Turning philanthropy on its head


Global Greengrants Fund

Terry Odendahl

Terry Odendahl

While brainstorming ideas for this post, we checked in to see what others were writing about on Latest from Alliance… turns out everything is interconnected.

Our founder, Chet Tchozewski, submitted the blog’s very first installment on Steve Gunderson’s departure from the Council on Foundations. More recently, our former program director, Chris Allan, reflected on his experience at June’s Grantmakers Without Borders conference. Drawing inspiration from each of their blogs, we are struck by how long-divergent tracks of international funding from the US now seem to be drawing closer together.

Dating back more than 50 years, the Council on Foundations is the largest membership organization for United States grantmakers. The Council has historically represented more traditional forms of philanthropy. At one time, grantmaking intermediaries, such as Global Fund for Women and Grassroots International, were not even welcome as members.

On the other hand, Grantmakers Without Borders was formed around global social change philanthropy of all kinds, including supporting grantmakers and grantmaking intermediaries. When formed, and still today, GWOB was the cutting edge in the global grantmaking field – actively promoting international philanthropy and innovative models for its delivery. A decade ago these were low priorities at the Council; we had to lobby hard to get a session on their agenda.

Much has changed over the years, yet the two remain different in professed ideology: the Council sits more neutrally, while GWOB is more progressive.

Now John Harvey, founder and executive director of GWOB for 10 years, is managing the international programme at the Council on Foundations. How will his influence affect the future role of the Council within the broader community of global philanthropy?

Meanwhile, GWOB is searching for a new executive director and contemplating a new strategic plan. Now, more than ever, we need effective social change philanthropy. How can GWOB help fill that need?

Terry Odendahl is executive director and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund

Tagged in: Council on Foundations Grantmakers without Borders

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