Peace and Security

Who do you think should win the Second Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize?

Alliance Magazine - Wed, 02/12/2014 - 03:00

Alliance magazine

The finalists for the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize have been announced, one by one, on this blog over the last three weeks. The final shortlist is as follows:

The winner of this year’s prize will be announced at the WINGSForum to be held in Istanbul 26-29 March. I don’t envy our panel of judges their hard task of selecting a final winner from this group of outstanding finalists!

In the meantime, we’d love to know what you think. Between now and the end of February, members of the public are invited to vote for their preferred candidate through an online vote. The “readers’ winner” will be announced in the first week of March – and it will be interesting to see if the judges come to the same decision as you do.

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.

View the finalist profiles in this special supplement.

Find out more about the prize here>

And now, please vote for the readers’ winner of the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize.

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Ukrainian Women’s Fund – First step to success program

Alliance Magazine - Tue, 02/11/2014 - 03:00

Barbara Wieser

In 2004, 16-year-old Oksana Kvitka came with her father to Kyiv from their home in Donetsk to witness the Orange Revolution of Ukraine. There she saw for the first time Kyiv-Mohyla Academy—the most prestigious university in Ukraine—“and hanging from the main building was a big red sign that read: We are on Strike. I saw that sign and said: I will study there.” Two years later she participated in the Ukrainian Women’s Fund First Step to Success Program and found the encouragement and support to realize her dream.

Launched in 2006 by the Ukrainian Women’s Fund (UWF) and four other NGO’s, First Step to Success has become one the most successful programs of UWF The First Step to Success Program, funded by local and international donors, focuses on creating a new wave of young Ukrainian feminists. By supporting girls and young women to develop their leadership skills and create change in their communities, the Program encourages them to “think not only about themselves, but their development in the context of their country.” (Natalia Karbowska, chairwoman of the UWF Board of Directors).  The First Step to Success Program brings girls and young women in touch with successful women such as office holders, business owners, artisans and NGO directors, so they can develop their skills and put ideas into practice.

Every year UWF sends out a call across Ukraine for girls and young women to participate in an essay writing contest, answering questions on how they see their future and how they intend to contribute to their community. Out of them, 50 candidates are selected to participate in a three-day workshop on leadership. Here they meet with women leaders, receive training for skills such as grant writing, and network as they share their ideas on improving communities.

This hands on training provides them with the tools to submit proposals for mini-grants from UWF.  For most of them, this is the first serious opportunity to show their leadership potential and bring positive changes to their communities. Since the initial launch of the First Step to Success Program, young feminists have created their own organizations and implemented projects directed at supporting gender equality, improving the environment, helping orphans, ending domestic violence and many others.

In the 2013 cycle, projects were funded (in the participants’ own words) to “establish relationships and understanding between community and people with disabilities,” “help young activists to realize themselves in local governance,” “raise consciousness and ecological awareness of the local population,” “raise awareness of human rights issues,” and “develop a training for young women and girls to realize their dreams.”

After the first year of participation, the Ukrainian Women’s Fund became a permanent place of support for program participants through an informational list serve, the program website,  invitations to participate in different events, implementation of mutual projects, and other activities.

In May of 2013, the Ukrainian Women’s Fund took their successful program to Moldova, where they launched a long term First Step to Success campaign.

For Oksana, who was inspired by the 2006 Program to pursue her dream of attending Kyiv-Mohyla Academy that crucial first experience opened up a road for her to become the strong feminist she is today. She received a First Step to Success mini-grant to conduct trainings for girls in her community on developing leadership skills and building a career.  Oksana participated in a number of national and international events to represent young feminist activism in Ukraine and became an active volunteer at UWF. Her political science studies at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy led her to a career in government service, making good on her desire “to see many more women in politics.” Today, Oksana is an Assistant Deputy in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine.

As a feminist role model, Oksana has become a mentor in the First Step to Success Program and one of its funders. She invests her own money in the Program because, as she says, “I want to help change the life of young girls in Ukraine the way that the First Step to Success Program has changed mine.”

The Program raises funds both abroad and, most importantly, within Ukraine. In some years the Program activities were financed only from local sources. We at the Ukrainian Women’s Fund wanted Ukrainians to understand how important it is to invest in the Ukrainian youth feminist movement, and already we have seen results. During the Program’s existence, it has been supported not only by Mama Cash and other international donors, but also by individual donors from Ukraine and abroad, and by businesses and other funds. But our greatest success–one that we hadn’t expected—is that the Program can be financed by its own participants.

What better success story can you hope for than when a program participant becomes a program funder? Such is the Ukrainian Women’s Fund First Step to Success Program.

