Law, philanthropy and justice Alliance magazine March 2021

FavoriteWelcome to the first issue of our 25th anniversary year In this issue, we explore the intersection of law, philanthropy and justice. It includes a special retrospective look at 25 years of philanthropy in the law from James Goldston and Martin O’Brien. They reflect on two foundations who have worked at the cutting edge of law and social change – the Open Society Foundations and Atlantic Philanthropies. But as our guest editors, the Ford Foundation’s Nicolette Naylor and Baring Foundation’s David Sampson note ‘courtroom judgements are only part of the solution’ and philanthropic engagement must extend well beyond courts. Lorenzo Read more

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Alliance Magazine Peace building, Vol. 24, No. 2, June 2019

FavoritePeace building Welcome to the June 2019 issue of Alliance. Peace-related philanthropy, at less than 1 per cent of all grantmaking, seems irresponsibly small given that armed conflict has spoils lives, divides societies and ruins economies. This issue of Alliance goes in search of philanthropy’s role in peaceful development. Guest edited by a new generation of philanthropy practitioners, Lauren Bradford (Candid), Rasha Sansur (Dalia Association) and Hope Lyons (Rockefeller Brothers Fund) share their hopes for the future and discuss ways to open up the field to new voices and partners. The issue also highlights findings from a landmark survey of peace Read more

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Alliance Magazine Systems Change Vol. 24 Number 1, March 2019

FavoriteAlliance is pleased to offer free access to this issue thanks to the Jacobs Foundation who are sponsoring the removal of the paywall in order that the content can be shared as widely as possible.   Systems change Welcome to the March 2019 issue of Alliance. Philanthropy and systems approaches are an obvious coupling but the future of their relationship remains far from clear. This special feature explores a growing aspiration to achieve system-level change, taking a more self-critical look than is usually found within the sector. Guest edited by Julian Corner, CEO of the Lankelly Chase Foundation, we note the potential and Read more

Alliance magazine December 2018 Royal philanthropy

FavoriteRoyal giving in the spotlight This issue includes an in-depth interview with Hong Kong based philanthropist, James Chen, perspectives on the development of philanthropy in Russia and Vietnam and philanthropy-backed efforts in online learning to help the capacity building of CSO’s in the global South. This issue also shines a spotlight on the world of royal philanthropy, the topic of our special feature. On the surface, there seems much to commend the philanthropic works of members of royal families (or MRF’s to use the parlance). They bring networks, credibility and resources to improve health and education, tackle neglected causes, and Read more

Muslim Philanthropy

FavoriteThere is general agreement that we don’t know as much as we’d like to know about Muslim philanthropy, a phenomenon broadly defined as giving ‘of any kind, which involves self-identifying Muslim individuals, institutions, communities, and societies as key agents’. This lack of knowledge is remarkable given that Muslims comprise almost a quarter of the world’s population, and give around $1 trillion per year according to some estimates. In the new issue of Alliance magazine, out on 4 September 2018, guest editors, Tariq Cheema and Yunus Sola, argue that the potential of Muslims to contribute to the well-being of humanity would be greatly Read more

The Alliance magazine June 2018 issue – Philanthropy’s Developers

FavoriteThis issue is devoted to philanthropy’s developers – the people, organisations and networks central to the growth and development of philanthropy worldwide. Whether that’s data and research, advice and consulting, training, advocacy or representation, there’s an essential and vibrant but under-appreciated eco-system of philanthropy support worldwide. In our special feature, Alliance editor, Charles Keidan and guest editors, Benjamin Bellegy and Maria Chertok offer a new and change-oriented vision for the future development of the field. The feature includes views from leading funders about why infrastructure matters, as well as discussion of the impact of tech, and the need for better data, collaboration and Read more

The Alliance magazine March 2018 issue – Diaspora philanthropy

FavoriteIn this March 2018 issue of Alliance, we look in-depth at the phenomenon of diaspora philanthropy. With increasing numbers on the move, new ties are being formed between peoples, nations and states across the world. While most attention has focused on remittances – the act of sending money from one place to another – we shine a light on the philanthropic dimensions of diasporas worldwide. The perspectives of contributors from Africa, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Ireland and Palestine, to name a few of the places you can read about in this issue, reflect the truly global nature of diaspora giving. While Read more

The Alliance magazine December 2017 issue – Philanthropy and the Media

FavoriteAlliance is pleased to offer free access to this issue thanks to Democracy and Media Foundation who are sponsoring the removal of the paywall in order that the content can be shared as widely as possible. The centrepiece of the issue is our special feature on philanthropy and the media. Our guest editor, Miguel Castro of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and I take you on a journey through the key issues facing philanthropy. Our stellar panel of contributors from publications including Spiegel, The Guardian and the BBC consider philanthropy’s role in sustaining investigative journalism and combating fake news, Read more

