Foundations choose one rather than other course of action or grant presumably in the belief that it is more likely than some other grant or activity to contribute to the fulfillment of the foundation's mission of making a difference in its chosen field. What broad approaches and assumptions underlie these choices? How do foundations perceive "problems"? What do they perceive as the causes and solutions of problems? What theories of intervention do they operate with? What tools of change/intervention do they see as most effective and available to them alone or in cooperation with others? This paper outlines broad approaches to understanding social change and how it can be achieved. In addition, this paper begins the process of identifying key variables/constraints which need to be taken into account in constructing decision paths for donors, foundation staff and leadership.