This issue looks at the rise of community philanthropy – the idea that development should be owned by local people not imposed from the outside. Community philanthropy’s advocates, many of whom are featured in this issue of Alliance, argue that, in addition to being socially just, this approach to development is the key to sustainable development.
In a powerful call to action to coincide with the December 2016 Global Summit on Community Philanthropy in Johannesburg, guest editors Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight argue that durable development requires the formation of local assets, the fostering of trust, and capacity building from the bottom up. As they put it, community philanthropy’s emphasis on ‘local resources and local accountability’ is a central pillar for ‘effective development’. They write:
In this special feature on community philanthropy, we propose a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions – and resulting distortions – of mainstream development. The ‘three-legged stool’ of community philanthropy combines asset development, capacity building and the strengthening of trust between multiple local and external stakeholders. Durable development follows John Ruskin’s maxim – ‘when we build, let us think we build forever’.
Jenny and Barry’s piece from the special feature – #ShiftThePower: The rise of community philanthropy – is available free to read.
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