You’ve added an item to your reading list. Continue adding items from around the guide, or export your Reading List

what's in this guide?

About This Guide

ENGAGE: How Funders Can Support and Leverage Networks for Social Impact was developed by The Rockefeller Foundation and Monitor Institute to accelerate the spread of social impact networks. It exists to guide any foundation grantmaker who is considering whether to engage with a network and what that engagement might involve. (See this page for more on how to use this guide and what it contains.)

How this guide was created

This guide was written by Anna MuoioNoah Rimland Flower and Kaitlin Terry at Monitor Institute, a part of Deloitte Consulting LLC, with input from Faizal Karmali and his colleagues at The Rockefeller Foundation. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.

We created this guide by speaking with 44 leaders and practitioners in the field (listed below) who are using networks to create change; digging into the deep pool of writing on the topic; and mining the significant experience in working with networks that is resident in both Monitor Institute and The Rockefeller Foundation. The result is an aggregation and synthesis of some of the leading thinking in both the theory and practice of engaging with networks as a grantmaker.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to the interviewees and contributors who volunteered their time and thoughtful reflection to enrich these ideas and provide living examples of the practices we describe. Our appreciation also goes to our colleagues Dana O’Donovan, Tony Siesfeld, Brian Hathaway, Megan Schumann, and the many others at Deloitte whose efforts helped usher this material from concept through to fruition.



For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not.


Monitor Institute logo - black on transparent

Monitor Institute is a social change consultancy that works with innovative leaders to surface and spread best practices in public problem solving and to pioneer next practices — breakthrough approaches for addressing social and environmental challenges. Monitor Institute marries a deep grounding in strategy, networks, social innovation, and human systems with the fundamentals of professional advisory services — effective project management, skilled facilitation and well-timed intervention. As a for-profit/for-benefit hybrid, Monitor Institute pursues social impact while operating as a fully-integrated part of the Social Impact practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. The Social Impact practice helps clients in the public, private, and social sectors become a catalytic force to meet our greatest societal challenges.


Interviewees and Contributors

  • Patti Anklam, Net Work
  • Amy Rodriguez Arms, The James C. Irvine Foundation
  • Carolyn Bancroft, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Lori Bartczak, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
  • Sarah Bell, The 11th Hour Project
  • Jennifer Berman, formerly at Energy Action Network of Vermont
  • Karl Brown, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Antony Bugg-Levine, Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • Charlanne Burke, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Meaghan Calcari Campbell, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Carol Thompson Cole, Venture Philanthropy Partners
  • Jennie Curtis, Garfield Foundation
  • Dave Ferrero, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
  • Rachel Flynn, Omidyar Network
  • Brinda Ganguly, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Michelle Gilliard, Venture Philanthropy Partners
  • John Kaye, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Eugene Kim, FasterThan20
  • Shelly London, Poses Family Foundation
  • Robert Marten, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Heather McLeod Grant, McLeod-Grant Advisors
  • Jack Meyers, The Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Jeff Mohr, Omidyar family office
  • Helena Monteiro, Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support
  • Stefan Nachuk, formerly at The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Stacy Parker-Fisher, Oak Foundation
  • Judy Peppler, KnowledgeWorks
  • Pete Plastrik, NetworkAction
  • Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Vibrancy
  • Pat Rosenfield, The Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Eleanor Rutland, Venture Philanthropy Partners
  • Ashley Sandvi, Poses Family Foundation
  • Tracy Sawicki, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
  • Diana Scearce, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Shruti Sehra, New Profit Inc.
  • Barb Shubinsky, The Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Beth Tener, New Directions Collaborative
  • Ivan Thompson, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Gary Toenniessen, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Kimberly Dasher Tripp, Strategy for Scale
  • Steve Waddell, NetworkingAction
  • Jeff Walker, The Generosity Network
  • Jane Wei-Skillern, Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
  • Odin Zackman, Dig In


Visual design credits

Our thanks to Briteweb for the website design, and to TruScribe for creating the whiteboard-animation video.


Imagery credits

Each image used in this site is either licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons or purchased from


Copyright terms

Please refer to the terms of use for The Rockefeller Foundation website.