Barbara Wieser, Volunteer at the Ukrainian Women’s Fund

Founded in 2000, the Ukrainian Women’s Fund is the only funding organization for women’s movement issues in Ukraine. Their mission to assist civil society organizations, specifically women’s CSOs, to play an active role in the processes of democratization of society and to contribute to the equality, justice and respect for human rights by supporting civil society development with financial opportunities.

This article is part of a series posted by Mama Cash sharing the perspectives of the local and regional funds that are its grantee-partners.

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

New GrantCraft guide suggests transparency could do wonders for grantmaking

Alliance Magazine - Mon, 02/10/2014 - 02:51

Caroline Hartnell

What can strengthen credibility, improve grantee relationships, facilitate greater collaboration, increase public trust, reduce duplication of effort, and build communities of shared learning? Funder transparency, according to the latest GrantCraft guide, published last week: Opening Up: Demystifying Funder Transparency.

‘Transparency has been a buzzword several years, but we wanted to specifically draw the connection between funder transparency and good grantmaking,’ says the GrantCraft blog on 7 February. ‘Through in-depth interviews with more than 25 funders from around the world and input from more than 700 of you in a survey last summer, we boiled transparency down to a mindset in which funders default to saying, “let’s publicly share this”.’

In the forthcoming March issue of Alliance, Fran Perrin, founder and director of the UK’s Indigo Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, takes up the transparency issue from the perspective of individual philanthropists. ‘Grantmakers should be able to see at a glance who is funding in a similar area,’ she says. ‘They can then choose to collaborate or simply to learn from the other funders’ experience. This will take us one step nearer to a more strategic approach to philanthropy for donors and recipients.’ Read the full article in the March issue of Alliance.

Caroline Hartnell, is editor of Alliance magazine.

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Interview with Musimbi Kanyoro, CEO of the Global Fund for Women

Alliance Magazine - Fri, 02/07/2014 - 03:00

Musimbi Kanyoro

The Global Fund for Women is now 25 years old. Caroline Hartnell talks to president and CEO Musimbi Kanyoro about its achievements and challenges over that period and her vision for a world in which women no longer have to fight for their rights.

In an interview for Alliance almost ten years ago, I asked Kavita Ramdas, who was then in your job, if there was a global feminist philanthropy movement that Global Fund for Women was part of, and she said, ‘Yes, but it’s still in its emerging stages.’ Has it now emerged? And do you see Global Fund as part of it? 

Definitely there is a new and growing feminist philanthropy movement which has amplified women’s voices around the world. During this decade, we have seen more individual support for women and girls. We’ve also seen governments, corporations and communities stepping up their commitment, suggesting increased investment in women and girls. Increased investment has delivered more programmes and more visibility. At the same time, much more funding and political will is needed to enforce gender equality. The causes important to women are still underfunded, which is why we at Global Fund for Women support women organizing so their collective voice can be heard.

A good portion of the funding is directed towards girls’ education programmes and microfinance for small business. Both are important and require ongoing funding. However, if the systems around those kinds of programmes don’t shift significantly, millions of women and girls will fall through the cracks or be left out altogether. So it is of equal importance to create strategies supporting women and girls’ leadership and skills. The global women’s movement, which includes Global Fund for Women, promotes philanthropy that invests in systemic social change which includes the ideas of women who experience exclusion and discrimination.

If you met someone who didn’t know anything about Global Fund for Women, how would you briefly describe to them what you are, what you do and what you stand for?

Global Fund for Women is a publicly supported foundation which invests in women-led organizations advancing the human rights of women and girls. Our grants aim to increase the visibility and influence of the work of women’s rights organizations as they build a strong and connected women’s rights movement. We do this by investing more deeply in approaches and models that are working well in one place and that have the potential to be replicated and scaled in others. This includes supporting coalitions of women’s rights organizations and influencing the approaches and decision-making of governments, the private sector and other social justice movements that profoundly affect the lives of women and girls. It also includes linking and collaborating with other organizations and social networks that can help the women’s movement to extend its influence and increase its impact.

For 25 years, the premise of the Global Fund for Women has been that women are powerful catalysts for change and that strong women’s organizations and movements are crucial to making the transformations that will allow women to realize their rights and participate in creating stronger and safer societies.

Continue reading here>

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Categories: Peace and Security

A greater role for philanthropy in development co-operation

Alliance Magazine - Thu, 02/06/2014 - 03:00

Heather Grady

On the east side of New York, the year has gotten off to a busy start at the UN with meetings of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Although I’ve participated in multilateral processes for more than a decade, my more recent engagement from a philanthropic perspective has generated new insights about the unmet potential of philanthropy in development co-operation. And here I’m referring to the thousands of institutions giving from endowments or doing private grant-making for activities in developing countries.

