Alliance digital event: A global conversation on the future of philanthropy

Annmarie McQueen

What does the future of philanthropy look like? Over 2021, as a part of Alliance magazine’s special 25th-anniversary celebrations, we explored that question through six special digital events across Africa, the Arab region, Asia & the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

For the final event in our series, we convened voices from each of those six panels to have a global conversation.

Moderated by Alliance’s digital editor Elika Roohi, the panel included:

  • Caroline McLaughlin, Chief Partnerships Officer, Asia Venture Philanthropy Network
  • Naila Farouky, CEO, Arab Foundations Forum
  • Delphine Moralis, Chief Executive, Philanthropy Europe Association
  • Paula Fabiani, President, Institute for the Development of Social Investment in Brazil
  • Dave Biemesderfer, Forum President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum
  • Caesar Ngule, Programmes Director, Kenya Community Development Foundation

Here’s are the key takeaways from each panellist.

Caroline McLaughlin

  • There is an accelerating trend towards collaborative philanthropy in Asia as more funders work together to deploy funds
  • There is a growing awareness of cross-cutting issues, and a focus on the intersection between issues such as education, gender, climate change and agriculture. This is encouraging funders to ‘think more systemically and strategically about how they’re deploying philanthropy… to support a wider range of issues facing the same challenges.’
  • There’s more openness to unrestricted funding for grantees, which is a ‘trend which we are certainly encouraging our funders to continue.’

Naila Farouky

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a global paradigm shift all over the world and has caused some issues, such as the climate crisis, to be prioritised in the Arab region.
  • The Arab Foundation Forum has made drastic changes to the structure of the organisation. Though it’s still a membership network, they have opened up the eligibility criteria to be more inclusive for a ‘broader cross-section of the sector.’
  • There is a trend towards funders being ‘more purposeful in their programming with an eye towards creating more effective impact in bridging the gap in wealth.’
  • Along with the climate crisis, there is also a strong interest in tangential issues including mental health, education, and general health.

Delphine Moralis

  • Philea is a brand new organisation that ‘builds on the legacy of the European Foundation Centre and DAFNE’ and brings together 250 foundations and 29 national associations.
  • There’s more collaboration between foundations, but also more collaboration ‘with their grantees, operating more and more on the basis of trust.’
  • A rise in participatory grantmaking, including a rise in youth participation to invest in long-term change for the future.
  • There is a renewed desire from philanthropic organisations to ‘collaborate with authorities.’
  • A continued reflection on localisation with growth in community philanthropy and local solidarity, as well as a stronger desire to work internationally across borders.
  • Foundations are becoming more conscious about where their endowments are invested, with more interest in mission-aligned investing.

Paula Fabiani

  • Technology is changing the philanthropic sector, with more attention being paid to data generation, use and impact evaluation.
  • There are no more borders between ‘venture philanthropy and blended finance and other mechanisms to create social and environmental impact.’
  • There is more collaboration in the sector, for example between businesses, the philanthropic sector and the government to promote uptake of Covid vaccines.
  • There’s also more collaboration on tackling issues including the SDGs, racial equity, climate action and promoting a ‘culture of giving’ in the region.
  • Growth in community philanthropy organisations to ‘help solve local problems.’
  • More grant-making to strengthen civil society organisations.
  • More philanthropic interest in education, democracy, diversity and poverty alleviation.

Dave Biemesderfer

  • United Philanthropy Forum is a U.S. network representing more than 7,000 funders.
  • Will funders make permanent some of the changes in grant-making practices (moving towards a trust-based principle) that they’ve instituted during the pandemic, and will more funders follow suit?
  • A number of funders have made public commitments to advance racial equity and justice, will these commitments continue and grow or will the field move on to the next trend? Will funders make internal commitments to ‘ensure they are operating as equitable organisations?’
  • Will we see more high net worth donors ‘consider less traditional methods for using their wealth to benefit communities’ and go down the path of Mackenzie Scott?
  • Will the sector be proactive to get behind proposals to ensure ‘charitable funds are used appropriately and in a timely manner to benefit communities?’
  • Can philanthropy step up to confront the global climate crisis?
  • Can philanthropy commit ‘not just their dollars but their voice’ to strengthening democracy in the U.S.?

Caesar Ngule

  • The ESG agenda is opening doors for African philanthropy, with competition among the corporate sector in the sense of ‘every investor in philanthropy wanting impact.’ More people are beginning to ‘consciously listen to what communities want.’
  • Secrecy in giving is being eliminated, with high net worth individuals beginning to give openly without fears of being accused of money laundering.
  • More investment around legislative agenda to incentivise and facilitate giving.
  • The solidarity people found during the Covid-19 pandemic has not been lost, and is growing in momentum.
  • Greater investment in the capacity of organisations, with more organisations ‘trying to negotiate for a little bit more institutional support’.
  • There is a growing appreciation for the role of communities and grassroots organisations.

Watch the full recording of the event here:

Our next Alliance event coincides with the publication of our March 2022 issue and looks at the topic of mental health philanthropy. The event takes place on 8 March at 11 a.m. GMT. Register now to attend.


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