The Bridgespan Group

Two decades ago, Bain incubated the Bridgespan Group, an independent nonprofit provider of consulting services to foundations, philanthropists and NGOs. Today the two firms continue to collaborate closely on client engagement and industry insights, each bringing complementary capabilities, and share talent and knowledge with each other.

Two decades ago, Bain’s then-Worldwide Managing Director Tom Tierney had the idea for a new type of consulting firm. This firm would apply Bain’s strategy consulting skills and results-oriented approach to a new set of clients, those operating in the social sector. The result of this vision is Bridgespan, an independent global nonprofit consulting firm and separate legal entity. Bain supports Bridgespan’s work with leading philanthropies and impact investors, and the firms regularly share talent and expertise. Bridgespan is the leading social sector contributor of new thinking on effective philanthropy, transformative scale for social change models and measurement of impact. We frequently jointly develop insights that amplify both organizations’ capabilities and impact. (For more on Bridgespan, read its website and annual report.)

“Throughout the journey, Bain has been an incredible partner. … The ethos of ‘impact is what counts’ is one of the core attributes and values that we’ve brought from Bain & Company.”
Jeff Bradach, Cofounder and Managing Partner, Bridgespan

Bridgespan and Bain collaboration highlights


TPG Rise

The impact investing fund of private equity leader TPG, the Rise Fund, aims for social and environmental impact while delivering competitive financial returns. Bridgespan worked with TPG Rise soon after the fund’s creation to integrate social impact into each step of its investing cycle, from sourcing new investment ideas to performing due diligence on prospects and, eventually, exiting investments. Bridgespan developed a rigorous process that uses independent research to evaluate and quantify the value of each investment’s social and environmental impact. Bain supported this work by designing a way to distill critical research across sectors and evaluate the impact of potential deals, and then use that information to guide investment decisions.


Tanoto Foundation

The foundation of Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto and his family seeks to alleviate poverty in Indonesia, China and Singapore through education and enhanced economic development. A team from Bridgespan India and Bain Southeast Asia helped the foundation refine the vision and goals for its endowment, and develop country-specific strategies. As a result, the foundation today has a clear plan to launch programs in basic education, early childhood education and development, college education and civil service leadership development, and continues to expand its influence across the region.


Paul Ramsay Foundation

A team from Bain Australia, with support from Bridgespan New York, has helped the management and board of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, the largest philanthropic institution in Australia focused on education, health and disadvantaged groups, develop their strategy. In 2017, the Bain-Bridgespan team worked with the foundation to identify a potential opportunity to help address the harm caused by illicit drug use in partnership with leading organizations and individuals working on the issue. The Bain team conducted extensive research to understand the impacted population on a local level and the ecosystem of players, while Bridgespan brought global examples of systematic efforts to address the issue. Applied to the national database on drug use, our advanced analytics produced a behavioral segmentation and economic analysis of harm that has helped guide the foundation’s work. Now we are again working together on the next generation of strategy.


J-PAL and Pratham

Bain and Bridgespan joined forces to help the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Pratham develop a five-year growth strategy and create an investment prospectus for Co-Impact, a capital aggregation collaborative focused on systems change investments interested in helping to scale a Pratham and J-PAL collaboration called Teaching at the Right Level. This evidence-backed educational approach helps children develop basic reading and mathematics skills, and Bridgespan helped to develop the strategy and organizational structure that would enable Teaching at the Right Level to scale across Africa. The Bain team handled challenging analytical work, including the financial model that helped determine how much Co-Impact and its funders would invest. In January of 2019, Co-Impact announced J-PAL and Pratham as one of five organizations to receive a multimillion-dollar, multiyear investment, with the goal of reaching at least three million students across Africa.


Tata-Steel CSR-India

Tata Steel runs one of the most respected corporate social responsibility programs in India, stretching back 100 years. In 2017 it requested support for an assessment of its CSR strategy. A joint Bain-Bridgespan team reviewed the current strategy and recommended realignment of its overall portfolio. The realignment was approved by the board, and Bridgespan has since also helped Tata define program strategies for four flagship areas of intervention.

Bridgespan co-founders describe Bridgespan's history and the role Bain has played.

In addition to our collaboration with Bridgespan, Bain also supports other organizations in the philanthropy sector.


Novo Nordisk Fonden

The Novo Nordisk Foundation, based in Denmark, seeks to improve lives through better health, education and the development of a knowledge-based and sustainable society. Bain has an enduring partnership with the foundation and recently helped define its five-year strategy, positioning them to deliver even greater impact on their societal goals.



Dasra aims to catalyze India’s strategic philanthropy movement and transform a billion lives with dignity and equity. Dasra has successfully facilitated collaboration between funders, nonprofits, corporations and the government. Bain India has supported Dasra since 2012, helping them define their strategy and operating model, supporting their grantees such as SNEHA, an organization focused on improving health and reducing violence for vulnerable urban women and children, and aiding in the launch of their Dasra Adolescents Collaborative. Bain India has also partnered with Dasra on multiple editions of the India Philanthropy Report, a definitive annual publication on the state of philanthropy in the country.

One Foundation

One Foundation

One Foundation is China’s first non-government public foundation. Bain supported its founding in 2007 and has been a strategic partner ever since. One Foundation provides humanitarian support and addresses issues related to education, health, poverty and the environment. Over the years we have worked on the organization’s strategy and organization, helping to improve program effectiveness and grow their donor base.



The Singapore Government’s National Council of Social Service (NCSS) works to ensure that every person has the opportunity to live a life of dignity to their fullest potential within society. We recently helped NCSS develop a strategy to transform the Singapore social sector, increasing collaboration between corporations and social service organizations, and exploring innovative funding approaches beyond donation gathering.


United Way

United Way fights for health, education and financial stability by forging partnerships and mobilizing millions of volunteers and donors in the community. United Way is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide. The organization recently entered China, which has a relatively nascent philanthropy market, and needed to figure out where and how to focus its efforts. We worked with United Way to author a report on the potential of digital fund-raising, identifying opportunities to tap into individual giving to catalyze philanthropy.

Bridgespan & Bain Insights


Transforming Schools

Drawing on a joint research effort by Bain and Bridgespan conducted in collaboration with 12 school systems across the US, this report highlights something a growing number of educators see as a critical missed opportunity: the development of school leaders. While it is widely understood that strong leadership is vital to helping students succeed, most school systems lack a model to nurture more leaders in each school and to give them end-to-end responsibility for teacher development and student outcomes.
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Youth Hold the Key: Building Your Workforce Today and in the Future

This report, also the product of a Bain-Bridgespan collaboration, focuses on the role that young people can play in helping employers meet some of their current and looming workforce challenges, and on how companies can improve how they hire and retain youth.
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Funding Feedback

Fund for Shared Insight helps nonprofits gather and act on input from the people they serve using the Net Promoter System® (NPS®), developed by Fred Reichheld, a Bain advisory partner, and Bain & Company. In collaboration with other funders, the Fund for Shared Insight designed an NPS solution for nonprofits and their beneficiaries that could be adopted by many diverse organizations. In the four years since it started, the Fund for Shared Insight has granted $21.1 million, and 184 nonprofits are developing and testing their signature feedback tool. By 2020 any nonprofit with a SurveyMonkey account should be able to use it.
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