Indeed, philanthropy was a central pillar of international aid until the middle of the last century, through foundations like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford, and broader forms of South-South giving. That is now dwarfed by official development assistance, but the recognition of the importance of partnerships with non-governmental actors to effective development has grown since the Millennium Declaration of 2000. Though civil society has experienced a ‘hot and cold’ interaction, there are watershed moments, like the groundswell of input to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda. And engagement with the private sector is expanding, a significant point being the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) in June 2012, where I witnessed a huge number of businesses finally realising that their co-operation is integral to solving social and environmental challenges.

The OECD, UNDP and the UN more broadly have all expanded their attention to partnerships, but philanthropy is latest to – and still least present at – the table. In a series of meetings in 2013, the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, European Foundation Center, global WINGS network, and others explored ways to ensure that philanthropy engages more often, and more effectively, with official aid and development processes.

Progress on bringing philanthropic institutions into development cooperation processes has been uneven, for a few reasons. First, most foundations – and even more so emergent individual philanthropists – do not want to be constrained by bureaucracy and negotiation. Those who have large pools of capital or endowments at their disposal can be bold in vision, demanding in expectation, and nimble in action. Second, many foundations give preeminence to the role of their grantees, supporting their diverse voices to influence policy, practice and public awareness – and view their own participation as secondary. And finally, while UN development discussions are concentrated in New York, philanthropy is dispersed worldwide, with a growing proportion on the West Coast of the US and in fast-growing economies like India, China and Nigeria. So if philanthropy is to become more engaged, collaboration must be responsive to this context.

The effort will be worthwhile. Philanthropic resources can be a crucial complement to official resources in at least two ways. These funds represent “patient” capital – supporting non-profit and government grantees to implement both tested and new approaches over a long period, despite changes in government administrations and political parties. Notably, long-term foundation support in the field of health has enabled enormous strides, from specific interventions to creating new institutions and alliances. These funds also represent risk capital – funding innovative approaches and pilot projects where possible failure is a given. Philanthropy’s often entrepreneurial approach to social enterprise, job creation, technology and building networks can be a real value-add to more traditional development aid.

In some ways the planning for future development co-operation and aid effectiveness is set. We reference guiding documents (think Busan, Accra and Paris) in ways that may leave out those who haven’t yet come into the tent. A stream of meetings to debate bracketed text has been scheduled. But there is a sense of opportunity around new and deeper partnerships as the post-2015 goals and architecture are crafted. For example, the interlinking of social, environmental and economic goals will inevitably require expanded interaction between different disciplines and groups – like environmental and human rights groups, or youth campaigners and development economists – and multi-themed philanthropies can play a role to support this. Different approaches to possible new goals, like a place-based goal for urban areas, will be facilitated by a new constellation of actors working toward shared objectives and developing new indicators – and philanthropy can provide a neutral space to explore such approaches. At a recent event hosted by the Ford Foundation, at the end of a long day of official meetings, government representatives lauded the rare and welcome opportunity to delve into issues less formally.

The urgency of tackling enduring challenges like inequality, poverty and climate change impacts is growing, and the stakes are high to get things right. We will need to go beyond existing partnerships to a widening circle and new coalitions for action. But it must be recognised that the modus operandi of philanthropy, like business, differs from governments. This sector won’t wait while governments argue over bracketed text and hold debates on the finer points of goal-setting. They may share the goals, but not the patience for process. Nevertheless, greater engagement of philanthropy will bring lasting benefits and impact to the people on whose behalf we work. These different sectors should look for common ground, and tackle the structural and practical impediments to progress together, making the boldest commitments they can and then demonstrating concerted action to achieve them.

Heather Grady, is a consultant to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and others on engagement in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

This post was first featured on the Global Partnership’s Effective Development Co-operation Blog

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Categories: Peace and Security

Meet He Daofeng of the China Foundation Center, another of this year’s Olga Prize finalists

Alliance Magazine - Wed, 02/05/2014 - 03:00

He Daofeng

At CFPA, a former GONGO (government organized non-governmental organization), his introduction of business management methods has had spectacular results: its annual revenue has grown from US$2 million in 1997 to more than US$87 million in 2013; the number of beneficiaries has also risen, from 80,000 in 1997 to more than 1.85 million today.

CFPA is the first Chinese foundation to build cross-border, people-to-people relationships in Africa, where it has helped build community-based hospitals. It has also provided humanitarian aid to disaster-stricken Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia. It works with billionaires such as Cao Dewang, founder of the Fuyao Group, which manufactures glass for cars, who made a donation of US$33 million to CFPA to support drought relief in south-west China.

