March 2016

Refugees and migration: philanthropy responds

Volume 21 , Number 1

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March 2016

Refugees and migration: philanthropy responds

Volume 21 , Number 1

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It is generally agreed that states have obligations, legally and ethically. But what happens when states and international institutions fail to act? Or act in a way that causes or exacerbates the problem? Does philanthropy – the literal meaning of which is a love of humanity – hold the promise of helping to alleviate human suffering?

Our special feature asks how philanthropy should  respond to the issues posed by refugees and migration. Guest edited by Timothy Ogden, Ayesha Saran and Atallah Kuttab, the feature looks at where we are now, philanthropy’s varied responses to the issues and whether, and under what circumstances, migration can be a force for good.

Questions explored in the special feature include: should foundations press states to fulfil their statutory responsibilities? Or should they just be thinking harder about their own? For example, should foundations address the disproportionate impact on women? Should they seek to change public attitudes? Should they help with absorbing and integrating new arrivals?

Moreover, are we too western-centred in our response? We react to the affront caused by children drowning on our shores but what about children drowning further away? And even if we did address all the problems of refugees and migration, what about other urgent challenges facing humanity such as climate change?

This issue also features an important contribution to the debate about how to measure the impact of non-profits by Caroline Fiennes and Ken Berger. Their mea culpa shatters the consensus that non-profits should be responsible for measuring their own impact. Instead, they argue, work would be better undertaken by independent specialists if we want reliable and high quality data.

We also hear from Peter Laugharn, the new head of the Hilton Foundation, who talks about what it’s like to be a non-family member in a family philanthropy. Meanwhile, reports from the US and China examine the ways in which the space for philanthropy is changing.

This edition is the product of many hands. We hope you enjoy the outcome.

Special feature

The Syrian crisis: a challenge for philanthropy

15 March 2016
Timothy Ogden, Ayesha Saran and Atallah Kuttab

It is a rare event that captures global philanthropy’s attention. The stream of refugees from Syria is one of them. There is a serious humanitarian crisis under way, and a rapid response is called for.  How is philanthropy responding? And how should it respond?  These are the broad questions this issue of Alliance aims to address. The very present and visible nature of the Syrian crisis is commanding attention. But, as always, the attention lavished …


Refugees and migration: philanthropy responds

So much trouble in the world. Sixty million people have been forced to leave their homes. Twenty million have fled their country of origin. Around 1.5 million landed on the shores or crossed the borders of the European Union in 2015. International institutions such as the EU and UN were founded to safeguard peace, stability and prosperity. Today, they endeavour but often struggle to create frameworks and policies to handle the needs of both migrants and destination countries. With notable exceptions, these institutions have not been helped by countries looking inward as they seek to protect their own borders and …

Special feature


Time for European foundations to get on board with the SDGs

Gerry Salole

Vikki Spruill’s article on the relevance of the Sustainable Development Goals to US foundations working domestically gives food for thought …

Where is the sense of urgency about climate change?

Bevis Gillett

I found a sense of urgency missing in Matthieu Calame’s article, ‘The long march towards responsible money’, in the December …

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