An embarrassment of riches as we say goodbye to 2012


Caroline Hartnell

Caroline Hartnell

Caroline Hartnell

This will be the last Latest from Alliance post of 2012. We will start posting daily when we’re back at work on 2 January. Thank you to all our readers, whose numbers have grown steadily over the last year.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been involved in the process of shortlisting nominated candidates for the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize – along with Maria Chertok of CAF Russia and Jenny Hodgson of Global Fund for Community Foundations. The thing we all dreaded when we put out the call for nominations a few months ago was that we would get to the deadline (1 December) and find ourselves with hardly anyone to choose from.

Luckily this couldn’t have been further from the case. The call for nominations was more successful than any of us had imagined possible – an embarrassment of riches! We ended up spending several hours on skype coming to some very difficult decisions about who to include. We are all relieved that we won’t be the ones to make the final decision – our panel of distinguished judges will face that hard task!

Looking back over Latest from Alliance posts for the last three months (we post daily – looking through the last year’s post would have been too much!), I find the same embarrassment of riches. We have regular posts reflecting on what’s happening in India, Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia, the good news and the less good, as in Maria Chertok’s 28 September post after USAID was thrown out of the country by the Russian government. In partnership with Mama Cash, we have just started featuring regular pieces from different members of the International Network of Women’s Funds and look forward to hearing more from these funds in 2013.

Conference reports over the last three months come from London, Berlin, São Paulo, Johannesburg, Dublin, Brussels, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal, Salzburg, New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Stift Altenberg monastery in Austria, and Cairo. I can’t remember ever reading such enthusiastic conference reports as those that came from the African Grantmakers Network Assembly at the end of October. ‘To be present was to witness a vibrant and expanding movement for African philanthropy, deeply committed to a vision of active citizenship and social justice,’ wrote Barry Smith on 7 November.

Are we picking up trends? It is clear that impact investment and social enterprise are developing apace across the world, but at the same time the need for, and emphasis on, social justice, and social justice philanthropy, is as great as ever.

My only regret is that we don’t see more discussion, especially when we have particularly thought-provoking posts like Halima Mahomed’s 26 October post ‘Giving charity a bad name’ in which she questions the growing assumption that philanthropy is good and charity therefore somehow inferior. Everyone has too much to read!

But for the next ten days at least we will have a break. Our warmest wishes for the coming holiday season from all of the Alliance team to all of our readers and contributors across the world.

Caroline Hartnell is editor of Alliance magazine.

In the hoiday spirit of giving, Alliance is offering 50% off new subscriptions ordered before the end of 2012. To take advantage of this offer send the discount form to by 31 December 2012.


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