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ERNOP Online Series 2023-2024

Governance of Impact – Can European Foundations Rise to the Challenge?

February 13, 2024, 10-11 AM (CET)

Speaker: Dr. Lisa Hehenberger (Associate Professor at Esade; Director of the Esade Center for Social Impact) 

Discussant: Dr. Henrik Brinkmann (Senior Expert Impact Management and Monitoring at Bertelsmann Stiftung) 

About this seminar:

Governance of impact is central to creating, implementing, and assessing an organization’s impact strategy to make optimal decisions to further its mission. It is central to creating, implementing, and then assessing the foundation’s strategy and deciding how grant-making or operating budgets are spent.

In November 2023, the Esade Center for Social Impact (ECSI) published the report ‘Governance of Impact – Can European Foundations Rise to the Challenge’, to bring governance to the center of the impact measurement and management conversation, under the hypothesis that effective governance of impact can result in enhanced social value.

In this ground-breaking research, four European foundations – Bertelsmann Stiftung, Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, King Baudouin Foundation, and Laudes Foundation – joined forces to provide funding and open their doors so that the ECSI could conduct a deep dive into how impact is governed in their foundations. They were joined in the sample by Rethink Ireland and Pontis Foundation. The report is an exploration of this under-researched but essential area, reflecting perspectives from the board, executive team, foundation staff, and grantees/partners, and providing a framework for action for all foundations that want to improve their governance.

During the event, Dr. Lisa Hehenberger, Director of ECSI, will present key insights from the report and discuss them with Dr. Henrik Brinkmann, Senior Expert Impact Management and Monitoring at of Bertelsmann Stiftung. Together, they will review the definition of governance of impact, explore the hidden aspects that underlie it, and present the roadmap for improving governance of impact supported by Bertelsmann Stiftung’s case study.

To view the recording of this webinar, click here.

About Dr. Lisa Hehenberger

Lisa Hehenberger is an associate professor in the Department of Strategy and General Management at Esade Business School and Director of the Esade Center for Social Impact. She is a recognized social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy, impact investing, and impact measurement expert. Her research focuses on social entrepreneurship, Venture Philanthropy, and impact investing. She is the author of numerous books and professional reports, and her work has been published in the most internationally recognized academic journals, such as the Academy of Management Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

About Dr. Henrik Brinkmann

Henrik Brinkmann has been working in various roles in the foundation sector since 2001 and has been responsible for non-profit projects related to health policy, cultural policy, economic policy, social security, regulation, and reform strategies. Since 2018, he is Senior Expert Impact Orientation at Bertelsmann Stiftung, counseling projects, programs, and boards in all impact-related matters. He studied economics at universities Mainz/Germany and Fribourg/Switzerland and obtained a doctorate from the University of Magdeburg/Germany in health economics. Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in art history and political science from the University of Osnabrück/Germany, as well as a MAS in Evaluation from the University of Bern/Switzerland.

About ECSI

The Esade Center for Social Impact (ECSI) develops research with rigor, reach, and relevance for and about social impact. As part of our mission, we work to create the conditions for interactions to understand problems in-depth, ask difficult questions to spur novel thinking and innovative ideas, pilot progressive change, and generate knowledge, tools, solutions, and leaders that enable social change through research, education, and social debate. Our vision is a better world where citizens understand global problems in-depth and hence solve complex global challenges to regenerate the environment and reduce inequalities.

More information is available at: 

About the Bertelsmann Stiftung

Bertelsmann Stiftung is an independent foundation based in Germany. Founded in 1977, it addresses issues such as education, democracy, health, values and economics with a people-first approach to create a sustainable society for the future. Through its projects, studies, and events, Bertelsmann Stiftung fosters debate and provides impetus for social change. Serving the public good and having a sustainable impact are the fundamental principles underlying its activities. The foundation’s initiatives not only generate solutions but provide empirically sound guidance for a broad public.

More information is available at: