How to Create a Shared Reality with Kevin Starr of Mulago Foundation

Aid, Evolved
How to Create a Shared Reality with Kevin Starr of Mulago Foundation

What would you do if you had millions of dollars to invest in impact? Would you put it in an existing charity – or would you try to do something different, something better? Kevin Starr needed to answer these questions when, in 1993, he unexpectedly found himself at the head of a new foundation named Mulago. Instead of taking the path well traveled, Kevin decided to experiment with creating impact that lasts. And so, through the twists and turns of many years, he developed the Mulago Foundation fellows program and investment approach.

In today’s conversation, Kevin shares how he found his way in the early years of Mulago. He talks about the challenges of early investments and how those lessons are applied to his current approach. Over time, he shares how the Foundation really started to gel once he was able to build common ground with his investors and his awardees. Kevin dives into some of the fallacies and idiosyncrasies of the aid sector, and how he’s established a more efficient way of working. Mulago runs lean because it builds on talent and trust – and skips the bureaucracy. Finally, Kevin presents his “playbook for scale”, the six systemic accelerators he sees again and again in his most successful investments.

In addition to leading Mulago, Kevin is one of the primary instigators of Big Bang Philanthropy, a group of funders that work together to direct more money to those best at fighting poverty.

Mulago Foundation was an early funder of Digital Green, Nexleaf Analytics, Medic, One Acre Fund, Living Goods, Last Mile Health, VillageReach, and Mothers2Mothers.

Show Notes

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