Yes, says Leonora Buckland, author of a new report from the European Venture Philanthropy Association, Social Impact Strategies for Banks: Venture Philanthropy and Social Investment, launched today. ‘Banks could certainly do more – this report will hopefully catalyse greater activity in this space as a practical roadmap starts to emerge as to how a broader section of the banking sector can get involved.’
The report, written with the support of the London Business School, provides the first comprehensive guide as to how European banks are currently active in venture philanthropy, social investment and impact investment.
The main findings are that banks have the skills and resources to play a defining role in the future scaling of venture philanthropy and social investment, and that social investment increasingly offers banks a promising new investment opportunity. However, due to the substantial challenges and barriers to banks operating in this relatively immature sector, social investment initiatives have been largely fragmented and small-scale, with only €260 million committed to date by the European banks surveyed in the report.
The report includes in-depth case studies from a selected group of pioneers in a variety of European countries (Bank Degroof, Belgium; Banque de Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Deutsche Bank, UK; BBVA, Spain; BNP Paribas Wealth Management, France; JP Morgan Social Finance, UK; Erste Bank/Foundation, Austria; Triodos Bank, Holland; UBS Wealth Management, Switzerland).
To read the full press release, click here>
Microinsurance, the microfinance family’s less glamorous and less understood new arrival, is urgently needed to protect the poor and reduce poverty. It allows farmers in Kenya to keep their livestock even when drought hits. It allows women in Guatemala to access cancer tests and treatment for the first time. It allows microentrepreneurs in Haiti to get their businesses running again immediately after a hurricane or an earthquake.
First the good news: about 500 million low-income people earning less than $2 a day had access to insurance products in developing and emerging countries in 2012, up from 78 million in 2007. Often the missing piece in the financial inclusion puzzle, microinsurance protects low-income people against health, life, funeral and agriculture risks.
Evidence increasingly shows that it protects them financially and helps break the cycle of poverty. Microinsurance can be a viable business model and is increasingly attracting the attention of local and multinational insurance companies.
The bad news: billions of poor households still don’t have access to good value insurance products, with devastating effects. Microinsurance is available on a significant scale only in a handful of countries like India, the Philippines, South Africa and Mexico. Glaring geographic disparities in coverage persist. In many developing countries the insurance industry does not have the know-how and tools to serve this market effectively.
Foundations, companies and individual donors might think that building microinsurance markets for the poor is best left to bilateral agencies. We beg to differ. We believe that private donors can make a tangible difference with targeted interventions.
After six years of working closely with insurers and other public and private insurance stakeholders worldwide, we know how to significantly increase the access to microinsurance globally and at a large scale. In this blog, we would like to share a few concrete examples of how private donors can be catalysts in accelerating insurance markets for the poor.
Market development: convening stakeholders
All insurance stakeholders – including regulators, multinational reinsurers, brokers, NGOs and cooperatives – have to work together to make insurance markets work for the poor. Bringing together stakeholders in countries like Indonesia, Nigeria and Senegal, which have high potential for microinsurance market development, is crucially important at this juncture.
Take Zambia, for example. In 2009, the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Capital Development Fund and FinMark Trust convened industry representatives, potential distribution channels, consumer advocates and donors to discuss the findings of a diagnostic study and create a roadmap to promote microinsurance in Zambia. This included training and workshops for insurers and distribution channels, changes to insurance regulations, and financial education campaigns. The result: the industry has launched five new microinsurance products that now protect 220,000 people.
Product development: understanding what clients want
Low-income populations are an important growth market for national and international insurers. But reaching low-income clients can be difficult. It requires rethinking traditional marketing approaches and going back to square one with an open mind. Not an easy task. Insurers that strive to be microinsurers need tools and support, otherwise reaching low-income clients will remain too risky and too low a priority for a very long time.
Here is an example from South Africa that worked. At first, Old Mutual’s retail funeral product called ‘Pay When You Can’ was too complex and sales were disappointing. A client value analysis using the ILO’s PACE (Product, Access, Cost and Experience) assessment tool helped Old Mutual simplify the product and meet client needs. More insurance practitioners need access to PACE and other tools so that they can experiment and enhance the value they offer low-income clients.
