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Making sense of a strategy that never was: Lessons from an OSF program

June 13, 2022

The Economic Justice Program (EJP) of the Open Society Foundations ran from 2018 until the end of December 2021. During this time EJP developed the Foundations' first-ever strategy dedicated to fighting economic injustice and advanced approaches to good grantmaking for social change. Due to organizational changes, the strategy was never implemented as designed. But it was successful by many other measures; in the words of one staff member: "Despite numerous moments when many of us (definitely me) wondered if it might not actually be possible, we truly became a team, with a strategy and a culture we all believed in."  This brief summarizes the lessons learnt along the way, offering both insights from experience and practical tools for strategy design. Our aim in sharing these lessons is to equip funders and civil society organizations to embrace complexity and to inspire deeper engagement with culture, communications, and other key elements that are critical to bringing any strategy to life