Coop to work on philanthropy of community

The Southern Africa Community Grantmakers Leadership Cooperative (Coop) is to work with Susan Wilkinson-Maposa, Director of the Community Grantmaking and Social Investment Programme at Cape Town University, to apply the findings of a study that she led in 2005 on how and why poor people help each other.

The Poor Philanthropist: How and why the poor help each other (see Alliance, June 2005) suggests that no one does as much to sustain and grow poor communities as the poor do for themselves. If this ‘philanthropy of community’ can connect more effectively, and more consciously, with ‘philanthropy for community’ – the more vertical and conventional institutional resource transfers to the poor from community grantmakers and other social investors – then a more dynamic asset-based paradigm of development support may become possible. Over the course of 2008, Susan Wilkinson-Maposa will work with Coop members on means by which grantmakers can bring out potential points of greater synergy between indigenous and formal philanthropy.

The Coop, formed in late 2005, is currently made up of 35 grantmaker leaders from 20 independent community grantmaking organizations as diverse as the well-established Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the emerging Maria Lurdes de Mutola Foundation in Mozambique. It is a leadership and learning network committed to strengthening community-based development and social justice philanthropy in Southern Africa and meets three times a year. It has recently affiliated to WINGS.

The Synergos Institute (Southern Africa) provides convening, financial and support services to the Coop – with funding from the CS Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the W K Kellogg Foundation. However, Coop members are committed to cost-sharing so as to create a sustainable network that can continue with or without external support.

For more information
Contact Barry Smith at

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