Peer learning: putting good practices on a plane
Over the past couple of years we started experimenting with peer learning among microinsurance industry pioneers. In 2013, the Microinsurance Innovation Facility went one step further. We piloted an exchange of microinsurance practitioners from La Positiva in Peru and Old Mutual in South Africa. The results were encouraging. They jointly developed solutions to cope with challenges they face serving low-income rural populations. Enhanced knowledge management and capacity building will allow organizations from geographies as diverse as South Africa and Peru to learn from one another, accelerating the development of these markets.
These are just a few examples to demonstrate that targeted interventions can make a big difference, driving the growth of microinsurance markets to protect the poor. Microinsurance matters, and donors and foundations can play an important role in ensuring it reaches scale.
Craig Churchill is team leader and Alice Merry is knowledge officer at the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility.
Established in 2008 thanks to an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility aims to increase the quantity and improve the quality of insurance for the working poor.
Last summer I co-signed a letter to the donors of America called the ‘Overhead Myth Letter.’ The letter has gotten a fair amount of attention within the US non-profit sector (at least among the 1% of US charities that get 86% of the funding each year). In addition, representatives of some of those larger charities have told me that, at least among some of their big donors and family foundations, it has been a helpful piece of information. The letter urges donors to look at ‘other factors of non-profit performance’ beyond overhead, because we believe that ‘focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity’s financial and organizational performance can do more damage than good’. However, for the average donor to charity, the letter may not be all that helpful, because information on ‘other factors’ is few and far between.
This is especially true when it comes to the most important information of all – data on the results (including outcomes and impact) of a non-profit’s work. After years of research we have conducted at Charity Navigator, we have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of non-profits do not publicly report meaningful information on their results. In addition, we suspect that the vast majority of non-profits have NO SUCH DATA to share with the public! That is because they have never built the required performance management systems to measure what they do. Therefore, when I signed the Overhead Myth letter with my colleagues, I said to them, if we are not careful and don’t take at least one additional step, we will have possibly done more ‘damage than good’ ourselves. I said that because following the advice in the letter could lead the donors of America to a dead end. On the one hand we tell donors, don’t consider overhead as most important; on the other hand, we do not have a place for them to go to get what is most important to consider. This could lead to non-profits being even less accountable to donors than they are currently. Not good!
I do not mean to imply that this state of affairs is entirely the fault of non-profits. In fact, there is a perfectly logical yet tragic reason to explain (but not excuse) why non-profits are in this situation. The vast majority of funders do not provide the necessary resources for non-profits to build the required performance management systems so they can provide meaningful information on their results. Although non-profits are usually required to generate an endless stream of reports to their funders, they usually are more focused on activities and outputs rather than real evidence of social value (meaningful change in communities and people’s lives). At the same time the funders usually do not supply the resources (money and technical expertise) to help non-profits develop the capacity to manage, measure and report on their results. So even when the funders ask for such information, the non-profits typically end up going through a kabuki dance to appear to supply it, when in fact it is simply repackaged outputs.
However there is good news on the horizon on a variety of fronts. A lot of people are working hard to make more information on non-profit organizations’ results available to the public. In addition, there is a growing demand that funders (especially foundations) not just ask for non-profits to report on their results, but show a willingness to provide the resources for non-profits to build their capacity to better manage and measure what they do. So do not despair! Here are just a sampling of the efforts that are under way to provide non-profits with the tools and donors with the information they need:
For non-profits: check out these resources that can help you to get on the road to managing and measuring your performance: (1) Perform Well (2) Keystone Accountability (3) Charting Impact (4) Social Solutions (5) Root Cause (6) Leap of Reason (7) The Center for What Works and (8) The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox. Whatever size and cause area your non-profit works in, there is something available on this list to get you started.
For donors: I admit I am biased but the only resource I know of that has the depth of analysis and scale (ie number of charities rated) that is working on compiling information on results for the average donor is Charity Navigator. Specifically, we call our new rating system CN 3.0. You can check it out here.
