WINGSForum 2023: Transform philanthropy to transform the world

Alliance magazine

From October 3-5, 2023, more than 350 attendees from over 50 countries gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the 7th edition of WINGSForum, this year co-hosted with the African Philanthropy Network (APN).

WINGSForum brought together philanthropy leaders, professionals, networks, experts and changemakers, from around the world and representing all forms and types of philanthropy.

WINGS members and participants representing diverse voices from the global philanthropy sector met face to face in Africa for the first time since the pandemic to re-connect, re-build and engage in open, honest and lively discussions on how to ‘Transform Philanthropy to Transform the World’.

​Conference report

Transform philanthropy to transform the world

Ese Emerhi, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Representative for Alliance magazine

The journey to host this year’s WINGS Forum in Nairobi, Kenya began in Mexico in 2017, the last in-person forum of WINGS where it was announced that the 2020 Forum would be held in Africa. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans. This year’s forum brought together over 300 change-makers and development practitioners from around the world committed to transforming practices, institutions, and ways of working to address the complexity and urgency of the multiple global issues that we face today. The isi Zulu (Swahili) saying ‘Izandla ziyagezana’ meaning ‘hands wash each other’, seemed fitting for this event, recognising that for philanthropy to transform and move forward, we need each other. Read more…


‘As we fight to end poverty, we also fight to rebuild our African narratives’ – Interview with Coumba Toure

Tarisai Jangara, African Philanthropy Network

In Africa, storytelling is deeply ingrained in our culture and holds immense value. It has always been a vital part of our lives, bringing families and communities together. I have cherished memories of gathering around the fire, sharing stories, laughter, and delicious roasted maize and nuts. It was during these moments that we felt a strong bond and a sense of belonging. So, when I heard about the storytelling session at the WINGS Forum 2023, I could not contain my excitement. This was not just any ordinary session, but the African Philanthropy night, organised by the Africa Philanthropy Network (APN) members. What made it even more special was the presence of Coumba Toure, a renowned storyteller who had captivated me with her words at the African Philanthropy Conference earlier this year in Senegal at the Africa Philanthropy Conference. Coumba’s ability to bring forth the essence of African values, particularly the concept of ‘Ubuntu’ – the interconnectedness and shared spirit of humanity, made her the perfect choice for the African Philanthropy night. Read more…

Readers poll winner

We need to talk about the D word

Zibran Choudhury, Alliance magazine

Earlier this month, WINGS hosted their 2023 Forum, and Alliance asked its readers what session they would like to hear about most in a poll. The winner was ‘Decolonising Philanthropy: A Global South Exploration’ – take a look at our conference report below. ‘Decolonisation is a term that’s in our minds almost every day, in Brazil. We can talk about colonisation or decolonisation in many dimensions’, started Cassio França of GIFE, and for me it immediately presented the North/South disparity in approaches… Read more…

Reflections from delegates and speakers

The do’s and don’ts of funding networks

Kerstin Tebbe, Collective Mind

At a high level, participants suggested that network funders shouldn’t lead with money. Funding networks is about supporting the network, the collaborative space it fosters, and the members that operate within that space. Funding should be provided thoughtfully based on the network’s needs. Such support is more nuanced than simply throwing money at the network. Read more…


Transformation as the sixth T of philanthropy

Vanessa Stevens, Global Fund for Children.

One framework for a more expansive meaning of giving is the 5 T’s of Philanthropy: Time, Talent, Treasure, Ties, and Testimony. The 2023 WINGSForum in Nairobi brought a sixth T: Transformation. With more than 400 attendees, this global philanthropy gathering called upon philanthropy and its networks to transform at the personal, organizational, and ecosystemic levels. Read more…


After all, we are what we do to change what we are

Eszter Filippinyi, Transparency and Accountability Initiative

Transform philanthropy!! But how exactly? One way is by creating spaces for different voices to come together and be heard. TAI hosted a session at the WINGS Forum* on gender and social inclusion built into funders thematic programming. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations and VOICE colleagues shared their experiences, for instance on tax justice for gender equality, and stressed that a precondition to inclusion was the possibility to participate. But for real participation to happen, there are a set of patriarchal structures we first need to recognize and deconstruct. Read more…

The transformation driven by the Ubuntu spirit

Luisa Lima, IDIS

Over the course of three days, some topics stood out in the conversations and at times, the term of African origin, Ubuntu, which means ‘I am what I am, because we are all of us’, was mentioned. We are all connected, and in our philanthropic practices this understanding, this assumption, can guide everything we do. Read more…

‘Killing our capacity for justice’: Advancing racial justice at WINGSForum 2023

Amy McGoldrick, Alliance magazine

The number of grantmakers in the US who are investing in equity and justice over the past decade has grown significantly. In 2011, there were 3,369 grantmakers in equity, and 470 in justice. In 2018, there were 18,272 in equity and 2,753 in justice. However, the percentage of giving in the US remains miniscule. In 2018, amidst a $92 billion total of foundation funding, equity funding amounted to $5.79 billion, and justice only $0.93 billion. Read more…

Elephants transforming philanthropy: Reforming international development at WINGSForum 2023

Amy McGoldrick, Alliance magazine

Reforming International Development had two – very different – sessions during the WINGSForum. The first was upon the terrace, dubbed the ‘Garden of Experimentation’, where statements were made and those in attendance were to choose if they agreed or disagreed, by standing on either side of the room.

Below are the questions, with a few audience members’ justifications for you to ponder. What would your answers be? Read more…

Building collective power at WINGSForum 2023

Amy McGoldrick, Alliance magazine

Due diligence. Risk analysis. Compliance. Vetting. These words, Matthew Patten at Catalyst2030 acknowledges, can make us shudder. Why? ‘It can present resource challenges, and real significant barriers to civil society organisations.’ So how do we shift the narrative to something that resonates?

Current information requested by funders of organisations can often be seen as imposing western standards and control mechanisms, reinforcing unequal power dynamics. Read more…

News and announcements

New WINGS award to recognise field-building funders

Zibran Choudhury, Alliance magazine

WINGS have announced a new award to recognise and encourage funders that support the ongoing development and transformation of the field. The Ecosystem Funder award was announced at the 7th edition of WINGSForum, co-hosted with the African Philanthropy Network (APN) in Nairobi, Kenya, which gathered over 350 participants from over 50 countries. Read more…


Further reading

Comments (0)

Mwadhini Myanza

WINGS 2023 in Nairobi proved that human beings are one, and philanthropy, being a natural life is a cross cutting agenda towards a true world.

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Transform philanthropy to transform the world

Ese Emerhi