Philanthropy » Overview

As transnational challenges multiply, philanthropy and investment are at an important crossroads. The convergence of worldwide need, rising global wealth, and rapid innovation has the potential to accelerate action to align financial flows with sustainable and inclusive development and a low-carbon future. Pioneering institutions and individuals have a pivotal role to play.  

Salzburg Global launched this multi-year initiative in 2008. The first phase addressed institutional frameworks, exploring the structures, policies and approaches needed to transform philanthropy and social investment and build collaboration for 21st century priorities. Progressively, the series of programs has engaged new players developing practices and structures to fit specific contexts and respond effectively to local needs. Growing dynamism in civil society, social entrepreneurship, and in-country or diaspora private sector development has dramatically expanded opportunities to create and fund strategies for systems change and community benefit.

2016 marks a turning point, after the adoption of new climate change goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is the shared responsibility of “all countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership.” As growth continues in institutional and private philanthropy and sustainable investment, there is major potential to catalyze social, economic and environmental transformation, and bring promising initiatives to scale for the public good. 

Salzburg Global’s multi-year series aims to accelerate the effectiveness of changemakers in philanthropy, investment and finance, focusing on ways to create an enabling environment, improve accountability and shape a new human narrative. 2016 sees the next phase of our collaboration with the Global Friends consortium, focused on philanthropic innovation to support transition to a climate-balanced economy and foster US-China collaboration to this end. 


Interviews and session coverage from our Philanthropy programs

Salzburg Global Fellow Updates: March 2015
Salzburg Global Fellow Updates: March 2015
Jan Heinecke 
Starting in 2015, every month we bring you the highlights from the Salzburg Global Fellowship. Have you got some news - a new book, a promotion, a call for grant proposals - that you'd like to share with the Salzburg Global Fellowship? Email Salzburg Global Seminar Fellowship Manager Jan Heinecke.

Alexandra Glavanakova, Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) Session 09, Resistance and Readiness: Immigration, Nativism and the Challenge of Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the US and Europe Today and ASC Session 29 The Continuing Challenge of America's Ethnic Pluralism, has published a book Posthuman Transformations: Bodies and Texts in Cyberspace. Sofia: Sofia University Press. 2014. ISBN 978-954-07-3869-7, which explores the re/positioning of the human body and the evolution of the textual body in technological culture. Through the examination of a selection of fictional texts - both print and computer-mediated - an extensive account of the transformations of the bodies of fictional characters and the actual reader in interaction with/(in) cyberspace is presented. The book is interdisciplinary - at the crossroads of posthumanism, postmodern literary theory, phenomenology and the philosophy of technology. The author seeks to answer the interrelated questions: How is the human body imagined in print and computer-mediated fictional texts? What is the body’s role in redefining the human in technological culture?  

Kiyotaka Morita, Fellow of Session 533 | New Dynamics in Global Trade Architecture: WTO, G20 and Regional Trade Agreements contributed the article Legal Aspects of the of the Emissions Trading Scheme based on "Cap and Trade" to the “Hitotsubashi Journal of Law and Politics”, an academic journal published annually by his alma mater, Hitotsubashi University.

Clio Muse, the startup founded by Young Cultural Innovators Fellow Yiannis Nikolopoulos was awarded the first prize of the Europeana Food and Drink Open Innovation Challenge for their concept of re-using Europeana materials. Europeana is an EU funded internet portal where millions of books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records have been digitally stored by more than 2000 institutions across Europe.

Our German speaking Fellows might be interested in the new book of Andre Wilkens, who participated in Session 530 | Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation. "Analog ist das neue Bio" explores the implications of our every day challenges and sometimes baflement in the digital world.