Early this year, Mr He was instrumental in bringing a group of experts to help the provincial government of Yunnan to develop the first local charity law. This has led to a commitment by the provincial government to withdraw from fundraising and allow philanthropic money to support independent and robust civil society organizations.

In his role at the China Foundation Center, Mr He initiated the Self-Regulation Alliance for Chinese Foundations; he was elected chair in August 2013. The 42 private and public foundations involved in the Alliance have pledged to disclose all information about donations received and grants made.

He Daofeng has also promoted media coverage of philanthropy, such as the story of a 90-year-old man who donated his savings to allow 100 students to finish high school. Finally, Mr He and his foundation are working with the World Food Programme and Tencent online donation platform to support a programme to provide rice for poor children in Cambodia.

He Daofeng’s work has been pivotal in helping to transform Chinese philanthropy into a more integral part of China’s social life, serving more effectively the needs of its beneficiaries.

[In his own words]
I was a farmer for many years, so I understood the plight of poor farmers. I was also a researcher looking at China’s rural reform in the 1980s and I saw that social reform was needed to underpin economic reform. After Tiananmen Square, I thought that it would be useless to push for political reform. Rather, we should promote philanthropy and cultivate social self-governance, the civil society spirit and citizen obligation. So social change was the industry sector I chose at that time.

Frankly, I don’t think I have had any major achievements, but I could say that I was the first volunteer leader of a GONGO that became a fully independent foundation, and this is an example for other GONGOs that want to go the same way. It was very difficult because we were breaking new ground. If I didn’t tread carefully, I felt it would incur the hostility of many parties, provoke a crisis for the whole sector, and maybe even put us in physical danger.

The next task is to guide CFPA to being a fully international foundation. We need more foundations on to the international stage because it will help the people of China to become more outward-looking.

I also want to promote more collaboration among Chinese foundations through the China Foundation Center and greater democratic self-governance – an imperative for Chinese society generally. CFPA also started a microfinance enterprise 18 years ago, which made small loans worth US$300 million to 180,000 rural women in 2013. Our goal is to raise that figure to a million women over the next five years. The problem is that I’m too old to do all of these things!

Chinese philanthropy needs two main things: first, legislation to encourage more GONGOs to become independent charities, like CFPA. Second, philanthropy needs to be modernized. We need legislation to create a more equal market environment. This will require the education and involvement of the younger generation in philanthropy, more people giving and more people working in the sector. It needs a great effort by one whole generation.

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Civil society developments in China

Alliance Magazine - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 03:00

Karla Simon

January was a huge month for civil society developments in China and many of them are noteworthy. They involved a variety of issues, including more provinces adopting the direct registration regime, and the recognition by MCA that it cannot manage to oversee all the new directly registered organizations on its own.  But a solution to the problem has been found, and it is a typically Chinese one – outsource the work to outside agencies.

Results of direct registration – problems it causes for MCA and the solution
Wang Jianjun, Director General of the Bureau of CSO Registration and Management (the Bureau) in the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), made a major speech in early January.  He said that there are fewer than 3,300 civil affairs officials nationwide, while the number of registered NPOs reached 511,000 by the end of the third quarter of 2013. Wang further said that the supervisory task for the Bureau has become much heavier now that the central government has decided to allow four types of CSOs — industrial associations, charities, community services organizations, and organizations dedicated to the promotion of technology — to directly register with civil affairs departments.

Accordingly, the Bureau has entered into an agreement with Shanghai Jiaotong University to set up a research center on “third sector organizations.”  Concurrently Wang Jianjun and officials from the university announced that the Social Sciences Academic Press also released its annual Report on Social Organizations’ Evaluation in China (2013). The research for this report was jointly conducted by the Bureau, the Center for Third Sector Organizations of Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The report revealed, among other things, that about 12 of 63 surveyed foundations had failed to complete sound financial reports and that many CSOs lack trained talent.

Moving forward with direct registration
As in previous months, MCA announced that several provinces had advanced their agenda to allow direct registration to proceed.  This happened in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Direct registration for the limited scope of 4 types of CSOs has been piloted in 26 provinces and five self-governing municipalities, which has enabled more than 19,000 CSOs to register directly with the civil affairs departments, abandoning pre-examination and approval by other regulators.

In addition, Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo visited the “social organization registration hall” across the street from the Ministry. He urged the staff to learn more about the feasibility of web-site consultations and release the telephone number for daily counseling. He suggested they must listen carefully to people’s opinions and suggestions.

