Growing philanthropy for social justice and peace

PSJP‘How can we grow the practice of philanthropy for social justice and peace?’ This was the question the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace put to 24 leading practitioners of philanthropy for social justice and peace from different parts of the world. These interviews, conducted between May and December 2012, form the basis of the Working Group’s recent report How can we grow the work?

The aims of the interviews were;

  • first, to assess the needs and aspirations of the field so the Working Group can support the action needed to strengthen it:
  • second, to build voices supporting a shift in mainstream organized philanthropy towards a social justice and peace approach.

In order to promote this approach, practitioners stress the need to keep the definition of the work ‘flexible, open and evolving’. Although the needs of the field vary as a result of different regional contexts and scales of operation, there are common values and principles that drive the work which can be leveraged to make the case for this approach. These include a focus on ‘root causes’ and a desire for ‘sustainable impact’. The primary barriers to a greater focus on social justice and peace in philanthropy are the risk that comes with challenging the status quo and the long time-frame needed to achieve an equitable society. And practitioners long for better tools to measure complex results.

One of the most striking themes emerging from the report is the hunger for community expressed by practitioners. They recognize the potential of a collective voice to influence the way that philanthropy as a whole works, and the opportunity to learn from other people and places to strengthen the work they do. The Working Group is building an inclusive and organic network in order to meet this desire for collective engagement.

For more information

Contact Chandrika Sahai, coordinator of the Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace Network, at

To download the report

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