Founded in 2009, the Imago Dei Fund is a family foundation based in Boston, Massachusetts. Motivated by faith and a commitment to the inherent dignity and common humanity of all people, Imago Dei Fund holds a vision of a more just and more free world in which all human beings can thrive and flourish together.
Earlier this year we shared an update on the strategy planning process that our staff and trustees engaged in last year. With support from a facilitator, we started with a series of internal reflections and discussions to review Imago Dei Fund’s mission, core values and approach as well as to dig into the foundation’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Our goal was to map out our strategic focus for the three years ahead (2023-2025). With an initial draft plan outlined by late 2022, we then took the time to engage nearly 100 grantee partners, peer funders, and program experts either in one-on-one calls or in small groups. This was a key part of our design process and was so valuable to hear impressions of Imago Dei Fund’s current work and ideas for us going forward.
It is crystal clear to us that while it takes a lot of time, gathering input from many voices and vantage points is critical to deepening understanding and perspective. We are deeply appreciative of participants’ time—their feedback was rich and insightful, and our plan is better for it. A few examples of feedback that informed our plan:
- The well-being of our grantee partners’ teams is top of mind and critical to success and our Keep the Spark Alive grants are important and fairly unique in the funding space.
- We should use a justice and human rights approach in our support of those working to combat commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.
- We have a unique role to play as a bridge builder with secular funders for our faith-inspired grantee partners.
- Grantee partners appreciate our relational approach and would like us to do more to influence others in philanthropy and to continue amplifying their work.
- Partners encouraged us to increase direct engagement with and seek input from those with lived experience in the geographies and areas in which we fund.
- Grantee partners want to be networked and to learn with and from each other and efforts to support connections and convenings should be informed by their needs.
- Grantee partners are amazing resources both for each other and for helping to identify new partners for IDF as we grow.
This feedback was incredibly valuable in both affirming some of our initial thinking and pushing us even more.
As we look forward to the next three years, we will continue to center the needs of women and girls in our funding, strive to be bridge builders, and deepen our relational and holistic approach. In addition, we are looking forward to:
- Expanding impact in our focus geographies through increased grantmaking in support of community-driven development that centers the dignity and agency of girls and women, working with more proximate funders and ecosystem players, and building out our impact investing strategy;
- Strengthening our learning, feedback, and communications through deepening our culture of learning, practicing trust-based and highly relational partnership, and communicating better with all our stakeholders; and
- Improving our organizational design by aligning our team with these strategic priorities, enhancing our internal systems and culture, and diversifying our team and the voices informing our work and funding.
We will continue to prioritize multi-year general operating grants as we support and walk alongside visionary leaders and impactful organizations working to advance universal human rights, gender balance, justice, and spiritual holism. We will focus our funding on organizations primarily located in East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda), Southeast Asia, Haiti, and the Greater Boston area.