The Alliance magazine September issue – Philanthropy’s diversity challenge

FavoritePhilanthropy’s diversity challenge ‘Nothing about us without us’ was a slogan coined by disability rights activists to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected. Many working in philanthropy would be sympathetic to this principle. Being in touch with the people you aim to serve is not just a sound moral imperative but also likely to make an effective philanthropic strategy. A lack of diversity on boards and at staff level ‘probably limits their intelligence about what is happening on the ground’ notes European Foundation Centre Chief Executive, Gerry Salole, who suggests that foundations would be well advised to Read more

The Alliance magazine June issue – Solidarity – more in common?

FavoriteSolidarity – more in common? ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’ These were the words of Jo Cox in her maiden speech to the UK Parliament on 3 June 2015. On 16 June 2016, just over one year later, Cox was murdered on her way to a meeting in her constituency. The Alliance special feature, guest edited by King Baudouin Foundation’s Stefan Schäfers, explores the complex and sensitive relationship between philanthropy and solidarity. Jo Cox’s murder was not just an affront to our common humanity but a Read more

Philanthropy Scholarship and Practice – Bridging the Divide

FavoritePhilanthropy scholarship has the potential to inform practice and policy so that societal wellbeing is enhanced and positive change achieved. How can we make this happen? This special feature suggests two possibilities and also documents some successful experiences of knowledge transfer that may serve as prototypes for bridging the divide.

Foundation Payouts

FavoriteIn the first Alliance Audio series, editor Charles Keidan hosts a roundtable discussion with Angela Kail (Head of the Funder Team, New Philanthropy Capital), Cathy Pharoah (Co-Director of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University London), and Jake Hayman (CEO of Ten Years’ Time) on the topic of philanthropy sector payouts. Following on from their pieces in Alliance over the last few months, these philanthropy experts and practitioners discuss the controversial topic of payouts; why they should be imposed, why they should not be imposed, and what they might mean for the sector as it stands at the Read more

Offshore philanthropy

FavoriteOrganized philanthropy exists because a few individuals are able to accumulate a vast surplus of resources. Given how much good is done with philanthropic donations, it seems ungrateful to look too closely at the source of that money. Yet recent financial data leaks, including the Panama Papers and the earlier HSBC Swiss Files, act like glasses for the myopic—they bring into focus one of the wealth management practices that enables private individuals to hold on to resources. Moreover, a number of named individuals are well-known philanthropic donors. With these revelations, the sector should look hard at the uncomfortable ways in Read more

March 2017 issue | Philanthropy scholarship and practice – bridging the divide

FavoriteBe sure to keep an eye out for the March issue of Alliance magazine as it looks at the ways in which we can bridge the gap between philanthropy scholarship and practice. As philanthropic studies gain speed and popularity in universities and academic programs around the world, we attempt to explain why studying philanthropy is important and how much priority should be given to informing policy and practice. Guest edited by Marta Rey-Garcia of Spain’s Coruna University, the issue answers some of the key questions that arise when philanthropy scholarship moves into practice and provides a detailed account of philanthropy’s growing Read more

#ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

FavoriteIn this special feature on community philanthropy, Alliance proposes a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions – and resulting distortions – of mainstream development. The ‘three-legged stool’ of community philanthropy combines asset development, capacity building and the strengthening of trust between multiple local and external stakeholders. Durable Read more

What influence does philanthropy exert?

FavoriteArticle featured in the September 2016 issue of Alliance magazine. There are increasing signs of philanthropy influencing policy and policy networks but, as yet, no overarching theory of how it does so. Philanthropic traditions vary, as do the political, social and economic contexts in which foundations operate. Influence can be exerted in different ways – not only through the ‘hard power’ of financial resources but also through the influence wielded behind the scenes and out of public view. It can be exerted by empowering others or funding research. Influence over public policy is only one type of influence, but it Read more

Should we be afraid?

FavoriteAt the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy blog, posted his five ‘scariest’ trends in philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends, we wondered, or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? We asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. In spite of Callahan’s injunction to ‘be afraid’, few of them seem inclined to quake in their boots, even where they see similar tendencies Read more

Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

FavoriteThe philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more

What can philanthropy do for Syria?

FavoriteThe war in Syria is now in its fourth year. It has cost over 200,000 lives, put 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country (USAID) and displaced 10 million, more than 3 million of whom have fled abroad as refugees. All of this has earned Syria a number of unappealing superlatives: ‘the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era’ (UNHCR); the creator of the ‘worst refugee crisis since the second world war’ (The Economist); and the world’s ‘worst crisis for children’ (UN). With a few notable exceptions, however, western philanthropists have not engaged in Syria.

