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

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.
READ MORE...
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
READ MORE...
Oksana Oracheva: "Philanthropy doesn’t support or depend on political issues"
Oksana Oracheva: "Philanthropy doesn’t support or depend on political issues"
Alex Jackson 
Russia and philanthropy are not words that are usually go together by any means. International tensions at the moment express a resonant discord between many social, cultural and political ideas held in Russia and by other parts of the world. Charitable organizations are on the rise but they are struggling to be accepted into society and establish themselves as a local source of support. The introduction of the "foreign agents" legislation in 2012 has meant the withdrawal of many international donors – a space that needs to be filled, and is increasingly being filled by Russian donors. Oksana Oracheva is determined to ensure that this rise in the growth of Russian philanthropy is something that continues. “It is more important to be transparent nowadays to build trust in the society for what we do,” she explains. Transparency is a difficult concept to come to terms with in parts of Russia, but Oracheva, Executive Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, is not afraid to meet that challenge. “From the very beginning we decided we wanted to be transparent; we have transparent competition mechanisms and they are clearly explained. We have very clear, transparent procedures for selecting guarantors and how we help the people. And this is not something that has just started right now, but something that has been there from the beginning because we believe it is the only way to be a truly philanthropic organization.” Oracheva hesitates as she reflects on the progress of the sector in Russia. It is booming compared to two decades ago, but she readily accepts that there remains a great deal of change that needs to be instigated. Philanthropy has at least now started to carve a place on the national agenda. “There is an increase, an expansion, in visibility, because what is important is without visibility you can’t build trust, because people can’t see what you are doing and see if it is really good.” The Vladimir Potanin Foundation is among the oldest continuous organizations of its kind in Russia, and its focus on internal development has generated a great web of support. “We just started our new approaches to educational programs, concentrating on master degree students and master degree lecturers. They are improving the quality of education and the quality of teaching and making sure they are bringing the best quality of student and teacher [together]. And we are working on our museums program again in a 10-year program. “As part of the education and culture program, we believe it is important to support philanthropy in Russia and we will do it in different ways and continue to work on different philanthropy development. We have a program that aims to promote endowments in Russia so NGOs have a sustainable source of incomes and can work on their future through establishing endowments.” This is all new in Russia explains Oracheva. Philanthropy is still in its infancy and is testing the waters, which means that it is still unsure as to the potential power it has for change and how far it can serve that change. Without a proper infrastructure with regards to philanthropy, there is a concern that many promising enterprises could fall flat. “There is still a need to develop institutional philanthropy, say in the form of foundations, and in strategic things to do because there is still a lot of ad hoc development going on. Booming is nice but how many of them [philanthropic organizations] survive? There needs to be a step-by-step approach.” Oracheva pauses to consider the best route for progress in Russia. There is no single path to success for the industry, but recommendations have already been made in order to learn from other philanthropic cultures. She explains “the more strategic philanthropy we have the better it will be for the country. Three years ago now, the Russia Donors’ Forum initiated the annual report for institutional philanthropy in Russia, trying to demonstrate the results we are having, how good it is to have a proper philanthropic organization that works on different areas, and the impact that has where you can develop your own organization or partner with someone if you want to achieve the same goal.” This alignment of goals is a difficult field to negotiate in Russia. Whilst developing Russian society is something of high importance, the government has strict guidelines on how development can be implemented. Living donors, too, always try to exercise a great level of importance over areas for development. “It is a concern,” admits Oracheva. The philosophy that money talks is certainly a powerful one in Russia, and overcoming restrictions is something that has to be tackled from the start. “From the very beginning, the foundation establishes certain rules, where the donor [consents] to certain rules. That is how our foundation works: there is a founder and he set areas where he would like to work – like education and culture, or endowments – but [he] does not intervene in the process, because to work on the process you need professionals.” Autonomy on projects has caused philanthropic crises in the area in the past. There have been ventures that have been unsustainable, as Oracheva reflects: “There aren’t many international organizations or foundations left in Russia. They left for one reason or another, some of them before changes in Russian legislation, some of them more recently.” However, she firmly believes that this only heightens the onus of Russian responsibility to make progress in the area. “We believe it is really important to develop Russian philanthropy and its role to become greater. It was different when we were new and 'babies' and we needed foreigners.  Now we need to be part of a bigger community.” Salzburg Global’s philanthropy session then provides an excellent framework in which to discuss and collaborate in this way. “There is the right atmosphere for exchange of ideas, and bringing really interesting people from all over the world, and if you want to learn and share – and we do want to learn and share – then it is a good place to come. It is an interesting agenda, with interesting people and a way to be part of the philanthropic world.” International philanthropy, however, is still not part of the Russian philosophy and Oracheva believes that development in this sphere would foster a better potential not just for national charity work, but for global interaction. “We need to be part of a community, sharing practices, learning from each other, and that is a two-way street and always about interaction and achieving better results.” The elephant in the room is always the role of the government in restricting these practices. The question regarding philanthropic efforts is: can there even be true independence? With a wry smile, Oracheva concludes, “Philanthropy doesn’t support or depend on political issues – it’s different”.  
