The concept of venture philanthropy was effectively launched in Russia by two roundtables hosted by CAF Russia in April. Presentations were made by Rob John from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and John Kingston, founder director of Venturesome at the Charities Aid Foundation.
The first roundtable brought together 15 senior managers from private equity, venture capital and consulting firms, who generally favour the idea of applying business skills to build the capacities of charities. Most participants expressed interest in further exploring the idea. It was also agreed that it should be brought up at private equity sector networking events.
At the second roundtable, non-profit sector practitioners argued that Russian private foundations are already pursuing similar activities and that the involvement of donors in choosing and designing projects is far more common in Russia than in traditional grantmaking foundations elsewhere. What is new and badly needed, agreed the participants, is targeted capacity-building of NGOs to make them effective and sustainable.
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