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Strategic Review: 2017-2021

The Commonwealth Foundation commissioned Collaborative Impact (CI) to undertake a Review of its Strategy 2017-2021 and to facilitate the design and drafting process for the next strategy. This report summarises the findings of the Strategy 2017-21 Review, undertaken by CI between August and December 2020.

Internal staff reflections and interviews with external stakeholder revealed the following about the Foundation’s vision and mandate:

  • The Foundation’s vision should be anchored firmly to the Commonwealth: a vision of a Commonwealth that is truly of and for its people
  • The Foundation is uniquely placed to contribute to the vision of an inclusive and people-centred Commonwealth.

The challenges to address in the next strategic period are:

  • Maintaining focus and generating impact, while also responding to a broad mandate that generates high and sometimes conflicting expectations
  • Delivering Foundation grant-making in ways that maximise impact and ensure support for nascent / relatively fragile civil society partners

The report also illuminated opportunities for further growth during the next strategic period:

  • Embedding the creative and flexible approaches to programme planning and delivery that it adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Making the Foundation staff team more flexible, responsive and dynamic
  • Maximising the value of existing and new partnerships across the Commonwealth system

CI produced the following recommendations to shape the next strategy:

  • Build on recent innovations to develop new ways of working and communicating
  • Consider new means of programme delivery that offer the opportunity to increase impact and secure greater involvement of governors, including Civil Society Governors (CSAG)
  • Consider how the Foundation’s grant making can be sharpened to increase its relevance and impact, including through a strategic focus on less well-developed civil society organisations and networks
  • Consider how the Foundation can best leverage its unique ‘creative’ function to serve its vision and mission
  • Consider how to strengthen the Foundation’s own capacity to lead and its intergovernmental role within the Commonwealth family
Commonwealth Foundation Strategy 2017-2021 Review