Our Theory of Change

The Rose Foundation’s Theory of Change is represented as a set of three interlocking “gear wheels” that generate change as they rotate. This graphical representation reflects the ways our values, resources, and strategies drive forward our vision for change.

The Values Wheel and Resources Wheel act as inputs for the Change Wheel’s forward movement. However, we also recognize that all three Wheels mobilize each other, and sometimes, for example, it is necessary for the Change Wheel to drive the Resources Wheel forward.

Read more about the Change Wheel, Values Wheel, and Resources Wheel below.

Donate to the Rose Foundation today to help drive forward this Vision for Change.


Rose Foundation's Theory of Change

Change Wheel

The larger Change Wheel is propelled forward by the Values Wheel and Resources Wheel. The center of the Change Wheel outlines our Vision:

The Rose Foundation envisions a future where nature is protected, people’s rights are ensured, and environmental justice is advanced, and where these three values are deeply interconnected.

Surrounding our Vision are four phases — Mobilize, Win, Grow Capacity, and Build Power — that Rose Foundation grantees and youth leaders pass through, although not everyone starts at the same phase and some grantees and youth leaders will simultaneously be experiencing multiple phases. The four phases serve as a feedback loop, allowing the Change Wheel to spin faster and faster for grantees and youth leaders over time.


  • Mobilize: Grantees and youth leaders mobilize people and their peers to advocate for protecting nature, ensuring people’s rights, and advancing environmental justice.
  • Win: Grantees and youth leaders “win” a campaign, generate some other concrete progress, and/or build their base of support for future efforts.
  • Grow Capacity: Grantees and youth use their “wins” to attract more resources (dollars, volunteers, etc.).
  • Build Power: People (including our grantee activists and New Voices youth leaders) feel empowered and, in many cases, their organizations and communities have more power to drive change.


Values Wheel

The Values Wheel centers the Why, What, and How of the Rose Foundation in our work to drive forward change.

Why we do it:

  • We believe in Nature’s Rights: The natural world has intrinsic value independent of its usefulness to humans. Since nature can’t speak for itself, we have an obligation to speak up for nature.
  • We believe in People’s Rights: Every day, powerful interests take advantage of individuals and communities in ways that hurt them financially, threaten their health, and deprive them of their privacy. We work to right these wrongs, particularly for communities that currently lack economic and political power.
  • We believe in Environmental Justice: Everyone has the right to clean air and water, a stable climate, and access to healthy natural areas. We have a particular moral obligation to ensure these rights are protected for those communities whose rights have historically been ignored.


What we do:

  • We champion Community Power: We believe involving communities in the decisions that affect them leads over the long-term to better outcomes when it comes to nature’s rights, people’s rights, and environmental justice.
  • We champion Grassroots Power: In pursuit of community power, we believe first and foremost in organizing and mobilizing a broad range of people within communities as the best way to ensure long-term sustainable progress. In particular, we’ve repeatedly found that smaller groups organizing and mobilizing can have a major impact when given basic enabling funding.
  • We champion Youth Power: We believe youth have a unique voice that needs to be heard when it comes to environmental justice, nature’s rights, and people’s rights. Building long-term community and grassroots power requires developing more youth as advocates who will become life-long community leaders.


How we do it:

  • We embrace Diversity and Inclusion: None of our other values can be lived out unless we ensure that communities of color and other communities which are disadvantaged today as a result of historical oppression are included in our work. Taking into account their diverse perspectives and advancing their interests must be a major focus of our efforts to build community, grassroots, and
    youth power.
  • We embrace Operational Integrity: We always place the highest value on earning the ongoing confidence of those who’ve donated or entrusted their money to us and who interact with us as volunteers, grantseekers, and peers.
  • We embrace Systems Change: In pursuing community, grassroots, and youth power, we prefer to generate the biggest impact possible for our limited dollars by focusing on work that changes systems and addresses the root causes of problems rather than just treating symptoms. Even as we tackle urgent problems, we recognize systems change takes time and requires patience.
  • We Are Nimble and Opportunistic: We believe in considering and seizing opportunities in harmony with our mission and values as they present themselves. If we see the right chance to take, we are willing to make a leap of faith, and then build out the operational steps needed to sustain the program and achieve the vision.


Resources Wheel

The Resource Wheel, along with the Values Wheel, drives the Change Wheel forward. With more resources guided by our values, the Rose Foundation can then pursue the next cycle of activities with more energy, thus propelling the Change Wheel even faster. Most directly, Rose Foundation resources drive change via:

  • Sharing the stories of our grantees and the youth in our leadership development program.
  • Providing grants, training, and leadership development.
    • Although the activities may change based on opportunity and resources, the activities must always be in harmony with our values and are enabled by the resources we develop.
  • Securing more resources through funding and partnerships, including grants, donations, donor-advised funds, settlements, and volunteers.


Find more information about our Vision, Mission, and Values here.

Be a part of this Vision for Change — donate to the Rose Foundation today.

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