• Mission
  • Goal
  • Strategic Objectives
  • History
  • FAQ

Our Mission

The mission of Elevate Children Funders Group is to advance philanthropy that supports children facing adversity in order to elevate the holistic children’s agenda in philanthropy. ECFG focuses on the full lifespan of children and youth affected by adversity, from birth to adolescence with a focus on children facing the threats of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.

Our Goal

Elevate Children Funders Group’s overarching goal is to elevate the importance of investing in children and youth as a primary means of achieving sustainable human, social and economic development, all of which are critical to furthering global human rights, peace and security.

ECFG works under the assumption that international policies and programs, and the funding that supports them, need to continue to keep up with the evidence that stresses the critical importance of investing early, holistically and during the entire lifecycle. In order to elevate the entire field, ECFG engages foundations that address diverse segments within the full lifecycle of children and youth affected by adversity. Forging stronger linkages between various issues in the protection of children across all the stages of their growth is ECFG’s fundamental goal.

Our Strategic Objectives

Within this new mission, ECFG has set for itself a series of strategic objectives, which will guide its work over the upcoming three years. Ultimately, these objectives will translate into a portfolio of programs and services offered to members and others.

2017-2019 Strategic Objectives:

  • Strengthen

    Strengthened grantcraft and effectiveness of ECFG’s member community of philanthropic foundations

  • Increase

    Increased and more effective philanthropy that targets children facing adversity

  • Enhance

    Enhanced profile of ECFG among stakeholders working to support children facing adversity

Our History

In 2009, the Oak Foundation convened a group of nearly 20 philanthropic foundations to discuss the possibility of convening a private donor collaborative on child protection. These conversations led to the creation of the Children and Violence Evaluation Challenge Fund in 2010, a pooled funding initiative of several of those foundations. In 2010, the Oak Foundation hosted another foundation meeting – The Partnership for Children: Reducing Reliance on Residential Institutions. The objective of the meeting was to convene a donor collaborative on de-institutionalization. It was agreed not to form a collective focused entirely on de-institutionalization but to continue the discussions on broader child protection related issues. These discussions led to the formation of the Child Protection Funders Group in 2011. In 2014, the group changed its name to Elevate Children Funders Group (ECFG) in an effort to see the field more broadly than just being about child protection. At the root of the name change lay a clear mission intention – to elevate the place of children in all conversations about development and sustainability and to elevate the roles and effectiveness of foundations working to benefit children around the globe.

In 2016, ECFG’s embarked on a strategic review process to refine key elements of its work and to increase its relevance to the philanthropic field during its next chapter. This process resulted in a three-year strategic plan to be implemented between 2017 and 2019. Over the next three years, ECFG will use its collective convening power to respond to the shifting global political landscapes and to support advocacy efforts around policy and build bridges to policymakers to forge strategic alliances and ensure that children and youth’s issues are elevated.


What is a funders group or network?

The Council of Foundations defines funder networks (or groups) as organizations founded by grantmakers who have common interests. The first funder networks were formed in the early 1980s and provide opportunities for grantmakers with common interests to meet each other, share knowledge and encourage collaborative funding. Some funder networks are formed around the identity of the population served. Some are formed around particular grant issue areas and others are formed around position and function.

Elevate Children Funders Group (ECFG) was formed around an issue area and has an international focus. As a funders group, ECFG general oversight is provided by a Steering Committee and operated by a Secretariat.

What issues do ECFG members fund or engage around?

ECFG members fund or engage around children and youth affected by adversity, from birth to adolescence with a focus on children facing the threats of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.

Who can apply to join?

Membership in ECFG is open to philanthropic foundations, private, public and operating, as well as donor advisors and donor advised funds who meet the following criteria:

  • Must be committed to supporting children and youth affected by adversity, from birth to adolescence with a focus on children facing the threats of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
  • Primary activity must be grantmaking in that greater than 50% of the annual budget is allocated to grantmaking activities.
  • The majority of grant resources must come from non-governmental sources.

