Our approach and values
As a funding organisation, our approach is rooted in partnerships.
CHAMPIONS FOR CHILDREN
As the world's largest philanthropy that focuses specifically on improving children's lives, we support bold ideas for children to survive and thrive, today and in the future. This means we strive to be politically savvy and invest in changing the politics and discourse surrounding our issues, including supporting greater agency for young people.
AMBITIOUS FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE
As a private philanthropy focused on systemic change, we want to be in the vanguard of ambitious action for children. We can take on tough problems that others cannot, and we can invest for the long term. Our portfolio is regularly rebalanced away from interventions that seek to optimise the status quo, towards investments with transformative potential.
BIASED IN FAVOUR OF PREVENTION
By addressing the causes of problems, we are more likely to solve them for good. We seek integrated solutions that follow children along the life course.
FLEXIBLE & INNOVATIVE WITH A HIGH APPETITE FOR RISK
We strive to be nimble and take risks where the potential pay-off is big. We are not afraid to 'fail fast', learn and try something new.
FOCUSED ON SUSTAINABILITY & LOCAL OWNERSHIP
Development aid will never be enough to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. We believe the citizens and leaders of low and middle-income countries are best placed to shape their own futures.
COMMITTED TO FIELD-BUILDING & INVESTING IN LEADERSHIP
As one of the world's big philanthropies, we have the responsibility to build a thriving ecosystem of partners consistent with our localisation strategy. We pro-actively seek out and invest in emerging and established leadership, in line with our strategic and geographic priorities. We also invest in our talented staff by encouraging employees to be change agents and thought leaders in their own right.
ENTREPRENEURIAL & PERFORMANCE-LED
As part of our commercial DNA, we will always be clear about how we intend to manage performance and we expect our partners to do the same. We always seek to clarify and align incentives (political, financial and intrinsic) to increase the probability of success.
EVIDENCE-BASED & EVIDENCE-GENERATING
Our approach to evidence is evolving to match our entrepreneurial spirit. We are committed to using and generating data and evidence, but we are also always looking to increase our emphasis on monitoring and operational research in order to generate actionable information faster.
MEANINGFUL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
We believe that supporting young people's leadership, rights and perspectives must be at the core of the design, delivery and evaluation of any investment that seeks to meet youth needs in any setting. Our five principles for youth engagement are:
1. Young people  will be respected, valued
and supported to contribute to decision-making processes within the foundation,
with opportunities for partnership with adults and support for the development
of their capacities to participate meaningfully.
2. We will consider supporting youth-led work, in investments that allow for meaningful youth engagement, with sufficient and timely resources to:
○ Build a robust youth civil society movement to catalyse efficient and effective delivery of adolescent-centred investments.
○ Enable meaningful participation of young people to influence a change in laws, policies, development programmes affecting their communities.
○ Facilitate continuous consultation
amongst adolescent and youth groups to determine priorities for advocacy and
3. The foundation will provide for the professional development of young members of staff, through affording diverse opportunities for advancement within the organisation and facilitating access to training opportunities.
4. We commit to adopting and implementing meaningful youth engagement principles and practices across the Foundation.
5. We will engage in continual learning and review to improve our commitment to meaningful youth engagement.
 ‘Young people’, ‘youth’ and ‘young members’ used interchangeably to denote the age-range (10 – 30 years) encompassing adolescents (10-19 years) and youth policy definitions of youth in CIFF’s focus countries (ranging from 15-30 years).