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 - August and September 2015
Salzburg Global Fellow Updates - August and September 2015
Jan Heinecke 
Starting in 2015, 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.
Three Salzburg Global Fellows guest-edited the September edition of Alliance magazine - For philanthropy and social investment worldwide. While Maria Chertok and Attalah Kuttab recently discussed Value(s) for Money? in Salzburg, Natasha Matic participated in the Global Philanthropy Collaborative in 2012. Read one article for free and get your copy of the September edition here. By the way, all Salzburg Global Fellows are entitled to a discount on subscriptions to Alliance magazine! Arne Dietrich earlier this year participated in Session 547 - The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity. Many issues that were addressed during the Session will be tackled in Arne's recently published book "How Creativity Happens in the Brain". Session Co-Chair Gary Vikan reviewed it and comes to the conclusion: "Arne Dietrich's new, groundbreaking book is a welcome, bracing plunge into the icy waters of clear thinking". Interested? You can get the book online here. Naila Farouky, also a Fellow of last year's Session 530 - Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation, published her first children's book in August. "I Will Not" was written in the context of the violence in Gaza last year. Farouky's poem became a picture book, illustrated by Israeli artist Ora Eitan, and the publication, which is avaliable online, contains versions in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Yousef T. Jabareen, Fellow of Session 537 - Students at the Margins and the Institutions that Serve Them, was elected as member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, already last March. He was elected with the Joint Arab List, which is supported mainly by the Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel, that gained 13 seats in total. Jabareen says that his participation and training at Salzburg Global Seminar provided him with unique experiences and tools to succeed in his career. "I focus on international law and minority rights", Jabareen says, "and after a few years of research and teaching in academic institutions, I decided to pursue a public career in order to devote my knowledge and experience to work to enhance equality between Arab and Jewish citizens in Israel and specifically to advance the minority and indigenous rights of the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel.” Interested in global trade? Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz participated in several Salzburg Global programs, most recently in Session 533 - New Dynamics in Global Trade Architecture. He is the Principal Convener of the E15Initiative which aims at "strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development". Make sure to check for their upcoming events! Another Fellow of Session 533, Carlos Primo Braga, is also engaged with the initiative and published a blog post recently, which is entitled: "World trade: Have we reached peak globalisation?"Epic Arts Cambodia, the organization of our Cambodian Young Cultural Innovator Sokny Onn, is currently launching the "Creative Schools Cambodia" initiative, which aims to raise awareness about disabilities among Cambodian school kids by bringing them together with disabled arts leaders. Epic Arts is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money in order to provide dancing and arts lessons to up to 300 children. If you want to support the initiative, you can find more information here. Marc Aurel Schnabel, Fellow of Session 427 - Architecture and Public Life, has become the new Programme Director of the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. "Our built environment is something we all can relate to and which influences us in our daily activities," Marc Aurel says, adding also: "Subsequently it is very important to offer a design lead education within its professional context to positively influence the current and future architecture and urban realm through Design Research. The interactions of Session 427 relate very closely to the spirit in which I am leading the School to novel avenues."
READ MORE...
Ecosystems Of Philanthropy
Ecosystems Of Philanthropy
Louise Hallman and Nancy Smith 

Ecosystems are complex. They incorporate living organisms like plants, nonliving components such as water, and the complex interactions between these different elements which have varying impacts upon each other. Removal or expansion of one part of an ecosystem can have deep impacts on others; small tweaks or introductions of new elements can have long-term, unexpected (and possibly unwanted) consequences. If we were to imagine the “ecosystem” of philanthropy for social change – also arguably a complex system – what would we see? A simple flow chart? A forest? An octopus?! (Yes, an octopus – read on…)

In March 2014, Salzburg Global Seminar and Hivos convened 45 experts from philanthropy, finance, international policy, research, and social activism to examine urgent questions related to channeling more money toward social transformation, and to do so in ways that maximize the positive impact of those monies.

The Salzburg Global Fellows were asked to expand their (eco)systems thinking beyond philanthropic funding and identify core elements of a healthier and more balanced ecosystem that could enable and support social transformation. Just as the participants came from many different backgrounds from across the philanthropic spectrum, so too were the ecosystem models distinct and varied.

One could see the system of philanthropy or social change in the form of a flow chart, with funds flowing into different mechanisms that align and work together to the same goal. But given the complexity of ecosystems – and that of philanthropy for social change – some considered this overly simplistic.

Some of the participants were inspired to envision philanthropy for social change as an octopus with the potential to be both beautiful and beastly, with the tentacles representing the multiple forms of funding available to propel social change forward: foundations, market-based philanthropy, impact investing, government aid, etc.

