History & Mission
Maximising Impact. Transforming Philanthropy.
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 optimised 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.
A world that works for all people and the planet
To shape the future of giving as a global community activating resources to maximise social impact
Imagine the difference you can make