ECFG membership, including meetings and activities, are only available to staff whose primary function is grantmaking at such institutions. Fundraising or development staff are not eligible for participation in ECFG activities and programs.

You can contact the Secretariat staff directly to learn about how you can apply to join ECFG.

Is there a fee to join?

While ECFG has not had a membership fee between 2011-2017, the Steering Committee has agreed to instate a membership fee in 2018.   Annual membership dues are on a sliding scale, based on your organization’s overall grantmaking budget. More information about the fee structure will be provided in the coming months.

How do I join or register for ECFG events?

ECFG events are open to ECFG members and invited foundation representatives. If you are a foundation representative (that meets ECFG membership criteria) and interested in attending an event or learning more about joining ECFG, please contact the Secretariat.

What are the benefits of ECFG membership?

By coming together as a group of funders, ECFG members strengthen their individual grantmaking, putting into practice what they require their partners to do: collaborate, coordinate and communicate effectively.   Benefits for individual members include:

  • Discounted registration for the annual general meeting
  • Members-only in-person learning events, funders roundtable discussions, and meetings to strategize and align priorities
  • Members-only virtual discussions via webinars, teleconferences and online communities of practice
  • Digital networking and learning resources, including access to: ECFG monthly newsletter, members-only section of the ECFG website; and exclusive resources such as webinar recordings, funding analyses and white papers
  • Login credentials to the member-only portal where you can connect to philanthropic peers and find potential funding collaborators via our internal funding mapping tool
  • Opportunities to promote your events, job opportunities, and news via the ECFG website, online portal or newsletter
  • Peer support, learning about content and strategy from other member’s work
  • Participating and chairing members-only working groups
  • Engaging in opportunities for co-funding, aligned funding, pooled funding and joint activities
  • Attending, voting at and hosting the AGM
  • Representing ECFG in coordination with the Secretariat, in public events or partnership initiatives

Is ECFG a grantmaking organization?

No, ECFG is not a grantmaking organization. While our members may pool funds to support a specific research or advocacy initiative, as an entity, ECFG does not distribute grants.

Can ECFG staff connect grantseekers to grantmakers?

No, ECFG staff are unable to connect grantseekers to grantmakers.   ECFG is a fundraising free space for foundations to share information, learn and collaborate.   The staff would like to maintain this safe space for open collaboration, which our members value. While we receive a lot of requests from potential grantseekers, we are not in a position to connect individuals to or share concept notes with our members. We recommend that you visit our members individual websites for information about their grantmaking cycles and practices.

If you would like to learn more about philanthropy, you can visit US Foundation Center or European Foundation Centre.

Our Services

ECFG offers a portfolio of services to our members and the broader field. As a platform for raising the philanthropic field through shared best practices, elevated grantcraft and pooled efforts, ECFG will work on the premise that it is “better together” and that the sum of the parts can drive greater sustainable change than the work of individual foundations in any given field.
The following services will be implemented through member collaboration around research and education, convenings, working groups and incubated initiatives:

Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee represents the diversity of ECFG members topical and geographic interests and grantmaking institutions working in the field of children and youth affected by adversity. The Steering Committee provides overall guidance on ECFG’s strategy, services and programs.

  • Ken Goody

    Foundation Executive, Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation
  • Maureen Greenwood-Basken

    Program Director, Global Children’s Rights, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
  • Mark Guy

    Senior Program Officer, GHR Foundation (Chair)
  • Emma Stevenson

    Head of Global Funding Partnerships, Comic Relief
  • Martial Paris

    Managing Partner, WISE Philanthropy Advisors


ECFG staff was established to operationalize and implement ECFG’s services, functions and activities. The Staff operates under the guidance and direction of the Steering Committee.

  • Heather Hamilton

    Executive Director
  • Nancy Palmer


Our Members

Our members consist of philanthropic foundations, private and public, as well as donor advisors and donor advised funds. Our current membership includes the following:

* A few ECFG members wish to remain anonymous.