Currently, each “tentacle” of funding acts relatively independently of the others; they may be unaware of what the others are doing or even fighting each other, pulling in different directions. An octopus has the ability to both adapt to and obscure its surroundings. Highly intelligent and well-meaning at first sight, it can move unexpectedly and act ruthlessly. If the octopus’ tentacles continue to pull in different directions, the whole animal (representative of the progress of social change) will remain confused and ineffectual. But, if the values of deep social transformation can be absorbed into its central intelligence system, there is a chance that the octopus can “tame” its tentacles, apply its considerable skills for good, and advance social change. Only when the octopus’ tentacles work together in concert can the beautiful beast move forward and, in turn, positively impact its surroundings.

Admittedly, the octopus in itself is not an ecosystem; it remains a small creature in the vast ocean of global finance, but it is able to have more effect on its surroundings than its size would otherwise suggest – an analogy many in Salzburg felt apt for philanthropy for social change.

One could build a more expansive vision of the ecosystem of philanthropy by imagining one of the most complex natural ecosystems: a forest. Forests have a diversity of vegetation: towering trees – long-term programs that run for decades and are not cut down or expected to offer a “return on investment” before reaching maturation; mid-canopy trees that do not have as long life spans but are still given time to grow before being harvested, providing returns on investment; and young seedlings that have only just been planted or sprung from the fruits of other efforts.

The diversity of trees (programs) is vital for social change, and so these programs of varying growth periods are also of varying “species”: single-issues programs that grow quite independently of the surrounding plants; wide-ranging programs with branches that help prop up other organizations, providing fruit that sprout other trees and offering leafy nourishment (advice and experience) to saplings (but there is a risk they grow too large and absorb the funds or obscure the work of their smaller counterparts); and vines that cling to larger programs. There are the “evergreen” programs that run continually, and those that lie dormant before springing back into action at the appropriate time.

All these trees need nourishment – and here water is money. Without the rain (money), programs can shrivel and die; but an unexpected deluge can have a negative impact, with programs unable to respond quickly enough to make best use of the funds and at risk of being drowned out. Some plants need more water than others, some conserve and store water better than others, and some trees transpire moisture (money) back into the atmosphere to be recycled and rained down again elsewhere (i.e. impact investing). As in a real forest, not all of these trees will survive. In addition to well-funded “healthy” programs, the forest is also home to deadwood – programs that have been part-funded but abandoned or unsuccessful – and quick growing trees that are expected to produce a speedy return before they’ve had chance to properly leaf.

After all, this forest of programs has been planted by different people, at different times, and for different purposes. Some programs will be planted by small NGOs and watered by teams of crowdfunders; some will be planted by large foundations that regularly “rain money” but leave the arboriculture to the NGOs; some are planted with the expectation of producing fruit that will sprout other programs. Some programs will prove to be “invasive species” (often planted by well-meaning but misdirected or mistrusted donors), planted in areas that do not want or need these programs, possibly displacing community-appropriate programs or other natural inhabitants. Despite these analogies, questions still abound. For the octopus, how should the values of social transformation be fed into it and by whom? If the multiple tentacles cannot be “tamed,” can we afford to cut one off and allow something else to grow in its place? In the philanthropy forest, if money is rain, where did the water come from in the first place? How do we introduce more money into the system in a healthy, sustainable manner? And how can we be sure that the programs we plant and nourish are contributing to social transformation and not just superficial, short-term change? How do we measure the value we have as philanthropists? 

The Salzburg Global–Hivos program was intended to extend current thinking and catalyze new thinking about the role of philanthropy in supporting transformation, and the role of money in particular.

Michael Edwards, in his think piece Beauty and the Beast: Can Money Ever Foster Social Transformation? (provided as the starting point for discussions at the session) contends that the current funding “system” for social transformation is out of balance: too much emphasis is placed on, and too many resources channeled to, a few select approaches while others – arguably those that are more “democratic” in nature, and in which “success” is less tied to financial/market outcomes – are increasingly eschewed.

Identifying the core elements of a healthy system may help us to increase the ability of philanthropy, and money in particular, to support social transformation, and help the diverse – and sometimes divisive – actors and approaches to understand how they can work together more effectively towards shared goals.


A longer version of this article was first published in the September 2014 edition of Alliance magazine: www.alliancemagazine.org

Salzburg Global Fellows are eligible for a 20% discount on subscriptions to Alliance. Email press@SalzburgGlobal.org for details.

READ MORE...
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.

READ MORE...
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.
READ MORE...
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
READ MORE...
Displaying results 8 to 14 out of 23

RELATED SESSION REPORTS