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94 | The Evolving Picture of Design Philanthropy

Kyle Reis is widely known throughout the philanthropic world as a champion of social design. In his decades in philanthropy, he has served at TechSoup, as well as the Ford, Reis, and Phantasos Foundations, has been unified by a conviction that social design is worth investing in.

94 | The Evolving Picture of Design Philanthropy

In addition to his work at TechSoup, Kyle currently serves as board chair of the nonprofit evaluation firm, Innovation Network. Previously, he served as board co-chair of the Grants Managers Network (now PEAK Grantmaking), a 3,000-member association of foundation grants managers, during which he helped launch Project Streamline, an effort to improve grant application and reporting practices.  Additionally, he was a charter member of an advisory committee that built out the “equivalency determination” repository now known as NGOSource.

At critical junctures, Kyle has supported and assisted numerous notable social designers and events, including, Grantmakers in Design, D-Rev, Catapult Labs’ Change Labs, the Native American Business Incubator Network, Public Architecture, the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design and the Design for Social Innovation program at the School for Visual Arts (DSI-SVA).

His work transcends the traditional role of philanthropists – the donation of resources. His work is truly about finding better ways to commit and allocate resources to insure maximum impact for those that need it most.

In recent years, he has been part of an effort to create a stronger partnership between the social design and nonprofit communities, most recently as a participant in a “design vanguard” effort spearheaded by senior design leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

We had a chance to speak with Kyle about the evolving role of philanthropy on Social Design Insights. Have a listen below.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music for this episode is "The Only Green World" by Rumors of the Big Wave from their album "Burning Times."