Oksana Oracheva was a participant at the Salzburg Global Seminar session "Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation", which was sponsored by Hivos. You can read interviews with a number of the other speakers and participants of the session on the webpage: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/530
READ MORE...
Chid Liberty: "There is going to be no stopping Africa rising"
Chid Liberty: "There is going to be no stopping Africa rising"
Alex Jackson 
There is perhaps no grander name in young global innovation at the moment than Chid Liberty. Alongside his team at Liberty & Justice, the young entrepreneur has just been awarded the 2014 Innovation Ecosystem title at the Global Innovation Summit and he was previously the 2011 recipient of the SVN Social Innovation Award. In fact, his contributions have been so substantial that he is a Yoxi Portfolio SIR – a "Social Innovation Rockstar" – which is certainly the attention-grabber on his CV. But Liberty makes light of his success. “I thought 'If I could bring that [change] to Liberia now given the high unemployment rate, then that would be the best use of my skills and time.' I really felt that was a way I could help,” he muses. Liberty co-founded and is the CEO of Liberty & Justice, Africa’s first Fair Trade certified apparel manufacturer, based in Liberia. The company has rapidly expanded in its short history, offering a chance for disadvantaged and displaced women to overcome the struggles of unemployment and economic exclusion. The positive impact that the process has begun seems to be spiralling in the region, proffering stability as a stark contrast to the chains of Liberia’s fragile history. “Surprising things to me have been the timeliness, because, in Africa, being on time isn’t really a key consideration and what’s been really interesting is as we have enforced that and really enrolled people onto the idea of being on time, we have spectacular results and a really high attendance level among line workers," says Liberty. “We have had a 100% retention rate, not a single loss in workers. And I think that isn’t something you would see in most African countries.” Progress is undeniable, but Liberty remains cautious, and with good reason. Liberia is still classed as a fragile state, yet is often overlooked in philanthropic efforts as other more immediate crises divert funds to other parts of the region. Internally, Liberty faces even more yokes in fostering a support for international development. “The threat that I have is more from actors in the government that I have worked in, both in Liberia and Ghana, that aren’t really assessing how their policies affect the creation of this [ecosystem] and I think everyone gets up on grand stands and says we want more small business and jobs,’ but when you look at, for instance, not just at the policies and the duty rates in Liberia, but also how duties and exports are administered, it doesn’t foster trade. It goes against trade.” Not that this has dampened the spirits of the larger local communities. Women in the area have rallied behind the project which provides economic freedom, and trying to get investors to keep up with the development is proving the key hurdle: “One side is saying there aren’t any entrepreneurs; the other side is saying there isn’t any capital. “It is really a matter of how they find financing and to me we have oversimplified the problem by saying if people lend to them then they will grow, when the real problem is that people do lend to them, the commercial banks have tried, and they have failed. The payment rates are really low and it is just a disaster. So it is really finding those entrepreneurs that can both build value to equity investors and then having them match made in their capacity to the point they can take on larger amounts of capital.”   With investment, Liberty hopes that there will be substantial transformation to the region as a whole. He points to how women in Liberia let few adverse conditions prevent them from their work, citing market women trading across enemy lines even when the war was raging in Liberia. The entrepreneurial spirit on the ground would seem alive and well. Entrepreneurship can galvanize and promote a sustained period of investment and transformation. There are some very obvious examples, even in the past 50 years, of how to successfully and dramatically industrialize developing countries, seemingly overnight. “People always hear me speak and say 'Are you saying that Africa will be the next Asia or the next China?' and I would say no, it isn’t going to be the next China. “Africa is going to be the next Africa.” It is a simple yet strong statement that accurately reflects his sentiments. As a