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Dr. Emmett Carson Named Chair at Indiana University's School of Philanthropy
Dr. Emmett Carson Named Chair at Indiana University's School of Philanthropy
Jonathan Elbaz 
Philanthropy leader and Salzburg Global Fellow Dr. Emmett Carson has been appointed as the first Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Chair on Community Foundations at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Carson, founder and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, will visit the university throughout the year giving special lectures, developing a syllabus on philanthropy, mentoring students and conducting research. In an interview with Indiana University, Carson said, “community foundations have a vital role in addressing problems facing their local communities, and they can foster charitable giving across the globe as well. I can’t think of a better place to teach students the value of these services than the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I am deeply honored to be the first person to serve in this important role.” Carson attended a session earlier this year entitled "Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation." During the session, he spoke to Salzburg Global about the changing nature of philanthropy.
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Vladlena Taraskina: "10 Euros can make this process work!"
Vladlena Taraskina: "10 Euros can make this process work!"
Alex Jackson 
As a serial entrepreneur, Vladlena Taraskina, boasts seven years’ experience in marketing and strategic management, businesses in Russia and Austria, and dabbled in online gaming platforms before making her move into the burgeoning field of Russian crowdfunding. When starting her crowdfunding platform rusini.org, she recalls that there was little infrastructure in place by which to share and collect funds for different projects, yet her tool did not garner the initial support that one might expect. “I thought people need a platform. There is money and will, but no easy way to harness the two and make this open. And my idea was to make the tool and infrastructure to connect people. But it wasn’t straight forward. There needed to be education on both sides,” she explains. Having seen the idea of mobilizing the "crowd" - usually just regular members of the public - to contribute often small but many amounts of money to independent projects in practice in both Europe and the United States, Taraskina struggled to show people its relevance when she first introduced the new method of sourcing funding. She was aware of a significant incoherence between social aims and NGO initiatives that seemed somewhat unbridgeable. “Foreign platforms don’t really work in Russia so people find local ones. They adapt ideas. “Crowdfunding became popular and more well-known through other things; like cinema, music. Basically, people in communities collected money for small, individual projects and now more and more people are looking at that and seeing the change in the social sectors.” Through this grassroots approach, rusini.org has grown to considerable success in Russia. At a time when ‘Foreign Agent’ laws restrict the ability of NGOs to invest and collaborate, Rusini (Russian Initiatives) offers an environment in which agencies are able to collaborate and cooperate with one another: “We’ve been trying to get businesses involved together. There are not many people who give money online, it is limited. So I decided to look at other resources and while I found that businesses want to help, they don’t have good platforms that are transparent and open. So I thought we could track and connect the small and medium enterprises to which we could give 1000 Euros and see results, and see benefits for the companies as well. Small amounts of money that provides significant investment and starts ventures between companies.” While the take-off has been generally slow, there has been a noteworthy peak in some philanthropic areas, particularly those related to personal or sensitive problems. “Emotional stuff is very popular at the moment. Children and animals, for example. The sick, children, orphanages, hospitals and animals are getting money from various crowdfunding mechanisms. It is understandable because these are close to the people. But we do want an increase in grassroots projects...that are ecological, educational, long-term that won’t show impact straight away.” However, there is little sentiment towards long-term planning at the moment in Russia. Firstly, crowdfunding is still new, so people remain reluctant to invest too much money at this stage. Secondly, NGOs remain a distant and disconnected segment of society, with little cohesion. Thirdly, the people want to see immediate results. “It is a mentality question and it is difficult to break,” Taraskina admits.“People live in today. They don’t really plan ten years ahead. I think that is an important thing to change. But they don’t see the relevance of something ten years away. “On top of that, NGOs and activists don’t present themselves properly or in an attractive way. They can’t communicate and they can’t target their audience and they don’t talk attractively about funds and they don’t connect and they don’t report back and they don’t try to engage with people; they just do their own thing.” It is something that frustrates Taraskina as she believes there is a rise in interest for the field, but people are not being approached properly. NGOs need to communicate more effectively and efficiently so as to better facilitate each other’s work, instead of hindering progress. “I understand why NGOs compete with one another, because there are limited funds available. But there is a need for collaboration and for them to find the ways to address their target group together. Working together will be better for society, better for funds and events. And there is a need for collaboration that hasn’t been recognized yet.” For Taraskina, the NGO sector will have realized its potential only when people are much more liberal and open in their views to donating small amounts of money and time in the name of grassroots projects. She hopes that, with the correct promotion and information, people will donate money in an autonomous fashion. “I want people to start thinking, 'this 10 euros can make this process work.' And maybe next time it is not money donated, but volunteering, maybe afterward it is 100 or 1000 euros, or leading a local project and I think crowdfunding can facilitate that.” Additionally, Taraskina hopes that the experience of fellow Russians elsewhere in the world will foster a sense of unity behind such schemes. Taraskina believes that if more Russians feedback on their experiences, more people will become aware of their potential to change through small donations. “The Russian diaspora is important. I want people abroad to get involved to share their knowledge of what they gained abroad in their professional and personal lives and exchange that information. Hopefully if we can grow this, people would be more inclined to donate.” Of course, the need for discussion is something that often inhibits groups. Whilst she admits that there can be skepticism and suspicion of new groups, Taraskina refutes the idea that there is no space to launch innovative social projects in Russia. “Particularly in Moscow, there are places for social entrepreneurship and co-working space. I think there is space. Instead, there is a need for new leadership about it and using it and organizing it in a clever way to lead and manage it, otherwise the space dies off.”     
Vladlena Taraskina was a speaker at Session 531, "Russian Civil Society Symposium: Building Bridges to the Future", sponsored by the Yeltsin Foundation. For more information and interviews with other participants, please visit the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/531
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Micheal Edwards: "It’s time to put money out of its misery"
Micheal Edwards: "It’s time to put money out of its misery"
Michael Edwards 