Finally, at the beginning of this article I mentioned that there is at least one more thing that we signers of the Overhead Myth letter need to do. That is, to write a second letter to the foundations and non-profits of America, urging them to make sure that they do whatever it takes to build the capacity to manage and measure results and to then supply that information to the donors of America. THAT is the road beyond non-profit overhead!
Ken Berger, CEO of Charity Navigator.
Cross-posted with permission from here>
Friday, 7 March: Dasra means enlightened giving in Sanskrit and has its origins in India’s first venture philanthropy fund started up back in 2000 by Indians working the New York financial services industry. Impact Partners didn’t survive the post 9/11 downturn but three years later its CEO, Deval Sanghavi, teamed up with his wife, Neera Nundy, to launch Dasra.
While Dasra initially continued with investing in NGOs that showed potential to scale up, the nascent philanthropy ecosystem was a lot less developed than it is today. So Dasra had to help build the ecosystem in which it operated. It launched programmes to build the skills of social entrepreneurs and convened a platform where high net worth philanthropists could meet, share and learn. I recall the first Indian Philanthropy Forum in 2009: it was a small, private event for a handful of big-ticket philanthropists and outstanding social entrepreneurs. Fast forward to 2014 and the forum is now the Dasra India Philanthropy Week, showcasing outstanding, entrepreneurial NGOs that are strategically tackling core social problems, the work of grantmakers, corporate foundations, impact investors and philanthropists. Dasra is now a key component of the Indian social investment ecosystem it helped create, with a staff of 73 having unlocked $40 million into NGOs.
Tigers & termites
The consulting firm Bain & Company have used the forum to launch sector research on philanthropy in India (I’ve critiqued earlier reports in my ACSEP publications) and this year they present something different: a blueprint for creating the ecosystem needed by 2035 to seriously move the needle on reproductive and child health in India.
The following panel unpacks what ecosystems are and how they work. One of my heroes, entrepreneur Matthew Spacie, shares his experiences of collaboration in taking MagicBus India from an idea (about using sport to build the self-esteem of street kids and make them employable citizens) to a proven methodology that is attracting attention in 22 other countries. He talks about the Bombay Port slum, not more than 5 km from the luxury of Taj Palace, where 400,000 people live illegally without water, sanitation or schools. He says that through ‘collaboration and community cohesion’ 98% of its children now attend schools, outside the slum, from a base of 20%.
‘Tigers don’t vote’ says conservationist Anish Andheria, and ‘termites have no need to evolve for 600,000 years.’ Anish helps us understand the fragility of the environmental ecosystem and what it teaches us about ourselves and the ecosystems we try to build.
Lakshmi Pratury, founder of INK Talks (think TED), tells us that ‘people half our age are twice as smart’ and to prove the point introduces tenth grader Bani Kohli. Bani was appalled by the food thrown away in her uncle’s restaurant every night. A waste, yes, but in India also an insult to the thousands of children who die from hunger every day. Bani set up a charity that collects good to eat food every night from Delhi’s restaurants and distributes it to hungry children on Delhi’s streets.
The roll of the dice
No programme or intervention by Dasra happens without first doing really high quality sector research (which includes shortlisting the best-in-class NGOs in the field). On the final day Dasra launches the report No Private Matter – Confronting Domestic Violence in India, sponsored by USAID, Omidyar Network and the UK-based Kiawah Trust. Its statistics are chilling. 70% of women face domestic violence and three quarters of those that file a complaint attempt suicide. But the report goes on to explore the opportunities to change this, if the right resources, organizations and ecosystem can be assembled.
Selvi Hariga personifies the violence that is an everyday experience for Indian girls and women. She tells her story: forcibly married at 14, tortured by her husband because she has no dowry, sold to other men by the man she is supposed to trust. She runs away and contemplates suicide, but instead, with help from a women’s shelter and NGO, turns her life around. She is now proudly ‘India’s first woman taxi driver’, has remarried, cares for her new daughter and fully intends to start up a travel agency using women drivers. A film is being made of her life, to inspire others.
