The Philanthropy Thinker

Philanthropy needs and deserves more debate, critical thinking and scrutiny. The Philanthropy Thinker – Alliance’s new online column – aims to offer perspectives from the best and brightest philanthropy practitioners the world over.

While Alliance neither seeks nor expects a pre-determined viewpoint, our Philanthropy Thinkers have one thing in common – an ability to think hard about our field and a willingness to say something different and distinctive on the toughest and searching questions facing philanthropy.

Alliance aims to hold up a mirror to philanthropy worldwide – we hope you enjoy the view.  Charles Keidan Editor, Alliance

Philanthropy Thinker pieces

July 2017 – Amitabh Behar’s wake-up call to Indian philanthropy – The needle has swung the wrong way: it’s time for India’s philanthropy reckoning

August 2017Filiz Bikmen on resilient philanthropy in Turkey – Keep on, keeping on: resilient philanthropy in Turkey

September 2017 – Lisa Jordan on the promise of private foundations  – Keeping faith with the promise of a private foundation

October 2017 – Florencia Roitstein on the shortcomings of philanthropy in Latin America – Latin America: sharing philanthropy, not hoarding wealth

November 2017 – Halima Mahomed on philanthropy and tax justice – Global corporations avoid millions in tax – and philanthropy is benefiting!


Amitabh Behar is the executive director of the National Foundation for India. His areas of interest include governance and civil society, and his work focuses on topics relating to social action and government accountability. Behar is vice-chair of CIVICUS and convener of the National Social Watch Coalition, and was co-chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) from 2010-16. The Global Fund for Community Foundations called Behar ‘one of the leading experts on people-centred advocacy.’ He joined the board of the Global Fund for Community Foundations in 2015. Previously, Behar worked as the executive director of the National Centre for Advocacy Studies. Behar has written for Alliance on the topic of philanthropy and its role in a democratic India.

Filiz Bikmen is founding Director of Esas Sosyal, a family fund based in Turkey. She also leads grantmaking in Turkey for EMpower – Emerging Markets Foundation, which focuses on at-risk youth. She continues to provide strategic advisory for international foundations and is board member of the Interaction Institute for Social Change in Boston. Bikmen began her career as an organizational development consultant before being appointed executive director of the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV). AT TUSEV, Bikmen spearheaded a partnership with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) to reform Turkey’s Associations and Foundations Law and subsequently served as chair of ICNL’s board. Following TUSEV, Bikmen was founding Director of Programs and International Relations at the Sabanci Foundation from 2007 until 2013.

Lisa Jordan is a senior philanthropic executive with a twenty year career focused on social justice, impact and systemic change. She has served the largest foundations in the Netherlands, Porticus and the Bernard van Leer Foundation as top leadership and in the Ford Foundation as part of the management team.


Florencia Roitstein is co founder and director of Ellas: Women & Philanthropy and Director of the CSR School in Uruguay. Born in Argentina, she has also lived in the US and France, and worked in Japan and across Latin American and the Caribbean. Roitstein has been involved for more than 20 years in CSR, sustainable development and philanthropy working across government, corporations, media and civil society. She currently teaches at the University of San Andrés (Argentina) and at iaelyon School of Management (Lyon, France).

Halima Mahomed is an independent consultant whose work focuses on research and advocacy to strengthen the narrative, knowledge, practice and impact of African philanthropy. Over the last 16 years she has been closely affiliated with, amongst others, the Ford Foundation, TrustAfrica and the Global Fund for Community Foundations. She is also a member of Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace and of the Alliance Magazine Editorial Board. Halima has written extensively on African philanthropy, and holds a Masters in Development Studies, with a focus on social justice philanthropy.

Coming up

December 2017 – Krystian Seibert on philanthropy in Australia