This article was originally published in the Transformation section of openDemocracy.
Money talks, but what language is it speaking? New ideas and experiments could reposition money as a source of social justice as well as personal fulfillment. This is the final article in our series on money and the transformation of society. Why are discussions about poverty so often held in luxurious surroundings? Perhaps it’s easier to think that way, without any poor people in the room to muddy the proceedings. Think Bellagio, for example, the Rockefeller Foundation’s villa on Lake Como, or Pocantico Hills in upstate New York (another Rockefeller bequest), or Schloss Leopoldskron, the baroque palace that houses the Salzburg Global Seminars where I found myself last week. The subject of the seminar was “value(s) for money,” a play on words that was designed to question the current fascination with ‘cost-effective impact’ in the worlds of philanthropy and foreign aid. Instead of obsessing over narrow and subjective ‘value for money’ calculations, the organizers wanted to interrogate the values perpetuated by those who finance social change: things like equality of opportunity versus equality of outcomes, or democracy as opposed to decision-making by elites. Money talks, as the saying goes, but what language is it speaking? Social justice, free-market economics, global charity, “Pax Americana,” women’s rights - all of these ideas were represented in the room. But underlying them was a much deeper question that kept on re-surfacing: is money part of the problem or part of the solution? That’s the question that lies at the heart of our series on the role of money in the transformation of society. As a point of departure, all the contributors to this series doubt whether money can be used in truly radical ways within the constraints of the highly-unequal, debt-laden societies that mark out contemporary capitalism. At the macro level, economies remain trapped in an endless spiral of mounting debt, unsustainable growth, rising inequality and concentrated power. As Thomas Greco shows, more trees must be cut down, more minerals mined, more oil pumped, and more workers squeezed and exploited in order to earn the profits required to pay the interest on the loans that financed previous expansions in production. But there’s never enough money in circulation to enable all these debts to be paid, so more must be created, stoking the cycle afresh. “More growth produces more disparities to scale,” as Steve Consilvioputs in his discussion of the need for “buy low, sell low” economics.    Even when attempts are made to change the values and principles that underpin this system, they can be easily coerced or co-opted by traditional, commercial interests. Hence, Avis buys Zipcar as part of a trend towards the re-privatization of the sharing economy, and of other innovations that are trying to break free from the constraints of existing financial and economic structures. At the micro level these patterns are mirrored in the operations of funding agencies and NGOs, which tend to replicate the same problems at a smaller scale: inequality, centralized control, and competition. Those who possess large amounts of money are able to shape social change in their own image, at least to some extent, leaving those who lack resources to fight among themselves for a few more ‘crumbs from the rich man’s table.’ “Together we bargain”, as the old social movement saying puts it, “divided we beg.” These processes underpin the creeping “corporatization” of philanthropy and the not-for-profit sector, which “weakens activism and empowers big business” by watering down what NGOs and foundations see as viable in terms of their influence and action - “narrowing the limits of the possible.” These days there’s little separation between philanthropy and business, which delights in ‘giving with one hand while taking with the other.’ Carlos Slim is an example - “advertising himself as a philanthropist while siphoning off billions of dollars through his almost complete control of Mexico’s telecommunications system.” Overall then, money has become a negative and divisive force for anyone who dreams of societies transformed, as opposed to reformed, slightly and lightly. Isn’t it time we put money out of its misery, and used it to build solidarity, joy and shared prosperity instead? To do this we have break free from the limitations of money as we know it, and embark on a different journey - to invent new systems and institutions that start from another set of premises about ownership, value and control. To ‘think outside the box,’ it helps to be outside the box. Otherwise - as with Zipcar and Avis - experiments and innovations quickly find themselves re-captured. That’s what the ideas and examples represented in