The dice rolled very differently for Roshini Nadar Malhorta. Roshini is a ‘next gen’ philanthropist. She looks to be in her 20s but manages her father’s company – HCL Corporation – a start-up IT business that now turns over $6.2 billion annually. She candidly admits to not ‘feeling old enough to be a philanthropist’, but is totally committed to the family’s core philanthropic activity – a ‘leadership academy’ for the most gifted children from the poorest families in Utter Pradesh (annual incomes typically I lakh Rupees – £1,600). Asked from the audience what she might have done in life without all that money, she tells us she’d ‘probably work for Dasra’!
It’s been Dasra’s most ambitious philanthropy week so far. The conversations about the complexity of philanthropy in the chaos of India have been mature, intelligent, grounded and always passionate. Billionaires and the most dignified people of humble means have shared the same platform and in their own ways contributed to my understanding of what social transformation looks like in India. Dasra has been a remarkable experiment by two young, ex-investment bankers who returned to their homeland without resources or networks. Proof again that India is the capital of frugal innovation.
Rob John is a senior visiting fellow at the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, NUS Business School, Singapore, and a co-founder of AVPN.
Thursday, 6 March: Day 2 of Dasra’s philanthropy conference was held at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, across from the Gateway of India and in the heart of the most impressive colonial architecture imaginable. Perhaps because of its grandeur terrorists seized the hotel in 2008 – the 3-day ordeal watched around the world on live TV. It’s hard to place the images of such an atrocity alongside what we saw today – a gathering that celebrates the transforming power of philanthropy. (One survivor of the attack, a hedge fund manager, became a generous, intelligent and engaged philanthropist … but that’s a story for another time).
Kool-Aid & Tonic
The primary theme of today’s agenda is impact investing in India. To lay my cards on the table, I’m still something of an impact investor sceptic, or maybe just a little averse to the hype surrounding it. I’ve not quite drunk the Kool-Aid yet, and am usually found in my corner beating the drum about how much grantmaking in Asia needs to grow, mature and become better networked. Without well-directed philanthropy to prime social enterprises and help the ecosystem to evolve, impact investing will have a hard time.
In the opening session Epstein and Yuthas (US business school professors and impact measurement gurus) run through the basics of the logic model and gave us all a group exercise. (Their new book, Measuring and Improving Social Impacts, stands out from the pack in drawing from a lot of good Indian examples of impact measurement). My mind wanders during the exercise and I wonder if imposing linear Cartesian logic is right for all cultures, when someone from the audience asks just the same question – is a planning model developed to run American military logistics the best we have for a complex, messy social sector? Someone else, from an NGO, suggests that logic models ‘restrict innovation’. The profs are unrepentant and argue that clarity is what it’s all about, and without that an organization goes nowhere.
Before there’s time to reflect on all this, Toniic (the impact investing network) is telling us all about their new e-Guide to Impact Investing, which has taken 2 years to distil from the collective wisdom, data and advice of 60+ investors and academics (download from here). It looks like a great resource for anyone wanting to avoid mistakes and learn from those who have done it.
Unless you’re an ecosystem wonk like me, the next session – Building an Ecosystem for Impact Investing – sounds like it will be dull – but far from it. It features a riveting collection of young organizations that have won Rockefeller/Omidyar grants to help them develop a better functioning investing ecosystem in India. One is an investor’s council – the equivalent of a venture capital association; another develops impact entrepreneurs in ‘2nd and 3rd Tier’ cities that don’t normally attract attention like Mumbai, Delhi and other top tier cities; one works the alumni network in India’s most prestigious business school to recruit 50 impact angel ‘virgins’ – young investors who might not think of deals that create social value as well as financial return. All of these imaginative initiatives grown with grant money – a real reminder of how critical philanthropy is in making impact investing possible.
