This past autumn, the Council on Foundations has developed a partnership with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and its recently appointed Special Advisor on Foundations, Flemming Borreskov, formerly CEO of Realdania in Denmark. Council president and CEO Vikki Spruill also spoke with the board of Realdania about trends in US philanthropy and how to leverage transatlantic philanthropic partnerships.
During the 2013 UNGC Leaders Summit, the Council, UNGC, Realdania and the European Foundation Centre convened leaders from foundations and corporations for an Executive Roundtable on Partnerships for Transformation to initiate conversations on the distinct characteristics of philanthropy and corporations as sustainable development actors. Participants also covered elements for effective partnerships that deliver scalable, sustainable development solutions, and the competitive advantages foundations can uniquely contribute to transformational partnerships.
• Unique identity, dynamism and flexibility Foundations can provide flexible and nimble responses in ways other sectors cannot.
• Long-term commitment and responsiveness Foundations can fulfil multiple roles and fill essential gaps to create transformational partnerships.
• Greater risk appetite Foundations can often serve as pioneers to produce proof of concept and attract other actors.
• Legitimacy as conveners Foundations can sometimes generate greater trust than public or private institutions and have greater access to local communities.
Furthermore, a renewed consensus is growing on some of the key ingredients that lead to systemic, lasting transformational partnerships between foundations, the UN and the private sector. Chief among these are the need for clear goals and a new way of working requiring new attitudes and skills.