online profiles show the wide range of ambitions and talents that mark the program's first cohort.
In February, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program announced that it had selected 49 students from 21 countries to form its first cohort of scholarship recipients. Recently, the program added to its website a new page titled “Meet the Scholars.” At this page, users can access a brief profile of each scholar. From Jani Adcock, an American who will enter a doctoral program in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford School of Engineering, to Asaf Zilberfarb, a citizen of Israel who will pursue a master’s degree in international policy studies at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, the roster of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars highlights both the impressive scale of these students’ achievements and the diverse array of academic fields that they will represent.
Last week, the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies(known as Seed) received a delegation led by Mahamudu Bawumia, vice president of Ghana. The delegation included leaders from that country’s information technology industry, and among the group were eight entrepreneurs who have completed the Seed Transformation Program(STP). Vice President Bawumia discussed a broad range of technology initiatives that the government of Ghana is now undertaking, and Seed executive director Darius Teeter spoke to the delegation about STP. (Accra, Ghana, is the site of the Seed Transformation Program in West Africa.) About 40 students from Stanford Graduate School of Business attended the gathering.
King Philanthropies leaders Kim Jonker and Bill Meehan are now contributors to Forbes.
To help spread the ideas set forth in their book Engine of Impact, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker have agreed to write a regular column for the Leadership section of the Forbes website. Every two weeks, they will post a brief, to-the-point article that leverages content from the book to shed light on current events and to offer practical insight for leaders.
The first entry in the series is a post titled “Philanthropists, Nonprofit Executives, and Board Members Must Awaken to the Dawn of the Impact Era.” It draws on recent developments in and around the social sector—the response to Hurricane Harvey, the decision by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to change its admission pricing policy, a new study on race and mobility in the United States—to illustrate the quest by nonprofit leaders to sharpen their focus on impact.
Meehan and Jonker argue that we are entering a new era—the Impact Era—and that nonprofits must rise to the occasion:
[T]he world of charitable giving is rapidly transforming as high-net-worth individuals turn their attention from the challenge of creating wealth to that of creating social impact. … The scale, timing, and focus of the portion of global wealth that will go to philanthropy in this era remain to be determined and are very much subject to influence—which is why nonprofits and their leaders must prepare themselves for this moment by earning the right to receive and leverage philanthropic investment.
You can access all posts for the Forbes column here.
How can nonprofit leaders tell if their organization has earned the right to scale? Kim Jonker and Bill Meehan offer tools to help answer that question.
Not all nonprofits are created equal, and not all nonprofits are equally ready to scale up their impact. In the last chapter of Engine of Impact, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker argue that there are different levels—and different kinds—of scale-readiness. They also present the Readiness to Scale Matrix, an analytical tool that enables users to evaluate whether an organization has reached a point where it not only has achieved an ability to scale its impact but also has earned the right to do so.
Now Stanford Social Innovation Review has published an article by Meehan and Jonker that encapsulates the core logic of the Readiness to Scale Matrix. Titled “Earning the Right to Scale,” the piece offers a brief overview of the seven essential elements of strategic leadership and then describes how an organization’s performance in those elements determines its placement on the matrix.
Although nonprofits remain unequal in their readiness to scale, all of them have a right—and, arguably, a duty—to optimize their performance in the context of how they are performing currently. To help nonprofit leaders gauge how ready their organization is to expand its impact, Meehan and Jonker created the Engine of Impact Diagnostic. This resource is, in effect, an interactive version of the Readiness to Scale Matrix, and it complements the SSIR article.
To read that article, click here.
In his first semester at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Lusayo Mwakatika stands out by winning a campus speech contest.
By Steve Barcus
What does it take to deliver a strong persuasive speech?
The CA 100 Speech Contest is a long-standing tradition that occurs each semester. Teaching assistants from each of the CA 100 sections submit speeches from their top students to compete in the competition. The field is vast for the competition, especially considering that last fall more than 700 students were enrolled in CA 100. From the students selected to participate in the competition, six went to the final round, with Mwakatika receiving the top honors.
