Types of philanthropy support

Alliance magazine

The world of philanthropy support is increasingly multi-faceted. Philanthropy ‘infrastructure’ is something of a catch-all for a multiplicity of organizational forms and functions which defy easy categorization – an assortment of membership associations, research and advisory organizations, academic centres, think-tanks, tech platforms, and information providers, all reflecting the growth, proliferation and overlapping nature of philanthropy support. The examples below give a flavour of this variety

Data on foundations

Foundation Center, US
A leading repository of information on foundations which describes its mission as to ‘strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy in the US and around the world’. The Foundation Center maintains extensive databases on grantmakers and their grants especially in the US foundation sector. It also conducts research and training, produces directories, research reports, and non-profit management and fundraising guides. Its publications include Foundation Directory and Philanthropy News Digest

For more, see http://foundationcenter.org

China Foundation Center
Formed in 2010 by a group of 35 foundations, CFC describes itself as ‘an independent non-governmental information disclosure platform’ for Chinese foundations. Its founding rationale was to bring greater transparency to a burgeoning Chinese foundation sector to combat state suspicion on the one hand and public mistrust on the other. It took the US Foundation Center as its model. It maintains a database of Chinese foundations and, through its board and management team, also offers expert advice.

For more, see: http://en.foundationcenter.org.cn

Philanthropy think-tank

New Philanthropy Capital, UK
Describing itself as a ‘consultancy and think-tank dedicated to helping charities and funders achieve the greatest impact possible’, NPC was set up in 2002 by then Goldman Sachs partners, Gavyn Davies and Peter Wheeler. Its clients include foundations and philanthropists and it offers consultancy and advisory services as well as commissioned research to inform and influence public policy. Its funding comes from a mix of earned income and donations. Its 2016 Annual Report notes the contributions of both the Oak and Tuixen foundations to its core funding.

For more, see http://www.thinknpc.org

Philanthropy research and teaching

Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy, Ashoka University, India
Established in 2016, CSIP is India’s first academic centre whose aim is to enable strategic, robust philanthropy for social impact. Led by Ingrid Srinath, the Centre is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Citibank, along with Indian philanthropists Ashish Dhawan, Amit Chandra and Archana Chandra. The Centre’s aim is to address some of the critical gaps in Indian philanthropy by providing research into the sector, capacity building programmes particularly on leadership and governance, and clear norms and standards of good practice.

For more, see http://www.ashoka.edu.in/page/csip-63 

Classic donor association

Philanthropy Australia
Philanthropy Australia’s aim is to serve the country’s philanthropic community in order to create ‘more and better philanthropy’. Though its 800 members are primarily trusts and foundations, they also include corporates, families, individual donors, professional advisers, intermediaries and not-for-profit organizations. Its services include advice, advocacy, conferences and seminars, provision of information, and peer learning and training. Among the most striking of its activities, it organizes an annual series of awards, the Australian Philanthropy Awards and an annual Philanthropy Meets Parliament summit which brings together politicians and donors.

For more, see http://www.philanthropy.org.au

Hybrid donor association

Fondation de France
Established in 1969 on the initiative of Charles de Gaulle and then minister of culture, Andre Malraux, Fondation de France is nonetheless a private foundation. It is a combination of donor, funding its own programmes, and philanthropy support organization. In its donor role, it describes its projects as ‘general interest’ and since its creation has supported over 160,000 projects in areas such as preventing school dropout, employment, housing and medical research. As a philanthropy support organization, it provides an umbrella under which donors can create their own foundations, offering funding, technical support and advice, research, networking and the sharing of best practice.

For more, see http://www.fondationdefrance.org

Grassroots philanthropy infrastructure

Kenya Community Development Foundation
KCDF provides grants, advice, information, peer learning and training, as well as advocating the cause of communities and organizations with the state and public institutions. Its areas of special interest are education, water, sanitation and health, early childhood development, education, urban and rural livelihoods, and youth development. It has also been at the fore in pushing for policies to create a more favourable climate for philanthropy in East Africa and was instrumental in the formation of the African Grantmakers Network.

For more, see http://www.kcdf.or.ke 

Philanthropy advisers

Active Philanthropy, Germany
Founded in 2006 by Felicitas von Peter who, with Michael Alberg-Seberich, is one of two managing partners, Active Philanthropy is a charitable company providing impartial philanthropy advice primarily to individuals and families. In addition to the fees it charges for its services, the company derives its income from individuals involved in philanthropy, who also act as trustees and as mentors to clients. It also sees itself as a ‘network of networks’ (the institutions of which it is a member include the European Venture Philanthropy Association, European Foundation Centre and the Association of German Foundations) which allows it a wider range of contacts and resources than its small size would suggest.

For more, see http://activephilanthropy.org

Wealth management advisers

UBS, Switzerland
UBS is one of an increasing number of private banks and wealth managers which offers advice on philanthropy to ultra-wealthy clients. Based in Switzerland and with a presence in 52 countries, it offers advice on areas such as developing a strategy, simplifying giving and maximizing impact. It also provides advice on family philanthropy, succession planning, the different forms of giving vehicles (it has its own foundation, the UBS Optimus Foundation, and donor-advised fund) and provides introductions to other philanthropists. It also organizes elite events chief among which is the annual UBS Philanthropy Forum.

