Underlying all of our initiatives is a commitment to multiplying the impact of high-performing leaders and organizations.

To make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people, it is not enough to fund promising programs or initiatives. It is also essential to equip leaders and their organizations to demonstrate excellence in all aspects of their work.

For that reason, we develop and distribute tools, lessons, and insights on best practices that will enable leaders and organizations to achieve an extraordinary impact—both in the field of global poverty alleviation and in the social sector as a whole.

Leading this work is Kim Starkey, President and CEO of King Philanthropies. Her life’s work reflects a vision of driving positive change by identifying and empowering leaders who can achieve outsized impact at scale. Kim teaches social sector strategy, leadership, and management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she contributes frequently to publications such as Forbes and Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Kim has also codified her vision of social sector excellence in the book Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector (coauthored with William F. Meehan III). In that book, the authors identify seven essential components of strategic leadership that set high-performing organizations apart from their peers. Together, these components form an “engine of impact”—a system that organizations must build, tune, and fuel if they hope to make a real difference in the world.

By sharing resources that emerge from such work, we aim to accelerate the ability of current and aspiring leaders to create significant, enduring change.

Essentials of Strategic Leadership

Organizational excellence depends on a capacity for practicing strategic leadership. This one-page overview describes seven essential elements of strategic leadership—seven areas of performance that determine an organization’s ability to achieve impact.
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Engine of Impact Diagnostic

To achieve significant impact, a nonprofit organization must excel in seven areas of strategic leadership. This tool enables nonprofit stakeholders to assess how well their organization performs in each of those areas and how ready the organization is to scale its work.
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Readiness to Scale Matrix

Before a nonprofit organization can achieve impact on a large scale, it must develop proficiency in all essential elements of strategic leadership. This visualization shows the different levels of scale-readiness that might apply to a given organization.
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For Friends of the Children, Black Lives Matter Is More Than a “Moment”

Friends of the Children, a high-performing nonprofit that works with disadvantaged youth across the United States, has turned its statement of support for the Black community into a program of real-world change.
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Persistence, Perseverance, Peak Performance

Much like star athletes, exemplary leaders in the social sector stand out for the dedication that they show over time and in the face of adversity. Part 3 of the Olympic Frame of Mind series.
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Managing Through Complexity With Team Of Teams: How One Acre Fund Exemplifies The Future Of Work

The emerging team-of-teams organizational model offers a way to organize people that aligns beautifully with the future of work, minimizing challenges that can arise from remote, dispersed, and digital work practices. One Acre Fund provides a stellar example of how to make the most of this model.
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A Discussion with John Hennessy, Former President of Stanford University

Bill Meehan and Kim Starkey discuss their book Engine of Impact at an event hosted by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. John Hennessy, former president of the university, leads the discussion.
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“The Engine of Impact” (Engine of Impact Series)

Bill Meehan and Kim Starkey explain the “seven essentials”— seven elements of strategic leadership that distinguish high-performing nonprofit organizations.
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A Discussion with Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin

Bill Meehan and Kim Starkey discuss their book Engine of Impact during Alumni Weekend at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). Jonathan Levin, dean of GSB, leads the discussion.
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