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Looking to Our New Future: Funding Systems Change Effectively

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
10:30am - 12:00pm PDT
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We are living through an unprecedented, generation-defining moment, full of uncertainty. When this crisis passes — and it will — we will experience a moment of reckoning, where will confront a need to imagine a new world — one where everyone can thrive. The past few months have also underscored the failures of systems — from healthcare to social welfare to wage inequality and food insecurity — that exacerbated our current crisis. As we rebuild, we must ask ourselves how we will support those seeking to address these failures' root causes. We must look to the future and imagine a world of mutual interest and prosperity. We must not revert to a philanthropic mindset of treating symptoms. 

Join Southern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and Ashoka, for a conversation that builds on Ashoka's unique collaboration with The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Skoll Foundation, and other colleagues to address how we can most effectively fund systems change. Based on the interviews with more than 130 social entrepreneurs and funders; it underlines the imperative for a new culture and philanthropy practice. Read more here.

We will be joined by Shivani Garg Patel — Chief Strategy Officer at Skoll Foundation — and Peter Zahn — CEO at the Moxie Foundation during this program. Together we will grapple with the messy, the non-linear nature of systems change — and what it takes to fund it well.  

Please join this conversation and share with us: How are you working in partnership with social entrepreneurs to align funding, grant practices, and relationships to transform systems?



Nichole Hoeflich

Director of Programs, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Nichole Hoeflich is a director of programs at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. As part of GEO’s program team, Nichole supports content planning and development for GEO conferences, remote learning opportunities, publications and other programming.

Before joining GEO, she worked at the Center for American Progress as a Graduate Student Fellow with the K-12 Education Policy team. Prior to this, she taught high school social studies at Ivy Collegiate Academy, an international boarding school in Taichung City, Taiwan, where she also served as the dean of students and the social studies department chair.

Nichole earned her masters of science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and her bachelor of arts in history and education from Clarke University.



Shivani Garg Patel

Chief Strategy Officer, Skoll Foundation

Shivani Garg Patel is Chief Strategy Officer at the Skoll Foundation. She has been a social entrepreneur, investor and advisor. Earlier in her career, Shivani was a strategy consultant at McKinsey and product manager at Microsoft.

Prior to Skoll, she was Co-Founder and Managing Director of Samahope, a non-profit that invested in local medical providers who provide critical medical care to women and children in poor communities around the globe. In 2015, Samahope joined forces with, a platform for global health funding and awareness powered by Johnson & Johnson.

Her technology-driven social innovation work has spanned the Grameen Foundation, World Bank and World Health Organization. She has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management.


Manmeet Mehta

Director, Program Operations and Impact, Ashoka U.S

Manmeet Mehta is the Director of Program Operations and Impact for Ashoka U.S. She has more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and social sector, working on issues of improving access to philanthropic capital, strategy consulting, strategic philanthropy, and grantmaking. She founded GlobalGiving’s online crowdfunding program, “The GlobalGiving Accelerator" in 2007. The Accelerator was the first globally accessible mechanism for social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to access funding from the $270 billion US philanthropic market. She has worked with funders like USAID, The Rockefeller Foundation, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on developing a systems-driven strategy for finding and funding transformative solutions globally. She grew up living in many cities across India, holds an MBA, and a degree in Masters in International Relations and Public Policy from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY.


Peter Zahn

CEO, Moxie Foundation

Peter Zahn serves as CEO of the Moxie Foundation, bringing three decades’ experience as a leader and innovator across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. An attorney by practice, entrepreneur by blood, and environmentalist by passion, Zahn has served in a range of capacities, including owner of a business law firm, Deputy Mayor of Solana Beach, California, founder of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, and a company CEO.

Zahn cares about growing engaged and sustainable communities. He is involved both on a global scale, and in his local communities of Solana Beach and San Diego, California. He serves on Solana Beach’s Climate Action Commission; and the boards of Cleantech San Diego, the ZIP Entrepreneurship Platform at San Diego State University, City College of New York’s Zahn Innovation Center, and the clean technology Rocket Fund at California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Zahn is forming a new philanthropic venture, Futures Unbound, which will be a successor to the Moxie Foundation.

In addition to the outdoors, Zahn enjoys craft beer brewed in Solana Beach.

Michael Zakaras

Director of Strategy & Partnerships, Ashoka U.S

Michael Zakaras is Director of Strategy & Partnerships at Ashoka U.S. He is also co-founder of Ashoka’s ‘All America’ initiative which focuses on pushing the boundaries of social entrepreneurship beyond the traditional coastal circles. Michael has previously worked for Ashoka in Ireland and Central Europe, and has participated on selection panels for social entrepreneurs across the globe, from Montreal to Warsaw to Istanbul. He has a particular interest in food and agriculture policy, criminal justice reform, and more democratic economic models, and writes regularly about these issues and more on Forbes online. He grew up in Brussels, has worked in the California wine industry, and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


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No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG, NCG, and SDG members and eligible non-members

SCG members: Register online
NCG & SDG members: Please contact [email protected] to register.
Non-members: Register online. If you do not have an SCG account, contact us.
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

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