The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has joined a broad coalition of foundations, venture philanthropists and public agencies in supporting a philanthropy initiative from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, center officials announced Thursday.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation donated $150,000 to the New Frontiers of Philanthropy Project, which aims to open a new era in financing solutions for the world’s social and environmental problems, Lester Salamon, the center’s director, said in a statement.

In making its grant, Kellogg joined a network that includes other major foundations, leading venture philanthropists, public institutions such as the Federal Reserve and private financial institutions.

 “We hope this will pave the way for other funders to join the coalition supporting this pioneering effort to conceptualize and promote the new approaches and new thinking on the frontiers of philanthropy and social investment,” Thomas Reis, director of the foundation’s Mission Driven Investments, said in the statement. “We see this project as building a bridge to the much larger pools of private capital that can be mobilized for social and environmental problem-solving and a way to legitimize more creative uses of private philanthropic capital in the process.”

The New Frontiers of Philanthropy Project is currently working on three undertakings, the statement said:

  • A volume on the newly emerging actors and tools being deployed on the new frontiers of philanthropy, to be published by Jossey-Bass Publishers;
  • A significant dissemination effort for this volume to bring it to the attention of a broader set of stakeholders through release events, conference presentations, training sessions, an inter-active website and other means;
  • Preparation of how-to materials to help foundations, private investors, nonprofit leaders and public officials use the new tools for expanding the resources available to address the world’s problems.

An advisory panel comprising major figures in the social investing world is helping to guide this work. Its members include the presidents of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Schwab Charitable Gift Fund; the key figure in the F.B. Heron Foundation’s mission investing work; and the former president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

In addition, a team of academics and practitioners is preparing the New Frontiers of Philanthropy volume, among them the chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners; the chief investment officer of the Acumen Fund; the authors of Philanthrocapitalism; the founder of the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) Asia; and the former president of the Calvert Foundation. The volume is scheduled for release in spring 2011, according to the statement.

 “The New Frontiers of Philanthropy Project is important because it is drawing a circle around, and thereby usefully highlighting, the innovative ways that capital is being mobilized in pursuit of social change,” Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation, which helped launch the project with a major grant in 2007, said in the statement. “This project will enhance our ability to achieve the strategic priorities of the foundation’s program teams by supplementing traditional grant-making with new tools that will expand the resources we can mobilize.”

The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies extensive experience both in the conduct of large-scale research projects with immediate policy and practice relevance and in the execution of nonprofit education and training programs that have put it in close contact with nonprofit practitioners. 

The 70-year-old W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.

The Kresge Foundationn is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services.