How influential is the Gates Foundation? Is it really unique in size, scale and style? What impact is the 800-pound gorilla in the philanthropy room having not just on philanthropy but on the fields in which it works? Those are the questions we set out to explore in this issue of Alliance.
As guest editor Timothy Ogden points out, there are some common threads – relating to distortion of the fields the Gates Foundation works in; the power dynamics between Gates and other players, including other foundations; and accountability. While acknowledging the benefits of Gates’ massive expenditure on global health, several contributors express doubts about the domination of the global health agenda, the squeezing out of diverse approaches, and the difficulties of obtaining objective feedback.
The special feature includes Edward Skloot’s insightful analysis of the foundation; interviews with philanthropists Dmitry Zimin and Rogier van Vliet; an article drawing on the views of philanthropy advisers from around the world; and Gates CEO Jeff Raikes’ responses to some of the issues raised.
The September issue of Alliance also includes Lester Salamon arguing that volunteering is the most ignored form of philanthropy; Martin Brookes’ wish list for the field of philanthropy as he leaves New Philanthropy Capital; and further opinion columns, articles, reviews, conference reports and global updates.