The 2014 reform agenda
While not necessarily path breaking, MCA has announced the reform agenda for CSOs in 2014.  It covers a lot of the same ground as items discussed in the blog I wrote about the Third Plenum. On the other hand, the new national regulations on direct registration will probably not be out until April – they were pushed back because of the priority of the social security legislation. 

Fourth Annual Charity Conference
This was held in Beijing on January 17 and 18.  It was very well attended and many speeches were given. The one by Minister Li Liguo was perhaps the most significant.  Minister Li said that the charity law is on the five-year plan of the NPC, but in the meantime several provinces or self-governing municipalities are moving forward with regulations for charity organizations. These include, in addition to Shenzhen, Fujian and Shaanxi. He also discussed MCA’s plans for strengthening charity institutions and charitable giving. For a rough English translation, read here.

The meeting also launched the initiative “Eight hours of voluntary service for EVERYONE.”  This calls on all residents in China to join the ranks of volunteer service and contribute in this manner to society.

Foundation meeting – on the proposed regulations
An important meeting was held in Beijing on January 23-24, where reforms of the foundation regulations were discussed. 50 foundation leaders from directly registered foundations and a number of staff members of MCA attended the meeting. It was chaired by DG Wang Jianjun.

China Charity News
Launched by the China Charity Federation, this new service gives the reader access to many important charity projects throughout China.

“Charity Supermarket” initiative announced
MCA recently issued an Opinion “on the strengthening and building of innovative charity supermarkets.” This requires civil affairs departments at all levels to promote the charity supermarkets, and to actively respond to elevating their weak capacity, lowering their high operating costs, and increasing their self-management capacity.  MCA believes that such an initiative will improve social services for the public, especially for poor people.

Addenda:

Third Plenum

The English translation of the Third Plenum, concluding document was not available in time for my December post, but it is now and this is what it says:
48. Kindling the vigor of social organizations. We will correctly handle the relationship between the government and society, intensify efforts to separate government administration and social organizations, encourage the social organizations to clarify their rights and obligations, and enforce self-management and play their role in accordance with the law. Social organizations should be commissioned to provide public services that they are apt to supply and tackle matters that they are able to tackle. We will support and develop volunteer service organizations. We will achieve a true disconnection of trade associations and chambers of commerce from administrative departments, prioritize fostering and development of such social organizations as trade associations and chambers of commerce, scientific and technological associations, charity and philanthropic organizations, and urban and rural community service organizations. These organizations can directly apply for registration in accordance with the law when they are established. We will strengthen the management of social organizations and foreign NGOs in China, and guide them to carry out their activities in accordance with the law.

New Citizens’ Movement
With the conviction and sentencing of Xu Zhiyong on January 26, 2014, it seems that efforts to submerge this group will continue.  Others are now on trial and there has been at least one guilty plea.
What this means in the long term for civil society in China remains to be seen.  But it seems clear that Xu’s sentence of 4 years is designed to send a message to all groups that threaten the party-state because of their organizational capabilities.

Karla W Simon (西 门 雅) is chairperson of ICCSL

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Categories: Peace and Security

Meet Itir Erhart and I Renay Onur of Adım Adım (Step by Step), Turkey, joint nominees for this year’s Olga Prize

Alliance Magazine - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 03:00

Itir Erhart

Adim Adim (Step by Step) was founded by Itir Erhart, an assistant professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, and social entrepreneur I Renay Onur in 2007. It raises money through sporting events, an idea that was unknown in Turkey at the time of its founding.



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Its various activities are helping to increase recognition of the value of philanthropy in Turkey. Itir Erhart and I Renay Onur have been singled out by the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV) for its programme on Philanthropy Infrastructure Development in Turkey as examples of people who are making a significant difference in the community.

Renay Onur

 

In their own words…

Itir  I started running and fundraising at the same time while I was a PhD student in Chicago. I ran the Chicago marathon and raised some money by doing it. I wanted to do the same thing when I came back to Istanbul, but I had no idea where to begin. I started looking round for running groups, then I came across a newspaper article about Renay, who was the first to do charity running in Istanbul.

 

Renay  I took up running after university, just in parks and in the streets. Eight years ago, I decided to enter the Istanbul marathon. A friend told me that her husband had raised money by running the London marathon and said, ‘why don’t you do it as a charity run?’ As a person who is always exploring doing new things, it opened my eyes and I decided to do my first proper race as a charity run. Then I met Itir and here we are.

 

Itir  We started with people we knew in the running group. It was more difficult to convince others, but we entered 48 people in a race in Antalya, all wearing t-shirts advertising the group, and people saw it was possible to raise money by running in Turkey.

 

Renay  I would like to single out two related achievements: first, that we are working with the most prestigious NGOs in Turkey and, second, that the contributions we help raise are 25-30 per cent of the overall donations to those groups.

