March 13, 2019

Family Independence Initiative Founder Mauricio Lim Miller Selected as 2019 Bridgespan Group Fellow

Miller will serve as advisor on “Constituent-Driven Change” initiative aimed at influencing philanthropy and its role as risk capital for society.

BOSTON, MA—March 13, 2019—The Bridgespan Group has announced that Mauricio Lim Miller, Founder of the Family Independence Initiative, has been selected as a 2019 Bridgespan fellow. Bridgespan fellowships create opportunities for subject area experts to collaborate on research projects designed to advance thinking and action on key social issues.

Miller has long been a proponent for an alternative antipoverty system that helps make poverty escapable by investing in people based on their demonstrated initiative and mutuality, rather than just on their “need.” He will work with a Bridgespan team to define core elements of this alternative system, showcase compelling examples from around the world, and identify the potential implications for philanthropists.

“We are calling the philosophy and principles that animate the alternative helping system ‘constituent-driven change,’ and we are observing that many of the defining features of this idea are hiding in plain sight in every corner of the globe,” said Rohit Menezes, one of the Bridgespan partners leading the engagement with Miller. “Think about the rise of black towns in Reconstruction-era US, the Cambodian community’s ownership of doughnut shops in California, and the ‘virtuous networks’ of neighbors helping neighbors and other durable informal support systems that surfaced in Bridgespan’s recent work on social mobility in rural America.”

According to Willa Seldon, the other Bridgespan partner who will be working with Miller, “Constituent-driven change could be an opportunity for philanthropy to experiment with sharing power by moving away from top-down execution, notably in response to several current critiques that imply philanthropy’s complicity in reinforcing inequality. We cannot think of a better partner than Mauricio to help us explore this critical path.”

According to Miller, “This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with a talented organization and team to influence mindsets and practices in philanthropy. Given its unique role as risk capital for society, philanthropy is well-positioned to further develop and promote an alternative antipoverty approach.”


About The Bridgespan Group
The Bridgespan Group ( is a global nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven organizations and philanthropists to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need. Our services include strategy consulting, leadership development, philanthropy advising, and developing and sharing practical insights.

About Mauricio Lim Miller
Mauricio Lim Miller founded Family Independence Initiative in 2001, with a mission to support and accelerate low-income families’ own efforts to improve their social and economic mobility. Mauricio champions an approach, which he has documented in The Alternative (Lulu Publishing, 2017), that relies on families leading their own change and helping one another, which has helped generate substantial outcomes in diverse contexts around the United States. In recognition of his unconventional approach to generating economic mobility among low-income families, Mauricio was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2012. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a Purpose Prize winner, and was honored with an invitation to President Clinton’s 1999 State of the Union address. Prior to founding FII, Mauricio spent 22 years as the Director of Asian Neighborhood Design, a community development agency in San Francisco and Oakland.

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The Bridgespan Group would like to thank the JPB Foundation for its generous and ongoing support of our knowledge creation and sharing work.