Featured in the September issue of SVA Quarterly, Caroline and Seri were interviewed about ten20 Foundation’s journey. ten20 shared our story and lessons learned. Here are extracts from the article.

Since transforming from service delivery organisation to catalytic funder, ten20 Foundation has been on a steep learning curve. ten20 shares its story and what its learnt about funding collective impact initiatives to bring about systems change.

Article Summary:

  • ten20 Foundation describes its journey to become a catalytic funder of early childhood collective impact projects to bring about systems change.
  • The national initiative, Opportunity Child coordinates learning and change amongst the six participating partner communities and has developed a shared goal to align partners and communities around results.
  • ten20 Foundation funds qualifying partner communities to build capacity and also to quickly address unexpected obstacles
  • Learnings from the journey include: that affecting systems change is hard because it involves behaviour and organisational change; the importance of listening to the community; and how to leverage other funds and build local ownership and sustainability.


Lessons about being a catalytic funder:

1. Changing the conversation is hard work

“To change the way the system works, you need to change practices and mindsets at every level, individual, organisational, in the local community, and policy and government “

2. Listening to community

Renkin reflects, “We failed to appropriately listen and understand where that community was at; as funders we let that community and ourselves down. We’re grateful to them for respecting our learning ground and being the guinea pig. It was a critical experience for us.”

3. Building local ownership and sustainability

“We realised that we can catalyse backbone infrastructure, but it’s important for us to exit and let local people and organisations – the local stakeholders – step in and lead their change”

4. Leveraging the investment

“A good example is Logan Together, the Queensland urban community where we leveraged our seed funding at a ratio of 1:20 which really gave them the platform they needed,”… ten20 committed $100,000 per annum for five years. This led to a significant commitment from the Queensland and Federal Governments, as well as other philanthropists such as the Dusseldorp Forum.

5. The capacity building required is the same no matter the social issue

“We are all asking the same strategic question, whether we’re working in early childhood or juvenile justice. How can we scale up the new funding models that are critical to enable others to engage?”

6. The role of philanthropy in terms of influence and advocacy

“This underscores our interest in finding places or spaces where we can work with others in the system,” explains Chernov. “One funder alone is not going to get the systems change needed so it’s really important that we work nationally and locally with the other voices around this.”


What’s next for ten20?

“We continue to fund and support conditions for local collective impact work, and in addition, are placing increasing emphasis on partnering with other funders for knowledge capture and systems shift around funding conditions,” says Chernov.

Renkin affirms, our greatest learning is that catalytic philanthropy must continue to play a role in seeding the conditions and capacity for early childhood systems change. “So, we continue to support Opportunity Child and remain focused on addressing the broader funding barriers that prohibit, rather than advance, these emerging community initiatives in Australia.”


>>> Read the full story and listen to a podcast of the interview on SVA Quarterly

Harwood value proposition: “If you Turn Outward and make more intentional judgments and choices in creating change, you will produce greater relevance and impact in your community.”

At the ten20 Foundation, Woodside Energy, FRRR and Philanthropy Australia we recognise we need to shift our ways of working and thinking to solve the complex social problems we have in Australia.

Such a shift requires a change of mindset and practice to place communities, each with their unique contexts and experiences, squarely at the centre of any change effort.

This requires both dedication and hard work.  We are challenging long-held assumptions around how we work, and we are open to fresh ways of thinking and partnering so we can create new and more effective solutions.

As a result, we have come together as a small group of funders and invited The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to conduct its Public Innovators Labs in Australia.

These labs are internationally recognised for supporting leadership in Turning Outward – working with diverse groups of community and cross sector stakeholders to build the foundations for the mindset and practice shifts we need for success. Rich Harwood brings to the Labs practical, hands on experience of Australian communities ensuring learning is tailored to our cultural context.

We are proud to join with Woodside Energy, FRRR and Philanthropy Australia with in-kind support from Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia, to host Rich Harwood and his colleagues.  We hope you will be able to join us on this change journey.

Follow this link for event details and booking: https://ten20.com.au/index.php/harwood-public-innovators-labs-australia/

Our Managing Director, Seri Renkin, presented the 30th annual WJ Craig lecture on Friday, October 21 in Melbourne, with a speech entitled ‘The art of how: Intergenerational disadvantage and collective impact’. Here is the full text of her speech.