Mwakatika’s speech was a persuasive piece, encouraging his peers to join the BRIDGE (Building Relationships in Diverse Global Environments) program, coordinated by International Student Services. Hailing from Malawi, Mwakatika joined BRIDGE last fall as a way to meet fellow students, acclimate to campus and the U.S., and build friendships. It affords U.S students with those same opportunities to connect with Badgers from around the world.
However, soon after joining BRIDGE, Mwakatika noticed a need for more American student to take part in the program.
“When I was in BRIDGE, I frequently heard from international students about the need for more American students to join the program,” Mwakatika said. “Many international students have been put on a wait list to join because there aren’t enough American students in the program.”
In an announcement, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program at Stanford University named its inaugural cohort of scholarship recipients. The group includes 49 students; they hail from 20 countries and will pursue graduate degrees in 28 departments at seven schools across Stanford. Bob and Dottie King made a $100 million gift to fund the King Global Leadership Program, a training and experiential learning curriculum in which all Knight-Hennessy Scholars will participate to complement their core degree studies. The Kings’ gift will also support scholars from less economically developed regions of the world.
In the announcement, John L. Hennessy, Shriram Family Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, explains the process for choosing scholars: “We have selected students who believe strongly in the pressing need for better leadership across all disciplines, and around the globe.” He adds, “There is a true optimism among this group that they can make a positive impact in the world, and that their time as Knight-Hennessy Scholars will help prepare them for that mission.” That focus on cross-disciplinary leadership and on making a “positive impact in the world” reflects the spirit of the Kings’ investment in the program.
A podcast featuring Kim Jonker and Bill Meehan.
“It’s one of those foundational books that only comes along every so often. It might even make a nice gift for someone.” So says Denver Frederick, host of the “Business of Giving” podcast, during his recent interview with Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker about their book, Engine of Impact. The podcast covers the challenge of focusing on organizational mission, the ins and outs of nonprofit board governance, and what it takes for an organization to “earn the right” to scale.
Over the Thanksgiving break, participants in the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth College visited Bob and Dottie King at the Kings’ house in Maine. All of the King Scholars hail from non-US countries, and every year the Kings invite a group of them to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving. This year, more than a dozen scholars joined the Kings for a festive dinner with all of the trimmings.
Pictured here are 14 King Scholars (clockwise from the back left): Rafael Alves de Lima, Anela Arifi, Huong (Bryce) Nguyen, Tyler Neath, Sayuri Miyamoto, Carolyne Musyoka, John Mbugua, Patrick Iradukunda, Loveridge Bere, Gustavo de Almeida da Silva, Jonathan Bonilla Toledo, Akwasi Akosah, Abigail Cameron, and Louis Murerwa.
Not pictured are 6 other current participants in the program at Dartmouth: Emmanuel Akosah, Eric Iradukunda, Cherrie Kandie, Faith Rotich, Seerat Zahra, and Linford Zirangwa. Brief profiles of all 20 scholars are available here.
John Hennessy, former president of Stanford University, interviewed Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker on Nov. 9, 2017, at an event to honor the publication of Meehan and Jonker’s new book, Engine of Impact. The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) hosted the gathering, which took place at the David and Joan Traitel Building, site of the new conference center of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This video (embedded here courtesy of PACS) shows the full interview as well as the audience Q&A session that followed.
A report on the Morgan Stanley website discusses remarks by King Philanthropies CEO Kim Starkey Jonker at the 7th Annual Social Impact Exchange Conference. The gathering, cohosted by Morgan Stanley and Social Impact Exchange, brought together leaders and thinkers from the social sector to explore issues related to “the breakthrough notion of systems change.”
Jonker, in her appearance at a panel session, focused on the rigorous and systematic approach that her team takes to the foundation’s grantmaking efforts. “We try to start with a fact base, and to say, ‘Where is it that we can actually have the most impact in global poverty alleviation?’” Jonker said during the panel. This approach to philanthropy, as the report notes, “requires [donors] to go beyond simply following their passions.”
On June 10, 2017, Robert E. and Dorothy J. King—the cofounders of King Philanthropies—received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College during the college’s annual commencement activities. On the eve of that event, they offered remarks on the vision that inspires their philanthropy. This video shows those remarks, followed by the commencement proceeding at which they received their degrees.
The full text of the citation that the Kings received for their degrees is available here.