 

Itir  I’m amazed at the way it has grown. Now, there are thousands of people involved who don’t know us, the founders. On the other hand, despite our success, raising money for charity through sporting events does not seem obvious or normal to most Turks. I still sometimes have to go back to square one in explaining the idea to people I meet.

 

Renay  One difficulty we’ve had is moving to a web platform. We’ve made two attempts in the last two years, but both have failed because we were working through volunteers and other commitments led them to drop out.

 

Itir  That’s our next step – to create a web platform and automated systems. At the moment, we do everything manually.

 

Renay  There are only 10 to 20 who are quite involved, and at the moment we are trying to increase the number of dedicated and engaged volunteers. We need to get to a position where Adim Adim can go on successfully even if we’re not involved.

 

Itir  There’s also the challenge that, as the group gets bigger, there are some who want to politicize Adim Adim. Our strength has been that we work on issues that concern everyone. We are inclusive and we need to keep it that way.

 

Renay  The difficulty for philanthropy in Turkey generally is still that the culture of giving is quite traditional. People want to give to people they know and to see immediate results. It’s still a challenge to get people to support an organization and a project that is remote from them.

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Meet Natalya Kaminarskaya of the Russian Donors Forum, another of this year’s Olga Prize finalists

Alliance Magazine - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 03:00



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Natalya Kaminarskaya is executive director of the Russian Donors Forum, a coalition of donor organizations that brings together leading Russian and outside foundations and companies working in Russia. Under her leadership, the Forum has become an instrument for improving and extending the activities of Russian donors, highly respected both in Russia and internationally. It is helping to make Russian grantmakers’ practice more professional, more strategically oriented, better known and regarded. In a country where philanthropy is developing and where little infrastructure exists, its role is invaluable, both in supporting Russian donors and in serving as a conduit for the experience of countries where philanthropy is more established.

One of the most important roles Natalia and the Forum play is building awareness about foundations’ work in Russia, advocating for a better legal environment for giving, and promoting transparency and information sharing by donor organizations. One of the key achievements of the Donors Forum was building a community of endowed foundations in Russia. This began with advocating for an endowment law and continues through supporting a peer exchange platform and regular training events.

As well as working tirelessly to promote more and better philanthropy in Russia, Natalya was a driving force in the ‘Emerging Societies, Emerging Philanthropies’ Forum held in Peterhof, Russia last year.

In her own words…

‘I was working for CAF Russia when the new donors’ forum was launched. I was very enthusiastic about community foundations and thought the forum would be a good way to promote and support the model in Russia. I remember when I went to be interviewed for the coordinator’s job, I spent most of the time trying to convince the interviewers how important it was to support community foundations in Russia.

I think the fact that the Russian Donors Forum exists at all is a major achievement. It was built from scratch by foreign donors, but its members are now mainly Russian foundations and companies and it has become a valuable part of the country’s philanthropic infrastructure.

I thought when we started that the number of members would grow much more quickly than it has done. We had the good examples set by Potanin and Zimin, who were following the best standards set internationally, but not many followed suit. Compared to other countries, there are fewer foundations here. They are increasing but they are not necessarily in the public eye, so few people know about them.

We have just done our own internal strategic plan, and the main thing we identified was a need to carry out a major public relations campaign to publicize foundation activities and make them more widely understood. At the moment, philanthropy is seen as something that is done voluntarily and doesn’t need any infrastructure. We want to show how important infrastructure is and how foundations are the core of organized philanthropy, so we are going to hold a special European foundation day to promote them.

There are many challenges. In terms of the Forum, I have to combine the role of leader of the association and servant of the members. It’s easy when you have a well-established membership which comes up with great ideas and you work in synergy. But that’s not always the case. The personnel of foundations changes and foundations leave. Sometimes it seems you’re continually starting again. I would like the members to come up with a clearer vision of what the network can do for them.

There is still not enough information about philanthropy in Russia – data on things like the number of foundations or the number of donations is expensive and unreliable. But I would say that trust is still the number one issue. With the foreign agents’ law last year, philanthropic infrastructure is under attack. Neither the Russian public nor the government understand its importance and they don’t trust non-profits. As a result, corporate donors establish their own projects rather than working with non-profits, so everyone is starting from scratch, trying to do something that is already being done. Getting organizations to work together is a huge challenge both for the Forum and for Russian philanthropy.

Philanthropy is increasing; more people are doing it and see it as fun and satisfying. But we need more resources, more organizations and more infrastructure to support and encourage them. And above all we need more enthusiastic leaders.’

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Too Far, Too Fast: Sochi, Tourism and Conflict in the Caucasus

The recent bombings in the south of Russia could prove a precursor to more violence and instability in the Caucasus if Moscow does not abandon repression for political dialogue.

