June 2007

The new challenges of global philanthropy

Volume 12 , Number 2

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June 2007

The new challenges of global philanthropy

Volume 12 , Number 2

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International funding presents vast, multifaceted problems that require almost unlimited resources if they are to be solved. Most foundations have relatively limited resources – how do they ensure they are adding value? How do they remain focused when the problems communities face are so interrelated? What role can smaller foundations play? These are the basic questions addressed by the various contributors to this issue’s special feature on global philanthropy.

Guest editors Peter Laugharn, Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of CIVICUS, each offer funders six things to think about if they want their funding to be more effective. Agnès Binagwaho, head of the Rwandan national AIDS programme, insists that foundations must align their activities with national efforts, while Peter Piot of UNAIDS stresses their role as ‘thought leaders’. Luc Tayart de Borms argues that donors’ exclusive reliance on civil society to achieve their goals may do more harm than good, while Andrés Thompson looks at the dilemmas facing foundation programmes that develop human capital but leave people jobless.

Other articles in the special feature look at a new study of UK foundations that fund overseas to the tune of less than £1 million a year and the recently published Principles of Accountability for International Philanthropy. Finally, a panel of bilateral funders talk about how they see the role of foundations in international development.

Also in this issue of Alliance, Nnimmo Bassey questions the value of the new Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, while Jo Andrews reflects on Great Philanthropic Mistakes.

Guest Editors' Article

How can we do better?

1 June 2007
Peter Laugharn

The world is facing urgent and complex problems which are global in their nature and thus beyond the capability of national governments to solve alone. How can foundations contribute to solving these problems? In both the US and Europe, a handful of foundations are responsible for over half of international funding. More foundations need to be involved, and more effectively. This article looks at the current state of international funding and makes a number of …

 
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Editorial

Can we do better?

It seems that foundations, whatever their current mission and focus, are increasingly being pushed to try to tackle the world’s most pressing, and threatening, issues – poverty, disease, global warming. While this year’s Council on Foundations conference looked at ‘Philanthropy and the Challenges of Our Time’, the European Foundation Centre’s conference focuses on ‘The New Challenges of Global Philanthropy’. This is also the theme of this issue of Alliance, while the September issue will focus on addressing climate change. What role can foundations play in international development? And can we do it better? These are the basic questions addressed by …

Letters

Forget feel-good philanthropy

Bruce Sievers

Among the many interesting points that can be debated about the merits and demerits of ‘philanthrocapitalism’, the question of how …

Who counts?

David Bonbright

The interplay between the articles in the March issue was particularly interesting. I think, for example, that Matthew Bishop genuinely …

A limited idea of philanthropy?

Charles Keidan

The March edition of Alliance focused attention on the idea of philanthrocapitalism. To the extent that philanthrocapitalism represents a model …

Transforming mindsets for the better

Chris Mkhize

Your recent article in Alliance Online, ‘What Should Philanthropy Do?’ is an article that I feel has the potential to …