Before I start, I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are gathered and pay my respect to their elders past and present.

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this year’s WJ Craig lecture – it is indeed a privilege to recognise the great philanthropic work started by WJ Craig more than a century ago. Read more “Seri Renkin presents 30th annual WJ Craig lecture”

Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation, describes how our new Funders Roadmap, co-designed with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in the US, has been developed to ‘de-risk’ funders’ and communities’ investment in innovative collective impact work.

At the ten20 Foundation, we advocate for new thinking, different answers and a more efficient use of resources to create opportunities for everyone in our community. We can see that community leaders and organisations around Australia are increasingly wrestling with questions about how to address the underlying conditions in our society to enable change to occur – and find the support they need to work together for progress. We believe new forms of funding are key to catalysing, convening and sustaining the knowledge creation, learning networks, and changes in practice and mindset required for real transformation to happen.

The ten20 Foundation recognises that people-centred approaches are critical to addressing complex problems and place-based disadvantage. National and state policies and philanthropic approaches must enable solutions that are relevant to people living in unique community contexts. Read more “Creating a pathway for funders and communities to work together”

Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation, on how our collaboration with key partners such as Rich Harwood of the Harwood Institute is designed to shift the focus of the Australian philanthropic sector towards large-scale, long-term systems change.

mainstreamAt ten20, we want to see collective impact investments and catalytic philanthropy move from the margins to the mainstream. It is new territory for many philanthropists in this country, but we aim to help guide the sector towards a new approach that we are certain will benefit investors, vulnerable children and society at large. Read more “Moving catalytic philanthropy to the mainstream”

Recently Liz Gillies, Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre at the Melbourne Business School, visited the ten20 Foundation offices to film a series of video podcast interviews.

In this video podcast with Seri Renkin, Managing Director (formerly CEO) of the ten20 Foundation, Liz and Seri discuss what smart philanthropic investment in early childhood outcomes looks like. Read more “Video: Smart investment in early childhood outcomes”

t1Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation, on how place-based, collective impact initiatives contribute to long-term systems change, and how the Opportunity Child initiative – ten20’s key collective impact investment – is gaining momentum in this space.

At the ten20 Foundation, we know that local conditions are different in every community. Because of this, we also understand that national and state policies and philanthropic approaches must create the conditions for solutions that are relevant to people living in unique community contexts. Each unique community requires a long-term, place-based approach to build their own community leadership, alignment and governance, so that the community own and drive their own outcomes specific to their particular needs.

Working with others to co-create new models for shared learning and impact in the early childhood system is the singular focus of the ten20 Foundation. We’ve invested significantly to build the infrastructure and ecosystem that will allow the ‘how’ of collective impact to grow, flourish and remain accountable to its goals.

Innovation isn’t new in the field of early childhood development, nor in philanthropy itself. But if we want to make long term systems change, innovation in small pockets isn’t enough – we need to innovate across organisations, sectors and, indeed, geographies.

Opportunity Child initiative gaining momentum

Opportunity Child is ten20’s key ‘collective impact’ investment – and it is rapidly building momentum. In a little under two years, ten20, along with co-convenor Woodside and our other partners, has generated tremendous support and energy for this collective initiative.

Opportunity Child brings together six partner communities who are all applying the collective impact approach, along with eight leading national partner organisations who are aligning their contributions. As a collective, Opportunity Child is focused ultimately on improving the lives of the 65,000 five-year-old children who start school each year in Australia with big challenges in learning and in life.

The first step towards this goal is to create positive change for children in the six Opportunity Child partner communities, as well as starting the important innovation work with other like-minded leaders and organisations to change the system nationally. The issue we are working on – early childhood vulnerability – is global in scale and importance.

Rethinking early childhood investment

ten20 continues to work with its partners to change the pathway for vulnerable children, by rethinking how we invest. This is not based on some warm, fuzzy notion. On the contrary, there is significant evidence that investing in the health and wellbeing of children – particularly young children aged 0-8 – has huge economic benefits. By investing in early childhood, we can stop issues before they start. The connections from birth to pre-school to reading proficiency to high school completion – a bare minimum in today’s economy – could not be clearer.