continent that has become synonymous with ideas of under-development, instability in large areas, overwhelmed by war and famine, Africa has almost become an ignored wealth of resources, which creates massive problems in setting up businesses, but proffers fantastic opportunities. “It is hard for us to take a look at poverty without looking at industrialization as the elephant in the room as the obvious place for us to go. “There are tons of constraints in Africa,” explains Liberty. “Everything from infrastructure to the political climate to the business climate. For me, it is really looking at the fact that other regions have faced those same issues and looking at what they have done to adjust and get going. But sort of like the Arab Spring, there is going to be no stopping Africa rising.” For Africa to be freed of the shackles of Western (and increasingly Chinese) investors, who see few capital opportunities, then it has to not only recreate its image, but birth an entire new philosophy on how industrialization can shape nations. “I think if industrialization in Africa looks like China or the West, we’re in trouble. The beauty of industrializing Africa is that it doesn’t have to rely on carbon. We have the opportunities to build that from scratch in Africa, how things will look, how workers will be treated, environmental policies, I really see that as a bit of a chance to start at least part of the industry from scratch. And then we learn ourselves from that in a dual street.” Liberty suggests that investment in the region needs to catch up with the potential for sustainable growth and new business partnerships soon, or find Africa has developed enough to call its own deals in international affairs. With investment and scalable businesses, there will be huge financial and socio-cultural returns he suggests. “Africa is a beautiful continent with such ecological diversity; the future is wide open.”  
Chid Liberty was a speaker 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
READ MORE...
Bettina Warburg: "People Underestimate the Power of the Future"
Bettina Warburg: "People Underestimate the Power of the Future"
Alex Jackson 
Bettina Warburg, a Public Foresight Strategist at the Institute For The Future (IFTF), a non-profit research organisation based in California, is remarkably effervescent and almost contagious in her positive outlook for the future when we meet at the recent philanthropy session in Salzburg. “I really believe the future is a safe space,” she explains. She reflects on Salzburg Global's ethics as similar to the IFTF’s mission, “People underestimate the power of [the future] because we don’t have time to think about it very often, but when you do sit down in really diverse groups to consider the future, and you think far enough out, like ten years or more, you end up realizing that people are much more open-minded and much more excited about options that are pretty close and are actionable today.” Warburg’s primary focus is on revolutionary “think-spaces”, open places for communities to come together and collaborate in innovative and creative ways on unique projects. The open spaces are not just a retreat or a haven for many people, but they are oftentimes the only space in which to express themselves in big cities, not only in the California area, but increasingly around the world: in Paris, in Berlin, in Barcelona. “You do something different with your society, you play out your politics and dialogue and meet people who come from different socio-economic backgrounds and really challenge your stance on different areas of interest. And I think that is where we get creativity, we keep our diversity and we avoid polarization of societies.” Passion and enthusiasm are key drivers in the revolutionary model. She considers California as a state populated by the more liberal, the more innovative, and the more open-minded. She describes cities where people work together on projects for areas in which they have little or no experience, and limited resources, particularly financially. Despite the almost hyperbolic descriptions, there is no doubt that these projects are having massive success, regardless of restrictions. “If there’s no financial incentive, then that is the one reason we are brought together. You end up with a lot more freedom to bring your best self to that project. So that is a lot of where that creative spirit comes from.” The Institute supports these innovative projects because they are trying to revolutionize the way we consider the future, and what we are capable of achieving if we cooperate outside of normal social interactions at work. “The lack of agenda is really important in that we bring our best selves to projects that are just pure