For more, see http://www.ubs.com

Crowdfunding platform

Tencent Charity Foundation, China
In 2007, Tencent Holdings became the first Chinese social media company to set up a foundation, the Tencent Charity Foundation. In 2013 it added a philanthropy site, Tencent Charity, a mobile and desktop donation venue, to its WeChat social platform, which has an estimated 938 million users and has stimulated mass small-scale giving. Its e-payment system allows donations of less than $1 and users can pick from more than 24,000 regularly updated individual causes in China and around the world. According to a Forbes article in May 2017, some 100 million users had donated 1.7 billion yuan ($250 million), an average of only 17 yuan, or $2.50 per user.

Fore more, see http://www.tencent.com

Donor platform and services

Asia Philanthropy Circle
Based in in Singapore, APC was set up in 2015 as a platform for Asian philanthropists to increase the impact of their giving through coordination of their efforts, exchange of information and collaboration between members. Set up by Singaporean philanthropists Laurence Lien, Stanley Tan and Indonesian philanthropist Cherie Nursalim, APC, like KCDF, instigates projects and its prime movers are themselves experienced philanthropists. At present, it has 27 members, philanthropists from Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and China. Membership is by invitation rather than open to all donors. In addition to trying to stimulate social change through its projects, it also advocates for the role of Asian philanthropy throughout the region, builds the capacity of donors and brings together leaders from different sectors and regions in order to try to produce concerted action.

For more, see: http://www.asiaphilanthropycircle.org

Social movement

Launched by US non-profit 92nd Street Y, in New York in 2012, to celebrate giving and to serve as an antidote to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the #GivingTuesday idea has spread rapidly. In the most recent series of events, in 2017, 42 countries took part – among them Brazil, Uruguay, Uganda, Liberia, Russia, India and Singapore – many of which have vastly different philanthropic cultures. Using the reach and influence of social media, #GivingTuesday provides a platform for social sector organizations to showcase their activities and for donors to help support them. While the founding team offers support, those operating #GivingTuesday campaigns are free to modify the original idea according to local circumstances. In 2017 the campaign produced over $300 million in online gifts.

For more, see http://www.givingtuesday.org

Risk management/de-risking services

NGOsource, a joint venture of TechSoup and the Council on Foundations, helps US grantmakers streamline their international giving. Launched in 2013, NGOsource’s equivalency determination (ED) process simplifies the task of evaluating whether a non-US organization is the equivalent of a US public charity. Grantmakers join NGOSource and, for a fee, can request an ED on a given NGO. NGOsource deals with the entire process and issues an ED certificate or explains why the NGO doesn’t meet the criteria. Details of the NGO are then held on NGOsource’s database in order to expedite future ED requests, which speeds up the process and eases the burden of cross-border giving for both donor and grantee.

For more, see http://www.ngosource.org

Professional sub-association

Association of Fundraisers, Brazil
The Associação Brasileira de Captadores de Recursos was founded in 1999 by a group of Brazilian fundraisers with the purpose of establishing a national network of their fellows to strengthen professional links, provide a platform for the exchange of technical information and generally increase the standards of the sector. It also works to ensure the credibility and representativeness of the profession in the eyes of both state and people. Membership is open to both institutions and individuals and, according to its website, it currently has over 400 members. It runs an annual conference, the ABCR Festival and a free online platform on fundraising knowledge, Captamos.

Philanthropy watchdogs

Inside Philanthropy, US
Inside Philanthropy is a website providing coverage of institutional philanthropy principally in the US. Created in 2013 by former Demos Senior Fellow, David Callahan, who is still its editor, it aims to increase oversight and transparency in large-scale philanthropy. It states, ‘we believe the resources of philanthropy should be accessible to all, not just to those with the right connections’. It issues its own set of awards, such as the Philanthropist of the Year award and the Boldest Philanthropic Vision award, and is noted for its ‘relative generosity’ index, rating donors who score poorly in its estimation when it comes to the proportion of their wealth they have given away. In its own words, ‘while… we write often about smart and creative funders, we raise tough questions about the role of private money in public life’.

For more, see: http://www.insidephilanthropy.com

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, US
Founded in 1976 by Pablo Eisenberg, Thomas Asher and Jim Abernathy, the self-styled ‘independent watchdog of philanthropy’ (it should be noted that its work is confined to the US) aims to promote a philanthropy that ‘serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity’ and which holds itself ‘accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness’. It works through a combination of advocacy campaigns, research and initiatives like the NCRP Impact Awards which honour foundations showing ‘leadership, innovation and commitment’ in dealing with pressing social problems.

For more, see http://www.ncrp.org

Comments (1)

James Posner

Very useful to have quick lists of organizations and web-sites for interested individuals to browse. Please keep adding to this resource. There could also be other targets to include such as those with a financial focus, social impact focus, organizations such as Aspen Institute/Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs; Community Development & Finance in the US [e.g. Nonprofit Finance Fund] or elsewhere; peer networks such as affinity groups [at Council on Foundations in US, and counterparts elsewhere]; regional associations of grantmakers. Perhaps also a listing of academic institutions, research and public policy organizations would be a great value add for work in progress and new directions (e.g. environment, demography). Another perspective is to consider smaller and place-based/local funders as well as those with large-scale and international orientation. For an added measure of humility, I suggest a look back in time to explore what work was performed and documented from decades ago, and about topics that were high priorities then-- e.g. health, education, income/wealth disparities. Don't forget or ignore work published by international organizations (e.g. agencies, banks) and government bodies as well as cross-references to work in languages other than English. On the list already are superb organizations such as the Foundation Center in the US with navigation tools and collaboration partners around the world. Also compliments to the unique and refreshing perspectives from outside North America from Alliance Publishing Trust in UK and counterpart organizations elsewhere. Another source of inspiration/imagination is to scan the many competitions and prizes awarded recognizing exceptional and far-reaching efforts everywhere.

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