December 2015

Why philanthropy should care about the SDGs

Volume 21 , Number 4

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December 2015

Why philanthropy should care about the SDGs

Volume 21 , Number 4

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The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals that come into force in January 2016 represent a remarkable achievement. 193 UN member states have agreed on a new, universal set of goals and targets that they will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.

Our special feature this issue focuses on this ‘plan of action for people, planet and prosperity’. Guest edited by Heather Grady, Bhekinkosi Moyo and Sevdalina Rukanova, the articles sketch out mechanisms for collaboration on the SDGs or highlight work foundations already do that parallels the SDGs. But they also identify some of the challenges that lie ahead in implementing the Goals, including the cost – estimated to be between $3,5 trillion and $5 trillion each year.

Meanwhile, we also launch our first Alliance exclusive survey. We’ve polled philanthropy leaders and foundation staff from all over the world to capture their views on the SDGs. We will survey our readers once a quarter, to develop a database of opinions and support our opinion articles with data.

This issue also includes our first beneficiary interview. We speak to four teenage girls who are beneficiaries of and final decision‑makers over who will benefit from $1 million in With and For Girls (WFG) grants, sponsored by eight foundations. Plus Cathy Pharoah writes on the need for greater investment in research, while Laura Abrahams Schulz reports on progress made through the US Stand with Civil Society initiative.

There is a huge depth and breadth of content in this issue. We hope you enjoy reading it and welcome your feedback.

Special feature

Why the SDGs matter

1 December 2015
Heather Grady, Bhekinkosi Moyo and Sevdalina Rukanova

One of the most important shifts in international cooperation of the last 50 years will take place in January, as the 15-year-old Millennium Development Goals campaign comes to an end and a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come into effect. The articles in this special feature give leaders multiple lenses for analysing these goals, from thematic areas like climate change and rights to ‘modality’ issues like participation, the questions of ‘whose voice?’ and financing. …


Foundations need to help narrow great gaps in SDGs

Advocates are championing the agreement behind the Sustainable Development Goals. But let’s be frank about what’s missing: A committed source of funding the estimated $3.5 trillion to $5 trillion annual costs. Accountability – the agreement includes no enforcement mechanism. Direct incentives to governments to pursue goals their own citizens have not formally endorsed. For many writing in this issue, however, the SDGs are the kind of challenge for which philanthropy was invented. In fact, 78 per cent of those polled by Alliance strongly agree that philanthropy should play some role in SDG implementation. Our special feature articles sketch out mechanisms …

Special feature


Donor action to defend cross‑border philanthropy

James Savage

Human rights defenders and other social change activists are seeing their access to foreign funding seriously affected by the growing …

A game‑changing moment

Naila Farouky

In Alliance’s September 2015 special feature, Atallah Kuttab, Natasha Matic and Noha El-Mikawy wrote that ‘private foundations, no matter how …

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