Through our three programs Public Interest, People & Nature, and Social Initiatives, we support civil society organizations and initiatives. This approach allows us to tackle major and complex social issues. There is no quick fix for these problems. Tackling structural causes of problems and achieving systemic change requires a bold approach, perseverance, and long-term commitment. We actively reach out to potential grantees and, where appropriate, invite them for cooperation. Our support extends to both established organizations and innovative initiatives. We are always looking to strike a balance between providing direct aid and support to target groups, and aiming for structural improvement.
Openness about obstacles
Adessium is an independent and autonomous organization. This gives us the freedom to pick our own partners and choose our own methods. Our approach enables us to support projects, which do not (yet) receive any financial support from the government or from other foundations. We are flexible enough to adapt our strategy and methods to rapidly changing or complicated circumstances when necessary. We therefore ask our partners to be open and honest about any obstacles they encounter, so we can work with them to find suitable solutions.
Organizational capacity building
In most cases, we choose to extend our partnership beyond a specific project and lend them broad institutional or programmatic support, thereby enabling organizations to work on the pursuit of their mission. We conduct a thorough evaluation of an organization’s vision, approach and implementation capacity (including governance). And together with our partners we explore if organizational capacity building is needed to attain their mission. If necessary, we provide additional financial means to bring in external expertise, for instance to hire a consultant. In our view, civil society organizations should be independent and autonomous. In all of our partnerships, we explicitly take a back seat and let our partners remain in control. However, we always strive to offer constructive feedback on how our partners could improve effectiveness in their work and try to facilitate this wherever possible.
From evaluating to learning
For maximum effect, we want to put our resources to use as efficiently as possible. We want to learn from the organizations and interventions we support. That is why we evaluate our strategic premises and our partners’ approach. Together with our partners, we examine the lessons learned in order to enhance their impact. As a learning organization, our goal is to pursue the continued development of our approach. As of 2022, we have a new role on our team for this purpose: strategic learning manager. In the coming period, we will work on a number of learning questions to increase our knowledge on the topics in our programs. With this approach, we seek to achieve more effective interventions and further hone our methods. We are also keen to share lessons learned with other philanthropic foundations.