Foundations have traditionally been shy about engaging with public authorities and lobbying decision-makers. Ironically, believes Alberto Alemanno, one of the effects is that philanthropy has indirectly contributed to the social divisions it often aspires to heal. Speaking to Alliance at Dafne’s recent PEXforum2020 in Madrid, he tells Charles Keidan that it’s time for philanthropy to roll up its sleeves.
Good Lobby’s Alberto Alemanno discussed advocacy and lobbying at PEXfourm2020 earlier this year.
You note three areas of focus in the relationship between philanthropy and advocacy. Can you talk us through them?
Philanthropy and advocacy meet in at least three different scenarios. The first area is philanthropy speaking on behalf of the sector to defend and promote its own interests with decision-makers. A second area is where individual philanthropic organisations embrace the policy aspects of certain causes, which often involves using philanthropic networks to form coalitions. The third scenario – probably the least discussed – is philanthropic grantmaking in support of advocacy. So these are the three major advocacy scenarios and the level of engagement of the philanthropic sector with each of them varies depending on context - geography, local culture and so on. Needless to say, in the US, the advocacy element of the philanthropic sector is more developed than in Europe, where the political turn of the philanthropic sector is just beginning to be discussed. This is very much driven by the fact that more and more philanthropies want to engage, they want to speak with one voice for the sector, especially when it comes to the possibility of building a single market for philanthropy in Europe.