passion. “In doing that we have opened the door to people thinking about problems differently and thinking about the resources that they have at their fingertips these days and trying to tinker with systems and systemic problems, not just objects and products.” That is not to say that the IFTF forgoes existing institutions and means of communications. Warburg readily admits that she has a penchant for print books and would hate to see the New York Review of Books go out of publication. She insists that if there is clever innovation, these resources can remain important. “It is more a relevance question and we should be asking those institutions to address their own relevance and ensure they stay relevant in the long run. “You see things like libraries across America that have taken on the task of including 'maker spaces' in their space. Thinking about how space is used and what the community really needs and what is called for.” Monitoring progress, the IFTF invests its efforts in learning from cultural, social, and particularly, technological developments. The projects that it supports are often not just original, but they contribute to the Institute's “toolkit of foresight methodologies”; that is to say, the group is better able to advise on development projects and suggest areas for investment for other philanthropy groups as well. There will be a rise in “the evolution of feedback” to support this process, suggests Warburg. “You want all of these forks of the same information to be able to come back to the central source and say this is what we learnt, this is how this is going, and iterate throughout the process. I think that is a lot of the future for our information age. It is much more about feedback loops and learning from our own learning.” This casual approach to progress has been welcomed in some parts of the US, where Warburg credits the can-do philosophy as the reason for the boom, describing “an attitude towards giving and particularly volunteerism.” “[When] you see you have built something yourself, or you’ve taken the trouble to find a group that you want to help in some way, or you have found a group that will help you do whatever you have set out to do, then you will have a certain amount of tacit experience and knowledge that you have gained from that which is valuable beyond words.” For all Warburg’s enthusiasm, the key to the IFTF’s projects is collaboration and interaction. It will take a continued commitment to plan for the future, and that could prove the real stumbling block, as was reflected at the “Value(s) for Money?” session. “There is definitely a role to play for all societies in being able to - individually and as communities - take on their own challenges and run with them in creative way; a sense of being global and local at the same time.”
Bettina Warburg was a speaker 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
READ MORE...
Barbara Ibrahim: Egyptian Philanthropy needs diversity
Barbara Ibrahim: Egyptian Philanthropy needs diversity
Alex Jackson 
Barbara Ibrahim is the founding director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Originally from the USA, Ibrahim has lived in Egypt for nearly 40 years and is married to renowned and formerly exiled civil society academic and activist Saad Ibrahim. A many-time Fellow and faculty member of Salzburg Global Seminar, she spoke to Salzburg Global Communications Intern Alex Jackson during the session Value(s) for Money: Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Change. On your twitter biography, it says “Egypt is worth fighting for and I’m in it for the long haul.” Do you feel that international philanthropy has already started to forget about the tensions in Egypt because there are mounting problems in other areas?
I would have to say that that is true. First of all, I think the Arab Spring moment happened just as private philanthropy was coming out of the global recession. So there wasn’t as much of an expansive sense of resources as perhaps benefitted the Eastern European/Russian Federation transitions. There’s also a concern on the part of European and North American donors that the Muslim world and the Arab region are a little bit messy in terms of identity politics; there’s a clear strain of rejection or questioning of Western models. So for these reasons, I think there was initial interest, at small levels of funding, but as the Arab transformations have become more complex, have not been the bright shiny media images that they were perhaps in the first few months, very few donors from the international sphere have been able to stay the course. Was the initial philanthropic reaction too slow? Was the backup not there to support transformation to start with?
