Note: This post has been updated to reflect the extended period for Early Bird applications.

The Funders Network is excited to announce our new Systems Transformation Learning Series, which will help funders gain the frameworks, methods and tools to catalyze and support systemic change.

As we continue to see the ongoing harm caused by growing economic inequity, ongoing structural racism, deepening political polarization and a worsening climate crisis, we are committed to helping the sector find concrete and actionable ways to work together in support of the communities we serve.

TFN believes that systems thinking frameworks and collaborative network practices are a powerful combination for addressing the complex, interconnected and systemic problems we face.

Supported by the Garfield Foundation, this five-part learning series will offer deep dives into the key concepts and capacities that will allow grantmakers to be true changemakers —identifying strategic actions and pathways that will accelerate lasting solutions.

The series is open to all funders, and will bring together grantmakers from diverse backgrounds and program portfolios.

About the featured images at top (clockwise from top left): TFN members visit the Twin Cities Innovation District during our 2017 Annual Conference; Photo of a climate protest sign; A Partners for Places-funded project in Atlanta; An image from racial justice protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death; A community-run food bank helping those stuggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Apply

The deadline to apply for TFN’s Systems Transformation Learning Series is midnight Feb. 25, 2021.

You can complete our online application form here.

Candidates that apply before midnight Feb. 17 and are ultimately accepted will receive a discounted Early Bird rate.

Applicants will be notified by March 12 if they have been accepted.

Registration Fees

Early Bird Rate
For accepted participants who submitted applications before midnight Feb. 17.

• TFN Members: $1,350 per person
• Non-members: $1,550 per person

Regular Rates

For accepted participants who apply on or after Feb. 18.
• TFN Members: $1,650 per person
• Non-members: $1,850 per person

About this Series

• This Learning Series cohort is limited to 30 participants.
• The series will consist of five virtual sessions, each four-hours long, with applied exercises between sessions.

• Sessions will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. ET on these dates:

April 7
May 26
June 30
July 14
July 28


We recognize that many organizations are facing challenges during these uncertain times. We have a limited number of scholarships to help offset the cost this learning series. If cost is a barrier to participating in this event, please reach out to TFN Director of Programs Ann Fowler Wallace at

Who Should Join our Systems Transformation Learning Series?

• Do you want clearer sense of how to show up as a funder in systemic collaborations?
We’ll explore how to optimally engage as a funder in a network/multi-stakeholder collaborative; roles that are more and less appropriate for funders; how to mitigate negative impacts from power differences; and the power of transparency, self-disclosure, and vulnerability.

• Are you seeking a better understanding of the essential conditions for effective systemic collaboration? We’ll learn about core factors that have contributed to the success of systemic collaborations among funders and between funders and NGOs, why these factors are important, and some ways to evaluate process and impact outcomes in systems change work.

• Are you searching for insight on how to collaborate effectively with other funders? This learning series includes how to get other funders to co-invest and address perceived turf conflicts, the desire for “unique” success, and each funder’s commitment to its own theory of change.

• Are you trying to navigate the interests of trustees, donors and stakeholders? We will share strategies for aligning trustee and donor interests and priorities with those of system stakeholders and to do productive work with their interests, values, and ‘resistance’ to change.

• Are you in open to new funding ideas, approaches and models? This series will share ways to support systemic collaborations that don’t rely entirely on your organization’s funding.

• Would you like to enhance your ability to see and work effectively with a number of creative tensions or polarities that always show up in funding systems change? Join us as we find ways to effectively balance:

 Funder needs/priorities and grantee needs/priorities

 Collective intent/vision and differentiated situations/needs

 Short-term wins and Long-term strategies

 Learning and action

 Individual change & Institutional change

 Diagnostic approaches & Dialogic approaches

Trainers and Facillitators

TFN’s Systems Transformation Series will be led by Russ Gaskin and Luzette Jaimes of CoCreative, which specializes in developing multi-stakeholder “innovation networks” to solve complex problems like revitalizing economically distressed communities, closing racial equity gaps along multiple dimensions, growing employee ownership, building regenerative food supply chains, and eliminating harsh toxins from electronics manufacturing facilities. To learn more about the CoCreative team and their work, please visit

If you have any questions about TFN’s Systems Transformation Learning Series, feel free to reach out to Director of Programs Ann Fowler Wallace at