Investment Strategy

Stopping poverty is a long-term process. It takes time, resources, collaboration, and smart choices. 

We identify strong community partners, fund their work with children, families, and communities, and strengthen their institutions so they can sustain the work for the long term. We engage with them to learn and evaluate so that we can document impact and understand what strategies are effective. Our four-stage, seven-year partnership helps organizations to grow their programs serving children and families, and to develop systems to ensure their continued work toward stopping poverty in the long-term.


Building a relationship with our partners is central to our grantmaking approach.

Our funding application process is interactive. We engage a process to allow for dialogue. We also gather information from others to inform our due diligence.

By funding both operational costs and program costs, we provide the resources necessary to allow for effective delivery of support and services. Grant amounts are sized to match the capacity of the organization and increased over time to facilitate measured growth. Our partnership expectations are explicit so that our partners know what is required to progress from one stage to the next. Staff evaluate progress at the end of each stage to decide if the partnership should continue. Trust, respect, and mutual accountability foster our joint success.


We lay a strong foundation for organizational effectiveness by working with organizations to strengthen management and improve programming.

Our African-based program consultants mentor, train, and link our partners to sources of technical assistance. We also connect current partners with our graduates to facilitate peer learning and networking. Firelight partners demonstrate growth in their number of staff, budget, and most importantly, children and families served.

Learn and evaluate

We use a variety of approaches to learn from and with our partners. Ongoing dialogue with partners helps us to deepen our understanding of their achievements as well as engage with challenges they encounter. As we analyze information and data, we gain insights about the changes that are possible, and how the work of community organizations is most effectively carried out.

The ultimate value of our learning is found in using the knowledge from our work to improve our practice, to help organizations improve their own practice, and to inform the work of other funders and supporters of community organizations.