After lunch we have a session I found to be deeply inspiring, provocative and humbling. An all-women panel helped us to see business, philanthropy and social investment through a ‘gender lens’. Lisa Kleissner spoke about women taking control of their wealth and needing to learn how to negotiate. Kavita Ramdas (Ford Foundation) reminded us that ‘sex is what’s between the legs, gender is what’s between the ears’ and the entrenched cultural attitudes that hold women back.
A moving interview with two employees of the SNEHA (an NGO that combats malnutrition in India’s largest slum – 1.2 million people) revealed a humbling empathy with the community and the quality of Indian community workers. A teacher with Muktangan, an NGO proving high quality low cost education in Mumbai’s poorest districts, brought most of us to tears when she told of her own journey from housewife to school principal. Both these remarkable NGOs are supported by giving circles that Dasra initiated following research on malnutrition and education (you can read more about giving circles in Asia in the March issue of Alliance).
Perhaps an unexpected highlight of the day came at the end of the panel on The Demographic Dividend, broadcast live on Bloomberg TV India. A diminutive Nadir Godrej read what must be a first: a poem – Hilaire Belloc style – about Shared Value! The Godrej’s are one of India’s most respected industrial families and have embraced the Porter/Kramer concept of Shared Value in designing the Godrej Group’s corporate citizenship. If Mr Godrej ever gives up the day job, a new career awaits him!
It was a long but inspiring day. Much useful and detailed information about impact investing was presented, while acknowledging the central need for good grantmaking in building strong non-profits and the ecosystem that impact investing needs.
Rob John is a senior visiting fellow at the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, NUS Business School, Singapore, and a co-founder of AVPN.
Our online poll closed on Friday and the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize “readers’ winner” is … Dhaval Udani, CEO of GiveIndia. Congratulations, Dhaval!
Dhaval Udani started volunteering for GiveIndia seven years ago, joined GiveIndia as a staff member two and a half years later, and became CEO in 2011. When he joined GiveIndia, it was raising $1.5 million from its core activities. Five years later it is raising $5.5 million – in a country where structured and regular online giving by ordinary individuals was unknown until ten years ago. www.GiveIndia.org is one of the world’s first online donation marketplaces and is now perhaps the largest source of indigenously raised funds for Indian NGOs; it is expected to raise and disburse over $7 million this year. Over the next three years, he says, the target is to raise $20 million a year, but ‘my biggest challenge is to try to find a way to get more passionate and committed people involved’.
Read the full interview with Dhaval here>
In parallel with the online poll for Alliance readers, the panel of judges were deliberating and coming to their decision. The winner of the 2014 Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize will be announced at a special awards ceremony at the WINGS Forum in Istanbul on 27 March. Watch this space to find out more!
Read about all the Olga Prize finalists here>
Wednesday, 5 March: Dasra has gathered over 200 people for the first of its three conference days of Philanthropy Week. The venue is unusual, and quite historic – the old trading floor of the Bombay Stock Exchange, founded in 1875 and today the largest globally by number of listings. In his opening remarks Dasra’s co-founder, Deval Sanghavi, makes a good case for opening a philanthropy conference in the exchange building – he says Dasra and BSE share common values of transparency, collaboration, scalability and impact. There’s another good reason – timing: in just under a month the new Companies Act comes into force, requiring large and medium-sized Indian companies to spend 2% of their profits on charitable causes. The numbers are mind-boggling – 16,000 qualifying companies dispersing 18,000 Crore Rupees (US$2.9 billion) annually! I remember that numbers are always big in India.
The first panel session unpacks this new social clause in some detail, and it seems that while spending 2% of pre-tax profit on charitable causes is not compulsory, a company must justify spending less in a mandatory annual report signed off by three senior directors. Some companies will just see this as additional corporation tax and make large contributions to government social welfare schemes, but it could become an unprecedented flow of donations to Indian non-profits. CSR guru Nikhil Pant says India would need 100,000 NGOs to absorb the funds available and a corporate sector with the professional capacity to disperse huge grants responsibly, with social impact. No wonder a whole CSR industry ecosystem is rapidly evolving. Dasra teamed up with US academics to publish a CSR primer, which can be freely downloaded here>
A session on ‘sharing lessons learned’ showcases some excellent grantmaking practices by EdelGive Foundation, the engineering firm Cummins (whose pioneering work in training a generation of women engineers is mentioned in passing) and Novartis (who use the shared value concept to integrate business and social activity).
