The foundation pursues change by tackling defined problems in a pragmatic, nonpartisan manner.

Our aspirations are idealistic, but we pursue them pragmatically. We promote change by identifying problems where philanthropic resources can make a difference—specifying a problem’s parameters and asking how it can be solved, with minds open to whatever works best. We focus on problem-solving, not advancing a partisan agenda or particular ideology. We do not begin with overarching theories or operate with broad presumptions like promoting markets or expanding government regulation. Instead, we base our approach on sound research and the best evidence available, building our theories of change from the ground up.  We follow the evidence and adopt whatever course of action, consistent with our values, it suggests is most likely to succeed. We listen to the voices of those who will do the work and those who are meant to benefit from it, and we try to do this continuously. If subsequent experience or evidence indicates we were wrong, we change course. We recognize that most efforts call for tradeoffs among competing goods or interests, and we try to confront and acknowledge these honestly and openly.

While scrupulously non-partisan, we do not avoid issues or problems because others have made them matters of partisan dispute, and we will not avoid or abandon a strategy that is supported by evidence because it has become politicized. We are, as an organization, accountable first and foremost to our mission to promote the well-being of humankind.

Illustrative Practices:

  • Commitment to acting on evidence provided through ongoing monitoring, regular evaluation and high-quality research from the fields in which we work
  • Continuing to work in areas like climate change or women’s reproductive health, which became politicized after we launched our efforts
  • Launching efforts, like Madison and Cyber initiatives, built around supporting organizations across the ideological spectrum in addressing deeply politicized problems
  • Ensuring we do not engage or appear to engage in inappropriately partisan or political conduct
  • Collaborating with funders across the ideological spectrum who are interested in solving the same problems that we are
  • Being open-minded to potential solutions regardless of where the grantee falls on the ideological spectrum