Unorthodox Philanthropy approaches funding differently. Most foundations direct funding to nonprofit organizations that rely on a continuous cycle of philanthropic dollars to remain viable and grow – despite the fact that such capital is scarce relative to the vast capital markets. This constrains the impact of many nonprofit efforts, where even some of the largest organizations can only reach a fraction of the population they set out to serve.
In contrast, UP searches widely for rare opportunities that require a finite amount of philanthropic capital to embark on a pathway to spread widely without additional philanthropic funding. We believe there are many pathways to achieve social impact at scale that don’t require building massive organizational infrastructure dependent on ongoing donor capital.
Our goal is to encourage applicants to think creatively about social change and to articulate how they will realize their ultimate endgame. We want to kickstart teams’ drive toward sustainability and help them achieve philanthropic independence for their ideas and endeavors. We tend to be contrarians, believing that the opportunities with the greatest potential exist where others aren’t looking. Otherwise, we are sector- and geography-agnostic.
Finding Unorthodox Ideas Unorthodox Philanthropy believes great opportunities should drive our funding decisions, not a predefined agenda. We seek to foster a system that enables great ideas to flow upwards toward capital, rather than allocating funding downwards from specific issues or causes. We source opportunities through a variety of methods, including a diverse network of scouts that are creative thinkers, connectors, and agitators in their fields. We actively recruit individuals and networks that can help us identify initiatives with breakthrough potential, with an emphasis on outreach to communities that may not typically engage with private philanthropy.
We are always looking to grow our networks; if you or someone you know would like to join our unique community or has an idea that fits our criteria, please contact us.