this series are all trying to do. “No-interest” financial systems and new forms of currency, for example, could help counter the trend towards ever-greater debt, inflation, and wealth concentration. Mechanisms already exist to facilitate the exchange of value without using money at all, like the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative in Switzerland which enables moneyless trading among its members using a system of “credit clearing.” By reducing the pressure to maximize private profits it’s possible to raise the quality of life by lowering the cost of living for each other, without the inflationary pressures caused by conventional economics. Non-profit businesses must become the norm rather than the exception. “Sharing more and owning less” is going to be crucial to all these innovations, as Adam Parsons puts it.  Shared decision-making is limited inside most NGOs and foundations, but it’s not impossible. Red Umbrella and Edge Fund are two examples of a new breed of funders that don’t rely on inherited wealth, and who put decision-making power in the hands of those who sit at the sharp end of injustice and exploitation, whether they are sex workers, immigrants, low-income families, Roma or people with disabilities. If that’s too much to countenance, then funders can at least use their money to put poor people in the driving seat of their own social change. Jennifer and Peter Buffet’s description of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Floridaprovides a good example. These innovations provide a double boost to social transformation: they get more money to people who are pursuing deep-rooted social change; and they begin to transform relationships surrounding money in the process. Their impact may seem small, but they are not insignificant in the ways they contribute to the power reversals that social transformation demands. In multiplying these experiments, two priorities stand out. The first is to increase democratic ownership and control over money, finance, and decision-making over funding. This is the only way to break the power of elites who have little interest in transforming an economic and political system that has placed them at the top of society. “If money is power, then control over money has to be democratized,” as Nadia van der Linde puts it. That, of course, is going to be fought tooth and nail every step of the way, which is why a second priority is needed: loosening the psychic attraction of money which comes from personal attachment (‘it’s mine, so do what I say’). It’s that orientation that makes philanthropy into another form of domination.Edge Fund member Stephen Jones could speak for all of us when he says “there's still so much to do to achieve the hardest part (for me at least), which is to keep surrendering my own privilege and inbuilt sense of entitlement.” Small business owner Steve Consilvio is already heading in this direction, by learning to live on less while actually improving his quality of life. In all these different ways, money becomes a source of personal fulfillmentand of social justice, of unity and solidarity and joy. Transforming our relationship to money is both a political and a deeply personal challenge. Back at the Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, we’re treated to a grand tour that includes the staircase where the von Trapp children sang in “The Sound of Music,” parts of which were filmed here. My mind wanders to the lyrics of “My Favorite Things” - “warm woolen mittens and whiskers on kittens.” I begin to miss my cat. There’s no mention of money in this list, which isn’t surprising given the ways it’s become entangled with power relations, inequality and greed. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. Money remains a central fact of life, potentially a currency for social transformation as well as a barrier or a blockage - both ‘beauty and the beast.’ As this series has shown, money canbe separated from the values and attitudes that prevent it from being used in liberating ways. It may never be one of ‘our favorite things,’ but money doesn’t have to make us miserable. It’s up, or down, to us.
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Naila Farouky: "People Would Say Our Region is Not Ready For Democracy"
Naila Farouky: "People Would Say Our Region is Not Ready For Democracy"
Alex Jackson 