Why do dictators lock up the poets first?

FavoriteWhy should philanthropists fund the arts? Some have argued that as art is of lesser importance than basics like food, shelter, health and so forth, there is no justification for funding art until world hunger is solved. How then can one justify spending on so-called high arts? Can the arts be seen as effective tools to bring about personal and social change? Is art transformative? Our subject for this Alliance special feature is philanthropy’s attitudes to and role in funding ‘arts and social change’.

Building teams for innovation: a response to ‘Talent for Philanthropy’

FavoriteBy: Simon Willis I enjoyed reading the special feature on ‘Talent for philanthropy’. How we staff philanthropic organizations is an important topic for discussion, and it’s incredibly valuable to have carefully grounded contributions calling for increased effectiveness and professionalism for the sector. Click Go To Resource to read more…

All change at TrustAfrica: interview with Akwasi Aidoo and Tendai Murisa

FavoriteThe unburied dead, small change and the questionability of old men’s wisdom: on the eve of stepping down as executive director of TrustAfrica, an organization he founded some eight years ago, these are among the preoccupations of Akwasi Aidoo. Caroline Hartnell talked to him and to his successor, Tendai Murisa, about how each sees the change and what lies ahead for African foundations. What has been accomplished over the last decade and what comes next?

Strategic or emergent: why are we stuck in the swimming pool?

FavoriteResponses to John Kania, Mark Kramer and Patty Russell’s ‘Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World’, published in the summer issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, have come largely from the US and from people who write regularly about philanthropy. Many of them have focused on the way consultants behave and how they interact with foundations and non-profits – in other words, the philanthropy system. We would like to broaden that debate and in doing so to leave the swimming pool and venture out into the sea.

Stop managing grants. Start managing your network.

FavoriteScaling solutions, building resilience, catalysing innovation: these are the philanthropy sector’s buzzwords du jour. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these goals – except that the current programme officer position isn’t set up to deliver them. If you want to have social impact, stop thinking of this role as managing a set of grants and instead consider what it means to be a network manager.

Transitions: an opportunity like no other

FavoriteFollowing the January 2011 revolt in Tunisia against the regime of President Ben Ali, the country’s transition leaders adopted an open-door approach to foreign aid. An avalanche of mostly uncoordinated aid followed. Donors – private and bilateral – arrived asking questions like, ‘Who is your Mandela?’ They produced an event overload, sponsoring dozens of conferences and hotel-room trainings on identical topics. Funding opportunities and partnerships were concentrated in the capital, Tunis, and in few other parts of the country. Grant applications were often English-only. Talent was drained from local organizations to produce repetitive mappings of civil society for external donors Read more

Interview with Carol Civita, Brazilian philanthropist

FavoriteA disposition to give is not the same as a culture of philanthropy, argues Brazilian philanthropist Carol Civita. Brazil has always had the one but still lacks the other, she tells Caroline Hartnell. Part of the problem is that Brazilians see social problems as the government’s business, but in her view the country needs partnerships between the public sector and private philanthropy if social development is to catch up with economic development. But foundations are beginning to talk to each other, she says, a big step forward.

Interview: Fay Twersky

FavoriteThe philanthropy programme at the Hewlett Foundation is changing. Fay Twersky, director of its Effective Philanthropy Group, tells Caroline Hartnell how and why. She talks about Hewlett’s new emphasis on ‘two-way openness’ and collaboration and the need to create incentives to encourage foundations and grantees to be more open. Finally, she offers her views on ‘emergent philanthropy’ and effective altruism.

Impact investing in a democracy: A response to ‘Markets for Good: removing the barriers’

FavoriteIn the recent Alliance special feature, ‘Markets for good: removing the barriers’, we had not just one article but several from around the globe about social impact investing. It’s a joy to think that the field is now at a point that such an esteemed and diverse group of contributors can come together and debate the issues raised by Monitor Inclusive Markets’ report Beyond the Pioneer: Getting inclusive industries to scale. For me one big issue the report raises is the role of government vis-à-vis impact investing in addressing social problems.

Ukraine: foundations, the crisis and the future

FavoriteSince the explosion of popular protest in Maidan Square, Ukraine has been riven by civil and political strife whose character and shape is often as difficult to discern as its eventual outcome. In this supercharged atmosphere of political protest and martial posturing, what have foundations been doing to help those caught up in events or struggling to reshape their country?

