The Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University held its Leadership Summit 2011 on 17-19 February 2011 on ‘Global Philanthropy’. About 40 institutions were represented from around the world, including universities, grantmakers and charities.
Keynote speaker Dame Stephanie Shirley, the UK’s first Ambassador for Philanthropy, spoke about ‘Giving Philanthropists a Voice Worldwide’ while Sir C Duncan Rice, former principal of the University of Aberdeen and conference co-chair, talked about ‘(Mostly) British Philanthropy since 1995’. Other highlights of the conference included an impassioned and engaging address by John Sexton, president of NYU, entitled ‘A Fundraising Life’, and an inspiring presentation by Ronald B Bruder (founder and chairman of the Education for Employment Foundation) from the front lines of development.
There were interesting sessions on corporate philanthropy and on technology and Stacy Palmer of the Chronicle of Philanthropy took the delegates through her neat summary of ‘Ten New Trends in Philanthropy’.
Though there were excellent speakers and a thoughtful programme and the conference drew delegates from many countries, it nevertheless felt fairly US-focused. A session on ‘International Fundraising’ was strangely silent on the most exciting development in Europe in recent times: the impact of the Hein Persche case on cross-border giving and fundraising. The Hein Persche enables donors to get tax relief on any monetary gift they give to any charity within the EU.
Separate workshops on Arts Philanthropy and Higher Education Philanthropy were fused in the interests of keeping to schedule, and this seemed to limit chances for participant dialogue and exchange. There was also a real emphasis on the fundraising side (and much about ‘the ask’), with less on the philanthropy side and little on some key issues facing donors such as evaluating impact, giving strategically, or giving across generations.
Overall the programme was good and the speakers excellent and there were many opportunities to network and share experiences.
Sue Daniels is executive director of the European Association for Philanthropy and Giving. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alana Lowe-Petraske is a solicitor in the Charities and Philanthropy team at Withers LLP. Email Alana.email@example.com