I wouldn’t put it exactly that way. The uprisings of 2010 onwards, I wouldn’t call those the transformations. Those were the fall of an old broken corrupt system and they were very abrupt. If you think about the transitions in Poland or the Czech Republic, they took months and years. These happened in days. That is too rapid in some ways. It’s not enough time to build up coalitions in the space and the frame that has fallen. They happened in an environment in which there had been no space for opposition politics to evolve in a healthy way; there was a vacuum. And into that vacuum very quickly stepped the Islamists, who had a lot of grassroots organizing experience. They knew how to operate under the radar, they knew how to organize themselves. The armies too: in countries like Egypt, the armies stepped into what they thought might be an uncontrollable situation. They’re not comfortable with uncertainty or with democracy. They’re command-and-control institutions after all. And over time, discredited old regimes regrouped. So that crowded out the new ideas, the young voices and those aspirations that informed the Arab Spring. In that sense, is there also an identity and cultural crisis that is driving movement in the region?
We certainly have a polarization of views towards the future right now. One of them is Islamist and I would not want to characterize that as one thing. It is an entire spectrum of ideas based around faith and politics. On the other side of this gap, we see more secular global democratic visions. They represent a minority still – they represent groups that do not have a great voice, like young people, like labor movements, like global interests in making markets more responsive to the poor. All those voices are still marginalized and so one of our roles I would argue as private philanthropy is to create a platform in which these two camps can come together. And not just dialogue, I think we have done enough of that, but roll up their sleeves and find a common project or shared goal, even if it just one of cleaning up neighborhoods, or solid waste management. Work together and try to build something together that will go some way to trying to rebuild these broken and fractured communities and societies. Is there a disconnect between philanthropy and the government? We have heard in the session that there can be mistrust of money and where it’s come from?
Philanthropy is not one thing either just as political movements aren’t just one thing. You have local philanthropy which is very different from each of these emerging transitioning countries. If we take Egypt as an example we had an emerging private philanthropy sector, which included family foundations, public foundations. But the moment of uprising came as a shock to all of the systems of society. So for philanthropy, if you had got your permission to operate by being close to the Mubarak family or its cronies, you were under investigation. You had to take a lower profile. If you were a corporate foundation, you found your revenue stream cut by two thirds perhaps. So our sector wasn’t well enough established in its diversity to play the role of rapid response. There were great exceptions and we have tried to document those good practice examples but I would have to say that local philanthropy hasn’t yet risen to the opportunity. They are trying to fill that void but they don’t have that flexibility that I would argue that private philanthropy could and should have made. What are the Gerhart Center's plans for the immediate future?
My center sees itself as part of the support system for strengthening the culture of giving and the institutions that make that giving more strategic. So in that support role, we have been documenting how things have been changing in the Arab Spring, so that those emergent opportunities and the kind of citizen philanthropy that we have identified is out there for people to understand and to support. We have looked at how informal some of this philanthropy is and whether there are ways to assist groups who would like to have a more sustainable model for their community work. So we’re a catalyst, we’re a platform, we’re matchmakers. Our focus right now is on next generation philanthropy and civic engagement – so what can universities do to produce good citizens and social innovators as well as job seekers and applicants. Why is it important to discuss issue surrounding philanthropy here in Salzburg?
Private philanthropy is unique in that it really has no constituents that it answers to except its own internal boards of trustees. There are few opportunities like this in a safe space to talk very frankly about our failures, talk about our shortcomings, talk about how blinkered our vision may have been either in our own country, or our own sector, or our own type of philanthropy. So I think these will be incredibly important for opening out the discussions for forcing us to engage with people that are very different in their views of things. Sometimes it is a bit explosive but it is always positive. What are your key takeaways from this session?
What I will be taking back is a sense of a growing malaise or dissatisfaction in our sector with the lack of global vision and sustainable toolkits. We have to overcome what seems to be a kind of polarity that has been existing in the past between grant making and traditional ways of doing philanthropy and I think this meeting has gone a long way forward in saying the toolkit needs to be broader than that. I think Arab philanthropy is at a young enough point in its evolution that we can jump on the learning curve and thus we can speed up the process.
Barbara Ibrahim 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
READ MORE...