Interview with Paula Jancso Fabiani

FavoriteAt the beginning of September, Paula Jancso Fabiani took over from Marcos Kisil as president of Brazil’s Institute for the Development of Social Investment (IDIS). She talks to Caroline about an advocacy role for IDIS, developing a culture of giving in Brazil, the role of tax incentives, the credibility of NGOs, and the role of women in the country’s non-profit sector. Below, Marcos Kisil talks about the early days of IDIS, the challenges ahead and the leadership transition.

People: philanthropy’s great strength

FavoritePick up any edition of Alliance from the past few years, and one message is clear. In truly unprecedented ways, the global philanthropy sector is on the move, popping up in new places, growing in scale, diversifying in form, and, more than ever before, stretching to tackle the momentous challenges that define our times such as climate change, food and water security, and immigration. While there is much talk of the financial resources needed for success, much less attention is paid to the equally if not more important human resources.

Why funding research is not enough

FavoriteOver ten years, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has run more than 350 studies in 51 countries to find what works in alleviating poverty. They have had some success in influencing policies of governments, NGOs, foundations and others. Here’s what they have found.

The Women Effect

FavoriteTry this exercise. When you think ‘women’ and ‘investing’ what do you think about? This piece is going to ask you to think about the ‘women effect’ as a factor across multiple dimensions where ‘women and girls’ and ‘impact investing’ come together. Across all asset classes, and a variety of stakeholders.

The power of money

FavoriteStephen Pittam discusses the power of money: Six months after I had started working for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) a close friend said to me, ‘you have changed – you expect people to listen to you.’ It was a good reminder of the best piece of advice I received on getting the job. Eric Adams of the Barrow Cadbury Trust told me, ‘keep your feet on the ground and you will be alright’.

Stewarding wealth for the common good: how an Asian family office incorporated climate change mitigation into its portfolio

Favorite‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’ So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.

Setting the record straight: debunking philanthropic myths

FavoriteAlthough much has been written about ‘what donors believe’ and ‘how modern foundations work’, hard data about how private foundation donors view themselves, their roles, and the non-profits they support is relatively scarce. With almost 1,200 US-based private foundation clients, Foundation Source is well positioned to put some of the common assumptions about this sector to the test. Last November, we carried out a survey of our clients that debunked some of philanthropy’s most established axioms – especially those relating to foundation attitudes to non-profits.

New horizons

FavoriteFiliz Bikmen writes about emerging economies and philanthropy: The economic boom of BRICS and MINT countries coupled with the unequal distribution of this growth presents new opportunities and challenges for philanthropy in emerging markets. Among them are different approaches to giving, lukewarm relationships with civil society organizations (CSOs), hesitation about funding ‘unpopular’ issues and the arduous task of building the field of philanthropy. In light of the observations of contributors to this issue, which trends appear to be affecting philanthropic ecosystems in emerging market countries, and what lies ahead?

Interview – Theo Sowa, African Women’s Development Fund

Favorite‘We all have power, different types of power. When we don’t acknowledge that power, it’s easier for others to step all over us.’ As both grantmaker and fundraiser, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) has been on both sides of the fence. As a result, Theo Sowa, AWDF CEO and chair of the African Grantmakers Network, has very clear views about the use and abuse of power. Caroline Hartnell asked her what power AWDF has and how it seeks to use it responsibly, and about the importance of African women setting their own agenda.

Changing roles in a changing world

FavoriteAnthony Tomei writes about the changing global economic structure and how it relates to philanthropy: The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 seems to mark a symbolic moment at which the world changed. The changes were felt very differently in different parts of the world, but it seems likely that the resulting shift in the balance of economic power will turn out to be permanent. What about philanthropy? Five years on, how do things look? How have foundations responded?  Have they changed the way they see their role and the way they do things? These are the questions this Alliance special feature Read more

Bringing grantmaking in from the cold

FavoriteIncreasingly, the practice of grantmaking as a tool for bringing about social change has fallen out of favour, replaced by newer, snappier-sounding forms of philanthropy. In laying out their wares, venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism and, most recently, ‘catalytic philanthropy’ have all made claims for greater effectiveness.  

When is transparency a really bad idea?

FavoriteFashions in philanthropy can be every bit as startling as the catwalk: evaluation methods and grantmaking approaches change as fast as hemlines. But one fashion that is probably here to stay (a bit like men’s suits) is transparency, which makes it worth taking a longer look at. Transparency for funders is a helpful idea, but it’s not a panacea. If private foundations and grantmakers think it is, then their attempts to bring a measure of sunlight to a sector shrouded in mist are likely to fail or, much worse, do damage. We need to recognize that glass-pocket principles need to be Read more