Over the last two decades, the Arab region has seen a steady increase in the number of foundations. Over the last five years, with more and more emphasis on strategic giving and on demonstrating the impact of philanthropy, supporting structures for philanthropy such as research support and networks of foundations have been established. But philanthropy advice is still a missing piece. SAANED, which means the wooden stake that supports a young plant, will fill that gap.
SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory Services Arabia will be based in Amman, Jordan. Its two founders, Ebba Augustin and Atallah Kuttab, both have extensive experience in the field of philanthropy globally and in the Arab region in particular. It is hoped it will be fully operational by September 2011.
SAANED will provide advice on regulations governing foundations and social enterprises, on the best way for donors to give, and on best practice and evaluation for the sector as a whole. The need for such a service has become more pressing with the recent economic downturn, where more is expected from less money, and with the recent events in the region likely to lead to change (hopefully for the better) in the legal framework for foundations and giving in many Arab countries.
SAANED will provide advice based on impartial research of foundations’ and social organizations’ work; capacity building on the skills required for high impact project planning and management; coaching/mentoring services to senior staff in foundations; and legal advice. It will also help to create a body of knowledge and a set of tools to support charities and funders and to encourage debate about what makes a charity effective and how to measure impact.
The new organization will have an advisory board (still being formed) and affiliates from key philanthropy-related fields with both global and Arab region experience. It will also build partnerships with philanthropy advisers from other regions.