On this first anniversary of Olga Alexeeva’s death, the trustees of Philanthropy Bridge Foundation and Alliance magazine, together with a special working group formed at a meeting in London in January (see below), are pleased to announce a philanthropy prize in Olga’s name.
The Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize of £5,000 will be awarded to an individual who has demonstrated remarkable leadership, creativity and results in developing philanthropy for progressive social change in an emerging market country or countries. The prize will be for the individual winner to use at their discretion. The nomination process will open in early September, and profiles of the shortlisted finalists will appear in a special edition of Alliance magazine on emerging markets philanthropy to be published in March 2013. The selection of the prize winner will be conducted with input from a public online vote and the final decision will be made by a panel of judges.
The news of Olga Alexeeva’s sudden death exactly a year ago came as a huge and terrible shock to her many friends and colleagues around the world. Olga was only 42. She had recently left Charities Aid Foundation (where she had worked for 20 years, first in Russia and then globally) to set up the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation (PBF). The goal of PBF was to build meaningful connections, partnerships and, most importantly, trust between philanthropists looking to give and individuals and institutions looking to ‘do’ in developing and emerging market countries around the world. It was, in Olga’s words, a ‘project of creativity’ and its plans were bold and ambitious: they included travelling seminars in India, an initiative to introduce philanthropy in schools in China, a programme around celebrity giving and workshops for donors in emerging markets. Underpinning all of these ideas was Olga’s unswerving belief that philanthropy should and could be about making the world a better and fairer place and that the best solutions invariably emerge when initiative and inspiration emerge out of the local context rather than being imported from outside.
Following Olga’s death, however, and with PBF still so new and dependent on Olga herself – her vitality and creativity, as well her extensive network – the trustees of PBF decided that the organization would not be viable over the long term without its founder and would therefore be wound down. In January 2012, the PBF trustees hosted a seminar, ‘Building Bridges: Developing Philanthropy in Emerging Markets’, in London which brought together many of Olga’s former colleagues, partners and contacts from around the world to determine what parts of Olga’s work and her vision might be carried on by others.
One of the proposals that emerged from the meeting was to establish a prize in Olga’s name. More details about the prize will be published in early September.