Alliance webinar: How will the study of philanthropy contribute to social impact?


Alliance magazine


Alliance magazine and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School, together hosted a webinar on understanding and improving the global practise of philanthropy.

Kindly sponsored by the CSP, this webinar was an opportunity for attendees to learn how these centres can help practitioners make the fullest possible contribution to solving social problems in countries where institutional philanthropy is rapidly emerging, and to discuss the potential impact of philanthropy within and from the world’s fastest growing regions.

The panellists included: Badr Jafar, founding patron of CSP and CEO of Crescent Enterprises; Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN); Bhekinkosi Moyo, executive director of the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment at Wits Business School, Wits University, South Africa; and Clare Woodcraft, executive director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

‘For decades now, we’ve been talking about the need for philanthropic capital to be more effective and efficient,’ Woodcraft said, when sharing about opening the Centre.

‘I had commissioned a landscape analysis to really look at all academic centres and centres which have their own programmes across the world, really to identify where the gaps were,’ Jafar had commented a few days earlier, in a conversation with Alliance that will be published on 7 July. ‘And it was clear there was a gap in the market, if you will, for a centre dedicated to the emerging market.’

On Wednesday’s webinar, Jafar highlighted the need for strategic philanthropy by giving the example of Islamic philanthropy. In the Muslim world, some $4 billion to $1 trillion is given each year in alms giving, like zakaat and sadaqa; however, one in three Muslims live on less than $2 a day. The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy hopes to look at channelling wealth in situations like that more effectively, he said.

The need for more study of philanthropy was echoed by the nearly 300 participants on the webinar, almost three-quarters of whom indicated ‘not enough’ in a poll asking, ‘Do you think universities are producing enough knowledge about philanthropy?’

Batra shared that the global focus of the new Centre was a crucial dimension, saying, ‘It’s important that we don’t have an American voice or a European voice telling us how to do our philanthropy.’

Moyo – whose work at the Centre on African Philanthropy has focused on gathering data sets by Africans – shared in Batra’s perspective, saying the decolonisation of knowledge was a priority for his Centre, but also any centre to consider.

‘The person who is conducting the research has the ability and flexibility to frame the data,’ Moyo said.

The Centre’s first research project will examine how philanthropists in high-growth markets are changing their priorities and practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to be completed this autumn.

For more information about the CSP, visit To stay up-to-date with the latest news and events from Alliance magazine, including an interview with Badr Jafar, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter.

Watch the full webinar below:

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