Achieving social change: what role for grantmaking?

Alliance Magazine - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 03:00



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Increasingly, grantmaking is being dismissed as a serious strategy for achieving social change, with the real business being done by venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, and most recently catalytic philanthropy.

As a prelude to the March 2014 issue of Alliance magazine this webinar roundtable brought together proponents/practitioners of different approaches to philanthropy to look at grantmaking as a strategy for achieving social change – not as the strategy, the truth, but as one of a number of approaches that funders can use.

The discussion was moderated by Barry Knight and Jenny Hodgson, guest editors for the ‘Grantmaking for social change’ Alliance special feature to be published on 1 March.

The following took part:

  • Kathleen Cravero, Oak Foundation, Switzerland
  • Stephen Heintz, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, US
  • Avila Kilmurray, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, UK
  • Rana Kotan, Sabanci Foundation, Turkey
  • Mark Kramer, FSG, US

For more information about the March 2014 issue of Alliance magazine or to order a copy please email us at alliance@alliancemagazine.org

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Le Mali après Serval : éviter la rechute

L’opération Serval, déclenchée en janvier 2013, a eu un impact décisif au Mali. Alors que ce pays était au bord de l’implosion, l’intervention française lui a permis de retrouver son intégrité territoriale. L’État malien a également franchi une série d’étapes importantes avec le retour à l’ordre institutionnel et le renforcement d’un exécutif longtemps intérimaire.

Pilotlight: New award supports charities across North East

Alliance Magazine - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 03:00

Fiona Halton

For over half a century the Garfield Weston Foundation has been donating money to charities across the UK, indeed last year it gave away nearly £50 million. But recently its director, Philippa Charles, revealed that applications from charities were down, at a time when those same charities were most in need of funds. And, applications from charities in the North East were down by a lot, almost 40%. Philippa and the Weston family wanted to take action: how best could they help those charities find the funds they needed? The Weston Charity Awards, that are being launched today, are the result of many conversations between Pilotlight and the foundation team over the last few months.

The awards will see charities from across the North East, working in the areas of youth, welfare and community, given the chance to access not only funding but a team of business mentors, enabling them to grow and reach more people as a result.

So why did we feel the need to act?

Charities in the North East are seeing an increasing demand for their services. PWC’s regional misery map of the recession from 2011 found the North East and Wales to be hardest hit. The North East has suffered the greatest increases in household stress, with 200,000 children in the region now living in poverty (Save the Children Fund – SCF).

The research Garfield Weston commissioned, and that we are revealing today, shows nearly two fifths of charities in the North East have seen their income decrease. In no small part due to 64% of them experiencing government cuts. At the same time nearly 60% are seeing an increase in demand for their services.

So why are charities not applying for grants?

The research by the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School shows that many charities, over 40% in fact, don’t feel they have enough staff time to make the most of funding opportunities and have fewer resources. Over 85% of charities acknowledged there was a current need to strengthen fundraising and income generation.

In a prophetic paper published as the recession took hold PWC concluded: ‘All experience says that recessions can be viewed as similar to “pit stops” in a grand prix, with those organisations using the time to reassess their position emerging stronger and those that don’t at risk of falling behind.’

At Pilotlight we offer just such a pit stop: charities coached by a team of four top business people over a year to review their operations and plan ahead.

So what are the awards aiming to do?

  • First, we are finding charities that stand out for the difference they make to the North East and we’ll help them make that pit stop that PWC talked about. Pilotlight will put charity directors together with a team of four top business people over a year. They will coach the Weston Award charities in reviewing their operations and plan ahead.
  • Second, with that pit stop will come a grant of unrestricted funding, given as the charity director knows their future plans and priorities.
  • Finally, we will celebrate the charities’ work as they realise how much they can achieve. Confidence is a word that comes out again and again from making the pit stop with Pilotlight. It is all about coaching outstanding people in the sector and seeing them take flight.

What interests us at Pilotlight is that the growth we monitor in organisations we coach, comes not just in year one but also steadily in years after that, despite the recession. For example, after working with Pilotlight’s team of business mentors, Baillieston Community Care in Glasgow has gone on to build a new facility, almost double the number of home support workers and win a bronze Investors in People award. The chief executive, David Reilly said:

“The Pilotlighters backed me up and reassured me that I was doing a good job and said I embraced everything they suggested. It gave me more confidence in what I was doing every day as chief executive.”

We believe that this new award will prompt that same growth for many charities in the North East.

One of the interesting lessons from Baillieston is that they invested in bringing in new income. Many charities in the North East have told us they do not have the time and resource to do this. They know it needs to happen but they are often blinded in the headlights. They are not alone.