Emmett Carson: Young Billionaires and the Renaissance of Philanthropy
Emmett Carson: Young Billionaires and the Renaissance of Philanthropy
Alex Jackson 
“I am African American, I am male and I am a United States citizen. Which one am I right at this moment?” poses Emmett Carson, CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Of course, the answer is all three, something which he says is important in recognising when we think of ourselves as global citizens, trying to change the world. “I think global citizens are at once local, national and international. The new world is about the people that say I don’t simultaneously see in my head separate linkages between where I live; what the corporate world needs to be; what the global world needs to be. They fuse it all into one single experience and identity and I think that’s all to the good. I think we limit people when we try to define them as one singular community.” This viewpoint is something that Carson has held since he was in high school. “I wanted to understand why markets work for some people and why they didn’t seemingly work for others,” he explained; when you study different sectors of disadvantaged people, you build up a bigger picture of the ways in which markets work. The spectrum of problems faced by different communities is wide and varied, and Carson points to cultural, social and economic issues that deprive certain areas. “Philanthropy is about trying to allocate limited resources to unlimited needs.” The esteemed philanthropist has dealt with this inequality his whole life. As a child, he grew up in a disadvantaged community in Chicago, IL, USA. Only when he moved to a different area of the city did he notice the stark contrasts enjoyed in other suburbs. The experience is something that still motivates him today, as he reflects on how his hometown has gradually declined even further. “The real issue is that so many can’t get access to being successful and I think we misplace the energy on why others have been successful as if people have done something wrong. I get the opportunity to meet with many of these individuals and they come from many humble and modest backgrounds. They have worked very hard. We shouldn’t begrudge the fact that they have been successful.” Instead, Carson, who oversaw the largest merger of community foundation groups in US history between the Peninsula Community Foundation and Community Foundation Silicon Valley, believes that we can compare the hesitancy of foundations to surfers, waiting for the right wave to catch. The perfect storm of his metaphor lies in growing inequities: “We are trying to put it into perspective what is going on in that inequality. We ought to ask what is it about our communities and our societies that don’t produce more opportunities for success and I think the opportunity for philanthropy is in the middle of this wave.” Silicon Valley Community Foundation is certainly one of the companies most likely to cause waves at the moment as one of the most prolific grant makers on the West Coast of America. By highlighting the need for investment and improvement in key areas such as economic security, education, immigration, and regional planning, Carson’s business has not only gained international repute for philanthropy, but has gained attention from the dotcom world, with 29-year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, donating shares in the social media monolith to the value of almost $1billion in 2013, the largest charitable gift on public record for the year. “Historically, people have waited to be successful and then engage in philanthropy. Certainly that was the Bill Gates model, that’s what the Fords and the Carnegies and the Rockefellers did. But if you think about Mark Zuckerberg, his wife, Priscila Chan, and their ages, and people of their generation. It means they will have 40 to 50 years to engage in philanthropy. How much more experienced will they be, how much more nuanced will they be in their thinking 10 years from now, 20 years from now? So that is the real renaissance in philanthropy.” With more people being able to discuss and populate the philanthropy ecosystem, there are a lot more issues being addressed. Carson points to benefactors in the area who are now much more libertarian in their views, and are actively participating in debates on immigration, education and the legalisation of marijuana, to name a few. The diversification of the sphere promises an acceleration in philanthropic trends, suggests Carson. “It used to be that philanthropy was the province of foundations: now philanthropy is the province of everyone.” But this creates as many problems as it solves. “Now there is a much more complicated picture of people raising and complicating money and goods. And we don’t know what that system looks like. We don’t have a way of relating to each other. We don’t understand this new ecosystem.” Carson pauses when considering how this is both exciting and dangerous. He reflects on how social media has managed to galvanise sentiment to overthrow governments, alert people to pending disasters, and spur civic movements. Our information is only getting deeper, and he suggests this wealth of knowledge needs to be harnessed in order to make philanthropy organisations a more efficient and effective system in the 21st Century. “These are tools which by themselves are agnostic. It takes the people to give them the value proposition that will result in improving quality of life.”
Emmett Carson was a speaker 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 webpage: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/530
READ MORE...
Displaying results 15 to 21 out of 23

RELATED SESSION REPORTS