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History & Mission

Maximizing Impact. Transforming Philanthropy.

Our History

Forward Global was founded in 1995 as a project of the Rockefeller Foundation. Originally cohort- and module-based, the “Philanthropy Workshop” provided expert philanthropy tools and information to individuals and families whose needs were not being sufficiently met by financial advisors and other existing resources.

Our roots were in that period’s burgeoning strategic philanthropy movement. Many of those tenets—including evidence-based theories of change, focus on underlying systems rather than symptoms, and respect for the wisdom of affected communities—remain today.

Following our early years, we evolved and changed, merging with the London-based Institute for Philanthropy and adding ongoing, lifelong peer community offerings.

Our culture has always been rooted in trust and challenge. We are a safe space for those exploring this work while also continually asking hard questions of ourselves including, “What will we do with the power we hold?” The result is continuous learning and optimized impact. Exploration of role and responsibility remains core to our DNA.

In 2023, we changed our name to Forward Global in order to more accurately reflect what we had become and where we are going.

Grounded in our origins, the following principles guide our work and we hope they will become sector norms:

  • Philanthropy should focus on strategic, urgent change
  • We challenge inequitable systems to advance social justice
  • All resources must be leveraged, including time, talent, treasure and networks
  • Giving should be increased and unrestricted
  • We address root causes, rather than just treating symptoms
  • Working together achieves greater outcomes and unlocks joy

Many of our members are leading philanthropists whom you may have heard of. Others are just starting out. We are a diverse, collaborative community dedicated to learning, best practices, sharing, accountability and sector leadership. Join us.

Our Vision

A world that works for all people and the planet

Our Mission

To shape the future of giving as a global community activating resources to maximize social impact

Imagine the difference you can make

Our Values


Accountability to our mission and vision helps us move from intention to action when challenging the status quo


Knowing the importance of acting as a collective, we value collaboration to seek diverse perspectives and break down silos


Recognizing that we operate within unjust systems, we seek to proactively build a space where everyone feels a sense of equity, belonging, safety and worth


We are committed to trusting and challenging one another, laying the foundations for continuous learning and growth

The Rockefeller Foundation founds the New York-based The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW), the first curriculum-based program to help philanthropists learn how to improve giving.
The London-based Institute for Philanthropy (IFP) is founded in the United Kingdom by advisors to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation to help create a more fertile environment for giving.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the TOSA Foundation, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, launch San Francisco-based The Philanthropy Workshop West (TPW West) to serve a growing market of individuals seeking to give more effectively.
The New York-based The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) is spun off to the Institute for Philanthropy (IFP), where it becomes the IFP’s flagship global philanthropy program.
The London-based Institute for Philanthropy (IFP) expands to the United States, opening an office in New York.
TPW West becomes a freestanding independent organization with the leadership and support of philanthropists all trained through The Philanthropy Workshop.
London-based The Institute for Philanthropy and San Francisco-based TPW West merge to become The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW), the foremost influencers of strategic and innovative philanthropy in the world.
To more accurately reflect what The Philanthropy Workshop had become—and where we are going—we changed our name to Forward Global.

See Stories

Sharing the learning, impact and joy of strategic philanthropy

Member Stories
Meet this moment of urgency with abundance, with patience, and with strategy. We are at a critical crossroads. The choices we make today will echo across generations.
—Solome Lemma, Forward Global 2021 Program

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