We are developing an approach to ‘de-risk’ systems change investments for investors and prove that the community driven, collective impact model is socially and economically viable. This is not an alternative to grant making – but rather a complementary approach that moves beyond ‘giving away money’ to actually aligning with others to solve social problems. The really smart investors right now know that you have to do both – invest in the capacity for change, as well as in specific programs.

Seri Renkin
Managing Director, ten20 Foundation

Recently Liz Gillies, Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre at the Melbourne Business School, visited the ten20 Foundation offices to film a series of video podcast interviews.

In this video podcast with Caroline Chernov, Executive Director of the ten20 Foundation, Liz and Caroline discuss the importance of collaboration in the work of ten20 and Opportunity Child, the initiative we support and host.

(Photo above: by Flickr user m.sanhuezacelsi)

t1Seri Renkin, Managing Director of the ten20 Foundation, reflects on the major themes from the recent Leadership 2016 summit in Canberra and the Asia Pacific Venture Philanthropy Network conference in Hong Kong.

In early June this year, I attended the Leadership 2016 summit in Canberra with 200 leaders from a range of civil society and non-profit organisations. The shared message from this gathering, held just before our federal election, could not have been clearer: all who attended are absolutely committed to building an innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient Australian society.

So much of what we have accepted as “the way things are done” needs to be re-imagined and adapted for a very different world. However, the vision, sacrifice and risk that it takes to initiate and drive change of this order is impossible for one individual leader or party to hold accountability for, or represent.

The challenge we all face now is to move beyond this resolve to find new ways of working together, across communities, sectors, political ideologies and systems. Working independently – or worse, in silos – won’t drive the kind of results we all want for Australia.

How do our public and private institutions align their efforts to an overarching bi-partisan national agenda?  What organising structures can drive short-term reactive and long-term systemic strategies at the same time? Do our public policy experts have the reputation, independence and legitimacy to support collective advocacy around issues that matter for future generations of Australians?

Like many Australians, ten20 aspires to a new social contract that moves beyond historical political ideology and fear and provides a shared framework for our nation to achieve its future potential. In Australia there is no shortage of resources and goodwill, but time is of the essence. New leadership is urgently required from all parts of our society.

Asian region poised for change

Many of the themes from the Leadership 2016 summit were echoed at the Asia Pacific Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) conference in Hong Kong at the end of May. Speaking on a multi-sector panel about how funders can support communities to drive systems change, I was struck by how much we can share and learn alongside our Asian neighbours.

The Asian region is struggling with some of the most challenging and complex development issues in the world, yet there was a tangible sense among conference goers and presenters that there are also significant opportunities there. Various presentations focused on new forms of governance, multi sector collaboration, community development, community-centred design, entrepreneurship, digital disruption and policy and systems change.

There was growing recognition, too, that change makers in Asia need to move further up the food chain to better understand and transform public policy and the dysfunctional systems they work in. This recognition was balanced with discussions and presentations that explored how business disruption strategies could create new markets, offering fresh solutions to the region’s complex social, environmental and economic problems.

ten20 – driving collective innovation

At the ten20 Foundation, we identify strongly with this need for fresh solutions to complex problems. We advocate for new thinking, different answers and a more efficient use of resources to create opportunities for everyone in our community. We can see that community leaders and organisations around Australia are increasingly wrestling with questions about how to address the underlying conditions in our society to enable change to occur – and for communities themselves to work together to change our society.

We believe new forms of funding are key to catalysing, convening and supporting the learning networks, knowledge creation and changes in practice and mindset required for real transformation to happen. The approach we are taking is unique because we are resourcing the infrastructure required for ‘collective impact’, led by communities, to drive local and national innovation together. At ten20, we recognise that people-centred approaches are the key to addressing complex problems and place-based disadvantage.

Seri Renkin
Managing Director, ten20 Foundation

There’s nothing like a visiting international guest to get our sector talking and reflecting. This week we have been talking and thinking about evaluation, as Mark Cabaj from Canada has been in town igniting some fantastic discussion and debate.

Mark is President of the consulting company From Here to There and is an Associate of Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement.

Mark has had an amazing career, from experiencing first-hand the end of communism in Europe and working as an Investment Advisor in Poland’s Foreign Investment Agency, the Foreign Assistance Coordinator for Grants in the Ministry of Privatisation, and the Mission Coordinator for the creation of the United Nations Development Program’s first regional economic development initiative in Eastern Europe.

Read more “The role of the funder in evaluation”