“I can tell you with certainty that over at least ten years, those of us who were in tune enough, either because we were actively working within the socio-cultural situation or the economic situation or the class divide, we saw it [the revolution] coming.” Naila Farouky is extremely intense as she recounts her experience of the Egyptian revolution when we meet at the recent “Value(s) for Money” session in Salzburg. Of course, her fiery passion is testament to her dedication for social change in the Middle East region as a whole; but Egypt, where she has lived and worked, has a special resonance for her that cannot be denied. “I can’t say with any certainty that we saw it coming in January 2011, but we knew there was something.” Egypt’s revolution is still an ongoing crisis in the country. Government ministers are likely to resign or be ousted from one day to the next and the fragility of the country is no better emphasized than the continued malaise that shrouds Egyptian life. “There was a bottle neck: you know how you can feel and physically be in a space, and recognize the energy of that space will no longer be able to sustain, and there was very much that feeling,” says Farouky. “The fact that it was revealed so quickly that such big numbers went out into the streets was a shock and it continues to be a shock. We did it once [brought down a regime], it happened, February 2011. But then less than one year later in terms of elections – elections were in June 2012 – by June 2013, we brought somebody else down. That is a double shock; it is even triple the shock.” Farouky, who was recently appointed the CEO & Executive Director at the Arab Foundations Forum, is certainly still coming to terms with the magnitude and sheer scale of this overwhelming sentiment in Egypt. When the revolution really took hold, she quickly returned from the US to be a part of one of the most defining moments of her generation. “There had been this kind of settling complacency in Egypt,” she reminisces with a haunting concern. “Given the fact that we had been ruled for 30 plus years by the same man, with all the corruptions, and rotting from the inside that tends to take place in regimes that are akin to dictatorships, there was this acceptance that this was our lot in life. Then to see in my lifetime, in my relative youth, that this sort of change could happen overnight – something that we expected to take a hundred years – literally happened in two weeks.” The drive and force was unprecedented, even for those who, like Farouky, had kept an eye on the developments. It was not so much that the people were asking for the rights to which they were entitled, but a sudden rousing from a sense of lethargy that was widespread. “In a country where we sustained and accepted this kind of repression for 30 plus years to have all of a sudden felt this sense of freedom and of empowerment and this entitlement to the empowerment, which is very important, because for a lot of us who were critical of our own country and our country’s complacency, a lot of it was questioning ‘how are people not taking their rights and not standing up and demanding them?’” Identity, and identity crises, were drivers here: suddenly through social media, through television and through print, voices of the youth, the marginalized and the minorities found they were able to speak out against a regime that had driven Egypt to the brink. The revolution was, in many ways, long overdue, and outside aid that doesn’t recognize that is something that annoys Farouky daily. “People would say, and it is a phrase that I despise from foreigners or Arabs alike, that our region is not ready for democracy. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard because I don’t think there is such a thing as being ready to be an empowered individual or empowered citizen.” Empowerment has certainly been a mantle of Farouky’s life. (Even her mother was once dubbed the "Jane Fonda of Egypt" in New York newspapers thanks to her booming fitness centers.) She is not one to take such gross slurs about her country and the region as a whole lightly, and suggests that philanthropy should play its part in boosting and shouldering the Egyptian revolution effort to better foster a transformation. “There are tools that need to be put in place, there are rights that need to be in place to utilize those tools, but you cannot say that a person is not ready to be empowered! “The Arab Foundations Forum can play a very important key role and that is to help the sector and guide the sector and learn from the sector on how to better frame the strategies that you are putting towards utilizing these resources, that you’re putting towards a better philanthropic strategy for a region. I think the philanthropic field or the sector has kind of been playing catch-up: there are several different social issues that confront the region, but then to suddenly face this reality that you now have a generation of citizens who are empowered enough to topple regimes, it scared the bejeezus out of a section of the region [investors].” Returning to Egypt meant that Farouky could use her persuasive rhetoric to engage in local reporting and philanthropy promotion. She helped a friend launch a new round-up