In a country with this many people educated to university level, the scope for volunteering is limitless – the Confederation of Indian Industry is leading a campaign to build a pro bono sector with a monetized value of US$10 billion by 2022. If the funding tap is turned on for NGOs, few believe the sector has the capacity to absorb capital without first building capacity and professionalism. Corporate volunteering will be one approach. In the panel on employee engagement we learned from Elaine D’Mello that Tata Consulting Services (now a truly global consulting firm, where the average age is 28) expects every employee to make at least one pro bono assignment each year, the CEO included. She sees it as a win for the company too – staff churn is reduced when consultants offer their skills to non-profits. Much of the discussion focused on inputs and activities by pro bono consultants, but the conversation must shift to outcomes: can commercially focused consulting companies really make a difference in the non-profit sector?
Rob John is a senior visiting fellow at the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy, NUS Business School, Singapore, and a co-founder of AVPN.
Global Fund for Women and the International Museum of Women (IMOW) have today announced that they have merged. The merger brings together Global Fund’s expertise on issues, grantmaking and fundraising with IMOW’s skills in awareness raising, online advocacy and digital story-telling. Under the terms of the merger, IMOW becomes a part of Global Fund for Women; Global Fund headquarters will remain in San Francisco, with an office in New York City.
IMOW engages over 700,000 annual visitors, including visitors to global events and exhibits. In the past three years it has held physical events and installations in 14 countries on five continents. Global Fund’s international network includes 20,000+ donors, a global online community of more than 650,000, and more than 2,000 volunteers and 4,700 grantees in 175 countries. Together, the two organizations will engage more than 1 million visitors per year through social media, email and web, in effect doubling their impact as separate entities.
Click here to read the full press release here>
… and other news on funding for women’s rights
A new report from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development AWID, New Actors, New Money, New Conversations: A Mapping of Recent Initiatives for Women and Girls, contributes to filling a gap, particularly among women’s rights organizations, in understanding the current landscape of the corporate sector and other actors that are new to supporting women and girls.
AWID and Mama Cash have partnered with the UK’s Guardian newspaper to create a new ‘women’s rights and gender equality in focus’ section in the Guardian‘s global development website. The new section will highlight pressing issues affecting women, girls and transgender people around the world, and the critical work being carried out by women’s rights movements and was made possible by part-funding from the Ford Foundation.
With grantmaking increasingly dismissed as a serious strategy for achieving social change in favour of more fashionable approaches such as venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy and most recently catalytic philanthropy, it’s time to bring grantmaking in from the cold, argue guest editors Barry Knight and Jenny Hodgson.
The special feature includes articles from Africa, Brazil and Turkey showing how vital grantmaking is where philanthropy and civil society are emerging, and a piece from Helena Monteiro on why grantmaking matters to WINGS. A series of short articles showcases successful grants from countries as diverse as the USA, Ireland, Sri Lanka and Namibia.
The special feature also includes Andrew Kingman considering ‘catalytic philanthropy’ in action in Mozambique and a write-up of an Alliance webinar in which participants discussed the role of grantmaking and other approaches in achieving social change. Context is everything, concludes Phil Buchanan, reflecting on the various contributions.
Also in the March issue of Alliance: Gerry Salole and Bradford Smith look back at three years of working together on the GrantCraft partnership, now ending; opinion pieces on foundation transparency and accountability; articles on the growth of collective philanthropy in Asia and the reasons for low levels of giving in Latin America; and letters in response to December’s special feature on next gen philanthropy.
Read guest editors, Barry Knight and Jenny Hodgson article, ‘Bringing grantmaking in from the cold,’ for free here>
You can buy this issue for as little as £10, here>
The London- and New York-based Institute for Philanthropy and the San Francisco-based The Philanthropy Workshop West, leading providers of strategic philanthropy education, legally merged on 1 March.
