To the Haas Institute, strategic philanthropy is philanthropy that leverages its institutional resources—financial and otherwise—to jump scale and create durable structural changes for belonging. The goal of philanthropic giving is often motivated by attempts to alleviate conditions of suffering and abuse. Philanthropy that fuses with targeted universalism becomes strategic—it targets creation of structures that sustain equity and strengthen it.
In the context of increasing needs and the shrinking public dollars associated with austerity, the private sector, notably philanthropy, has become a force underwriting emerging demands. Private dollars alone cannot replace the type or amount of government funding. This means there is a need to make philanthropy more than a force for funding critical social programs and emergency assistance. Philanthropic organizations and the social ecosystems they influence can be organized and operate to realizing durable social change and jump scale beyond emergency needs.