Welcome to the June 2024 issue of Alliance

Charles Keidan

Like motherhood and apple pie, who would not be in favour of pursuing the common good? But what exactly is the common good? And do those of us working in philanthropy have a special responsibility to define and pursue it? 

Against the backdrop of authoritarian populism, technological disruption to public interest media, the onset of climate change and a host of other challenges, addressing these questions seems more critical than at any other point in my lifetime. 

It is therefore timely that these are the questions animating our latest special feature on the common good. Guest edited by Judith Symonds and Brice Sievers, two veteran philanthropy thinkers and teachers, they bring depth, insight and perspective as well as a global group of stellar contributors under the rubric of the Pursuit of the Common Good initiative.  

Since our last issue was published, I’ve been on the road attending what feels like an ever-growing number of philanthropy gatherings. One which was off the beaten track took place in April on the shores of Lake Annecy organised by Fondation de France and the Geneva’s Centre for Philanthropy. While briefly extracted (and perhaps abstracted) from the cut and thrust of daily philanthropy news and views, I had the privilege to moderate a tribunal on the question of whether philanthropy is political.  

Can pawnbrokers act with a social purpose and contribute to the common good? In our interview with Alejandra Angarita Chahín, the Social Investment director at Mexico’s Monte de Piedad Foundation, she explains how this not only happens but has a long tradition in the country. 

Elsewhere, this month’s Critical Friend column looks at the vexed relationship between philanthropy and social justice while Cecilia Galván and Gaston Wright from Civic House reflect on the implications of Javier Milei’s election in Argentina and why it’s a wake-up call for philanthropy and nonprofits to familiarise themselves with digital campaigning. 

Finally, I’m delighted to note that the online version of this issue is available without a paywall, thanks to a generous grant from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. As with all Hewlett media grants, this grant maintains editorial independence for the publication. The Hewlett Foundation has also supported a survey which informed some of the insights covered by our focus on the topic of the common good – all while staying at arm’s length and maintaining independence. Thank you to them for that, thus enabling us to propagate the philanthropy conversation far and wide. 

We hope you enjoy where the conversation goes as you – like us – follow your own path in pursuit of the common good.

Apology: Nwamaka Agbo and the Kataly Foundation 

An image in the March print edition which perpetuated harmful stereotypes appeared alongside their article. Alliance apologises unreservedly to Nwamaka Agbo and the Kataly Foundation for this error.

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