of the situation in the country, the bi-lingual news review called Midan Masr. In a country where the revolution was based on sources of information to spark continued demonstrations, the resource was invaluable in reflecting on the progress made across the state, as the first bilingual newspaper in the region. “It covered everything having to do with Egypt and tangentially with the region in respect to the current and immediate political situation we found ourselves in.” Of course, Farouky was not new to the media discipline. Her previous work has included extensive media production projects and project management for Sesame Workshop, the company that owns and produces Sesame Street. Her experience there facilitated a better understanding of strategic communications and creative project planning; things she believes are key skills in innovative philanthropy planning, which she has put into play in her new role as CEO at the AFF in Jordan. “We think the things that we can offer [at AFF] to really enrich this sector the most with are networking opportunities that allow intersector and extrasector opportunities to allow people to come together and collaborate, a sharing of knowledge and research and resources and to be able to make information accessible to our members.” The collaborative efforts are at the heart of AFF planning. But Farouky is all too aware of the fragility of interlinked, international philanthropic efforts when she considers the role of American philanthropy in Egypt and in the Middle East region as a whole: “A lot of times when an American entity comes into not just the Arab region, because I have worked in South East Asia, and I have even worked in Australia with American money, the question is always: 'What’s the ulterior motive?' “Even if this money is coming with very few strings attached and even if this money is coming for a cause that is primarily the cause of the grantee and not the grantor. There is always this question: 'It is American money. What does it really want?' And that is the reputation it has.” Prejudging American finance in this way limits the scope of international philanthropy in the region. Mistrust of foreign aid sources has grown substantially, and, whilst it is understandable that the Egyptian government want more local investors, their sometimes provocative approach has the potential to sour international relations further. “The US suffers from the reputation that their foreign policy is so not in harmony with what the region feels it needs that it clouds the judgment and it clouds the way we are able to collaborate in giving. So my response has always been it is a two-way street, and I honestly think that the onus of responsibility relies on both the giver and the taker. “[Countries] will take it [aid] when it’s convenient and then something like the Arab Spring will happen, this big implosion politically will happen, and [the country] will be threatened with that money being pulled away. But it’s not about your ego now; you can’t come now to me [after all these years of accepting the aid and using it] and say this money was useless after all these years and you can’t exclude them [America or other foreign investors] from a process that they are willing to be a part of.” International philanthropy then is not just about monetary donations or creating sustainable growth; rather, it is bound in ideas of culture and cultural norms. To be truly invested in an area, you need to foster a greater understanding of the habits, social activities and cultural events of the people there, suggests Farouky. Philanthropy is not one-size-fits-all, but America often fails at this hurdle. “What America lacks the most in any of its approaches, whether it’s political, whether it’s economic, whether it’s philanthropic, whatever, it lacks the capacity to truly absorb nuance. It is not a nuanced culture; it is a very straight forward culture. If it is not spelled out, it is very difficult to collaborate because they don’t always understand what the underlying factors are.” Wider implications are all too clear for Farouky, who recognizes that politics and philanthropy are often a grey area for crossover. “When philanthropy starts to get involved in politics, there is mistrust surely on a personal level I feel, and a lot of it has to do with governments versus governments and not necessarily people versus people, and not necessarily even philanthropy versus philanthropy.”    
Naila Farouky was a participant at the Salzburg Global Seminar session "Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Change", which was sponsored by Hivos. You can read interviews with a number of the other speakers and participants of the session on the webpagewww.salzburgglobal.org/go/530
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