What’s the difference between international and global? At the Council on Foundations, a shift in our work, and how we learn about philanthropy and social investment around the world, is defining the distinction.
The shift is reflected in how the leadership of the Council approaches the work. Steve Gunderson, the Council’s president and CEO, has been in dialogue with experts at the UN about a ‘global giving compact’ to help break down the barriers to cross-border giving and promote philanthropy around the globe. He has also helped initiate a global philanthropy leadership initiative in partnership with WINGS and the European Foundation Centre. In their first meeting, held in Rome in June, the organizations agreed on some ambitious goals that can be achieved only through this type of global partnership: to improve the legal and enabling environment for global philanthropy; to develop models for more effective philanthropic collaborations to address global challenges; and to engage philanthropy more strategically with policymakers from governmental and multilateral organizations.
The shift has also been part of the Council experience. Rarely a month goes by without multiple delegations and individuals – most recently from France, Russia, Australia and China – stopping by to hear how the Council approaches philanthropy in the US; and we’re learning much from them about how philanthropy is practised in their countries. Even the Council’s United States International Grantmaking website (http://www.USIG.org) has more than 40 per cent of its traffic from outside the US. And the current issue of Thought>Action>Impact, the Council’s e-journal on philanthropic ideas, focuses on global philanthropy.
Moving from international to global is a shift from a US-centric to a global understanding of the practice and impact of philanthropy and social investment. It is reflected in the renaming of the Council’s International Program as the Global Philanthropy Program and in the hiring of Peruvian national and seasoned philanthropist Eliana Vera, formerly with the Inter-American Development Bank and International Youth Foundation, as managing director of global philanthropy.