Olga Kurylenko and Expert magazine promoting philanthropy in Ukraine

I have just come back from a one-day philanthropy conference in Kiev. Organized by Expert, one of Ukraine’s 11 or 12 business magazines, this was the country’s first ever major philanthropy conference – though Expert has been running annual corporate social responsibility conferences for three years now. The majority of the 150 or so people attending came from corporate foundations, with a sprinkling of private donors and NGOs.

But growth of the philanthropy sector faces formidable obstacles in Ukraine. Mistrust of wealthy people and all their doings runs deep, as in other Former Soviet Union countries. In addition, the lack of trust between sectors is striking. A workshop session on social partnerships made quite clear that the last thing most people running a foundation want is a partnership with anyone else – from government, business or media, or even the NGO sector.

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