The name echoes the origins of TPW. The Philanthropy Workshop or TPW was established by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1995 and moved to the newly established Institute for Philanthropy five years later, in 2000.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the TOSA Foundation, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, launched TPW West in 2001. In 2009, members of TPW West moved the programme out of the Hewlett Foundation and into an independent organization.
The merger brings these two separate entities full circle but as an independent entity. This new entity will have offices in London, New York and San Francisco, and be named The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW). The two respective brands and websites (www.instituteforphilanthropy.org and www.tpwwest.org) will continue to operate until the organizations are fully integrated.
According to Katherine Lorenz, TPW’s new board chair: ‘TPW’s combined network of more than 300 philanthropists – all trained in strategic philanthropy by our organizations – is the largest of its kind and unique to the field of philanthropy.’ The network hails largely from the US and the UK, with significant numbers from Canada and countries throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
TPW’s curriculum includes case studies, site visits, peer discussions and skills-building sessions, involving some of the best thinkers and leaders in philanthropy. Each cohort participates in three weeklong modules in different parts of the world, with an optional fourth module in Washington DC.
February was another very busy month for civil society in China. The developments were in several areas: tax exemption, direct registration, implementing regulations on cancellation of the branch registration requirement for national social organizations, procurement of social services, volunteering, and community organizations.
There was also an interesting development at the national level, with China’s President Xi Jinping speaking at a Communist Party work congress about the China’s “new governance,” and the roles that “social organizations” are to play in it. The term “new governance” has been bandied about quit a bit recently, and one expects that it will also be used at the upcoming “two big meetings” (of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC)).
On January 29 the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and State Administration of Taxation (SAT) issued a new circular – Cai Shui  No. 13 — on tax exemption requirements for CSOs. While not differing significantly from the one issued in 2009 (available here), it cancels that one and is now the applicable set of rules. The principal difference is that it permits the charitable and public benefit activities to be conducted outside China. This is salutary in that many Chinese CSOs are now working across borders, e.g., environmental CSOs in Myanmar. The new one posted on the English language ICCSL website and is available here and on ICCSL’s Chinese language website is here.
1. There have been several announcements of the passage of direct registration regulations (Henan and Hubei). These were passed during the recent meetings of local people’s congresses throughout China.
2. An informal communication from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) also clarifies an important point. Although many provinces and self-governing municipalities have not yet adopted such regulations, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Guangxi, Chongqing, Guizhou, Qinghai, and Ningxia are in fact already directly registering social organizations (presumably the 4 permitted types). Only Inner Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang do not directly register such entities. The latter two areas are very unstable, so it is unsurprising that they have not felt confident to register any social organizations without an oversight entity.
Implementing regulation on cancellation of branch registration requirement for national social organizations:
On May 11, effective June 8, 2013, the State Council announced that it would no longer be necessary for national social organizations to receive permission to register branches they set up throughout the country. (Guo Fa  No. 44). MCA has now issued implementing regulations for this policy (Fa  No. 38. It clarifies and updates the manner in which the national regulations are to be applied. Significantly it says that the branches do not have legal personality, making it unnecessary to have articles of incorporation, etc. for them.
Procurement of social services from CSOs:
1. It is understood that, in addition to the already introduced national policies, Shandong, Hebei, Hubei, Anhui, and other places are also promoting the government procurement of social services. According to the Institute of Public Institute of International Relations Deputy Director, Zhao Yong, in fact, MCA is most active in promoting this policy, rather than the MoF. MCA introduced the “Guiding Opinions on Government Ministry of Civil Affairs to buy social work services” in 2013 to promote social development organizations. For more on the general policy, see here.
2. In addition, MCA announced that it has been awarded money on the budget of the central government to support community services by CSOs (Letter 2014/no. 30).
3. Local procurement regulations were published for Shaanxi Province; for more see here.
1. The “China Social Services volunteer team building Guidelines (2013-2020),” have been issued. The announcement also says that China will further accelerate the development of social service volunteering, and strive by 2020 to have 10% of residents registered as social service volunteers.
