The Foundation fosters social change as it seeks to bring about a more humane and just society. There are many ways to encourage change, including strategies that shape market forces as well as those that strengthen the non-profit sector. But one of the most effective is to influence government policy. Through its grantmaking the Foundation can help to change policies or regulations, or to influence the direction of government funding at local, state, national and international levels.
Foundations can also shape policy by contributing to fundamental change in the structure and institutions of policymaking. For example, several foundations have awarded grants to reform the laws and practices of campaign financing in the U.S. The goal is to reduce the influence of wealthy interests and individuals on elections. Such reform, it is thought, could change the structure of participation in politics, the result of elections, and eventually, the substance and outcomes of policymaking. In another example, supporting greater participation by women in electoral politics, as India has done with the use of quotas, might be another way to change the structure of participation in policymaking, and subsequent policy outcomes. Whether through support for policy change or for structural transformation, philanthropic grantmaking can have far-reaching consequences.