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December 2008

How far will they go? How far will foundations go to try to solve the world’s most pressing problems?

Volume 13 , Number 4

PDF - £10.00 Hard copy (£15.00)

The guest editor for this Alliance special feature is: Diana Leat.

How far are foundations willing to go to try to solve what they see as the most urgent problems facing the human race – whether it’s climate change or proliferation of nuclear arms or HIV/AIDS? This is the central question raised by this Alliance special feature.

While several articles focus on the reasons why foundations mostly don’t take on the biggest issues, others feature some of the few exceptions we found, including the India-based Khemka Foundation, the Canopus Foundation in Germany, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, and the Rosenberg Foundation and the Brainerd Foundation in the USA.
The December issue of Alliance also includes an article by Laura Starita asking whether donors are willing to pay for advice; an article considering what sort of entities the Global Fund for Community Foundations should be supporting; and a selection of views, from editorial board members and others, on the implications of the global financial crisis on philanthropy and civil society.

Guest Editors' Article

Dreamers of small dreams

1 December 2008
Diana Leat

Many foundations have grand missions stating wildly optimistic aspirations rather than recipes for direction and action. In some cases the mission is so all-encompassing that nothing short of global revolution, combined with divine intervention, is required if it is to be achieved. Other foundations have more modest missions, or choose to interpret their missions more modestly to focus on one or more issues. But how many foundations are willing to change course in order to …

 
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Editorial

Exploring our futures

You may notice that the special feature in this issue of Alliance is shorter than usual. Well, you may not notice – and you may wonder why I’m drawing your attention to a housekeeping issue like this. The reason is that we wanted it to be longer but simply couldn’t find the material to include. Entitled ‘How far will they go?’ the special feature looks at how far foundations are willing to go to try to solve what they see as the most urgent problems facing the human race – whether it’s climate change or proliferation of nuclear arms or …

Letters

Tilting the balance of power towards the middle

Pablo Eisenberg

I must take issue with David Emerson’s response to Rick Cohen’s article on philanthropic watchdogs. The experience of the American …

What about the media?

Fernando Rossetti

Although it is true that foundations – like any other human institution – need watchdogs to assure good governance, civil …

Preferring the carrot to the stick

Steve Gunderson

When history looks back on the philanthropic world in the first decade of the 21st century, I suspect it will …

Watchdog or champion?

Gerry Salole

I have been reading with interest and some bemusement the exchange of articles concerning the merits of external watchdog organizations. …

Moving on from definitions

Peter Kenyon

I read the latest edition of Alliance on my way home from this year’s European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) conference …

The right match

Alliance magazine

In the September 2008 issue of Alliance, Matthew Bishop and Michael Edwards offer contrasting views on the subject of ‘philanthrocapitalism’. …

Objects or subjects?

David Bonbright

I was struck by the similar use of the term ‘beneficiary’ in the letters from Felicitas von Peter and Theresa …