2. Vice minister Pu Gong, accompanied by Bureau Chief Wang Jianjun, visited the Volunteers Association on February 21 and sought to encourage their outreach to attract more volunteers. See here.
In an apparent first, the Chongqing People’s Congress has passed a “Village Committee Organization Law.” The intention is to alleviate the (community) workload at the village level and improve governance. For more see here.
Karla W Simon (西 门 雅) is chairperson of ICCSL
Addis Abba was the site last week for the founding meeting of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF). Over one hundred African donors and foundation professionals gathered from 24 to 25 February to celebrate the growth and innovation of social investing across the continent. Many of the founders of APF are veterans of the Global Philanthropy Forum in the United States, who felt their field would benefit from a focus on the unique cultures and emerging market conditions in Africa today.
Topics covered included working on policy and governance, making collaborations more effective, and the role of philanthropy infrastructure – those research centres, think tanks and membership networks that support the sector. A particularly exciting session highlighted three major African ‘social businesses’ that are shifting the poor from beneficiaries of aid to equity shareholders who can benefit from Africa’s period of unprecedented growth.
Other discussions focused on the features of Africa’s young democracies that need to be understood in order to form smart partnerships with government. Jennah Scott, Director of the Liberia Philanthropy Secretariat, spoke of the challenges to align international donor agencies with the government’s priorities, which immediately post-conflict were to invest in roads, electric grids and sanitation. Only when a visiting head of state found himself stuck in an elevator during a power cut did western donors begin to understand the wisdom of working through locally identified priorities.
She also noted that Africa probably does not need more think tanks today – there are at least 500 across the continent — but it does need more efforts towards implementation of already existing policy recommendations that currently gather dust in official offices.
Private philanthropy has a critical role to play as African nations north and south of the Sahara undergo major economic and political transitions. Large-scale donors need months if not years to negotiate their aid agreements, which can be held hostage to international politics. Private foundation leaders have the ability to sit with a local official, decide what needs to be done, and then swiftly build the pilot that demonstrates successful solutions to a pressing problem. It is this leveraging role that will be increasingly important to jump-start inclusive development and avoid leaving the poor behind. Other speakers noted that one small solid waste management pilot can have large spill-on effects for health, job creation and the proliferation of local entrepreneurs.
At the Forum’s conclusion, participants agreed to explore ways of working effectively with other African philanthropy networks, reaching out to engage North Africa, and focusing future APF activities on emerging philanthropists within the continent and among the African diaspora abroad.
Barbara Ibrahim is the founding director of the John D Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo.Barbara Ibrahim is the founding director of the John D Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo. – See more at: http://philanthropynews.alliancemagazine.org/2014/01/08/making-a-real-difference-philanthropy-during-national-transitions/#sthash.AoL6kMQV.dpuf
Voting for the readers’ winner of the Olga Memorial Prize closes at the end of tomorrow, so vote now!
The shortlisted are as follows:
The “readers’ winner” will be announced in the first week of March.
The winner of this year’s prize will be announced at the WINGSForum to be held in Istanbul 26-29 March.
This year’s shortlist is once again extremely diverse, both geographically – with finalists coming from Brazil, China, India, Latvia, Russia and Turkey – and in terms of the approaches to building philanthropy for social change that it represents.
Both Natalya Kaminarskaya in Russia and He Daofeng in China have done much to transform philanthropy into a more integral part of the life of their country, stressing the importance of transparency, accountability and information sharing.
Both Dhaval Udani in India and Rūta Dimanta in Latvia have developed hugely successful online giving platforms in countries where giving by individuals was until recently almost unknown, while Itır Erhart and I Renay Onur are promoting philanthropy in Turkey by raising money through sporting events.
While Lucia Dellagnelo is the founder of Brazil’s second community foundation, Larisa Avrorina has been supporting community foundation development in Russia for over a decade.
You can find out more about the finalists in a special supplement, kindly sponsored by Charities Aid Foundation, which gives a short profile and interview for each finalist.
Find out more about the prize here>
CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams leads a conversation on U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.