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Why A Guide to Convening? : The Rockefeller Foundation

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Convening has been a critical tool for the Rockefeller Foundation's century of successful philanthropy. The Green Revolution's improvements to food security, the emergence of impact investing to combine financial, social and environmental benefits from investments; a new global alliance for life-saving vaccinations (GAVI), the recovery of post-Katrina New Orleans; the development of the concept of artificial intelligence; and many more remarkable advances were accelerated through Rockefeller-led convenings. And yet, as of a few years ago, we had not formalized our skills and training in this core competency.

We saw the value of collaboratively developing a convening guide that could be shared widely with colleagues, partners, and grantees, aimed at sharpening convening capacities throughout the sector.

Given the increasing complexity of the world, the emergence of diverse and disparate new global players, the pace of unrelenting change, and the general tendency of organizations to specialize, it was clear that convening would continue to play an important role in the Foundation's work. In 2011, working with the Monitor Institute, key grantees and peer institutions who shared our interest and experience in using convening as a tool to catalyze progress on critical issues, we launched a project to document and then strengthen our shared convening skills. We saw the value of collaboratively developing a convening guide that could be shared widely with colleagues, partners, and grantees, aimed at sharpening convening capacities throughout the sector.