The Weston Charity Awards are about developing that extraordinary strength in the face of adversity. By making this pitstop with Pilotlight, we hope more charities will apply for funding, confident in their ability to provide life-changing services to more people in their community.
Fiona Halton is chair of the Pilotlight Foundation.







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Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Thailand on the Brink

Thailand is a divided nation. This can be easily observed daily on the streets of Bangkok. The challenge is that the division is profound and will not easily be mended.

Côte d’Ivoire’s Great West: Key to Reconciliation

Working to reduce tensions in western Côte d’Ivoire, a flashpoint for ethnic, political and economic rivalries, is imperative to ensure lasting stability and pave the way for national reconciliation.

Meet Rūta Dimanta, Foundation ‘Ziedot’, Latvia, another of this year’s Olga Prize finalists

Alliance Magazine - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 03:00



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In 2003, Rūta Dimanta set up Foundation ‘Ziedot’ (donate),Latvia’s first internet giving portal . She is now chair of the board . In the ten years since it began, 12 million Lats (over €17 million) have been raised through ziedot.lv, almost entirely from indigenous sources – companies, individuals and local foundations. Prior to this, there was little local tradition of philanthropy and the Latvian NGO sector relied primarily on international donors. Under Rūta ‘s leadership, the Ziedot Foundation laid the groundwork for corporate and individual philanthropy in Latvia.

Rūta has worked with a number of businesses on setting up corporate foundations and charitable programmes. The Ziedot Foundation has also launched programmes for collecting donations of used clothes, shoes, household goods and food; it currently has 1,599 donation boxes all over Latvia for various charity causes. Perhaps its most striking initiative was setting up a food bank and a massive campaign ‘For a hunger-free Latvia’ (Paēdušai Latvia) at the height of the economic crisis in 2009. During the initial campaign, over 47,000 food parcels (over 768 tons of  food) were donated to families whose breadwinners had recently become unemployed.

No doubt one of the reasons for Ziedot’s success it that it has managed to enlist the support of the media. Throughout the Paēdušai Latvia campaign, for instance, over €1.5 million of free media advertisement was obtained.

Before she set up the Ziedot Foundation, Rūta Dimanta was adviser to the Latvian community foundation movement and deputy director of the Riga NGO Centre.

In her own words …

‘I had come across the work of NGOs when I was a student in the 1990s and I later worked for the State Bureau of Human Rights and the NGO support centre, so I had already had experience of working with NGOs when I created Ziedot.lv. And I’d had a wonderful teacher, Olga Alexeeva. I first met her when I was working for the NGO support centre. She was a consultant for the creation of Latvian community foundations, and she knew how to captivate, persuade and inspire.

 

Creating the Ziedot Foundation from scratch wasn’t easy, because there was practically no tradition of charity in Latvia, and trust in charity organizations was low. But in the 10 years that Ziedot.lv has been active, attitudes have changed, and donating to support common goals has become commonplace. People have begun to understand that giving can help solve some of the problems we face. The Ziedot Foundation has become the biggest charity organization in the country, collaborating with both central and local government as well as with other NGOs. Most of the €18 million we have raised has come from local people. That’s a considerable figure for a country with only 2 million inhabitants.

 

Our next step is a very immediate one: last November in Riga, the roof of a supermarket caved in and 54 people died. Ziedot.lv has been providing help and gathering donations. In two weeks €1.4 million was raised locally and internationally. Donations came from 20 countries.  The next step is to turn that money into purposeful help.

Many challenges remain, of course. One is leadership in situations where no one is sure how to act. At Ziedot, we tried to set an example during the recession, launching a campaign to solve the country’s food crisis. We got together voluntary helpers, an advertising agency, one of the biggest food shop chains in the country and TV to address people and companies. And it worked! Olga Alexeeva taught me that it is the responsibility of a charity to see the true needs of a society and to convince donors to help meet those needs.

Still, it’s disappointing that in the age of space flight and the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, we rely on philanthropy to meet basic human needs.’

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

Sudan’s Spreading Conflict (III): The Limits of Darfur’s Peace Process

If Darfur is to have durable peace, all parties to the country’s multiple conflicts need to develop a more holistic means of addressing both local conflicts and nationwide grievances.

Meet Larisa Avrorina of CAF Russia, another of this year’s Olga Prize finalists

Alliance Magazine - Mon, 01/27/2014 - 03:00

Larisa Avrorina began working in the NGO sector in the mid-1990s, when she worked on various environmental protection projects. Since 2003, she has been the manager of CAF Russia ’s community foundations development programme. She identifies and supports local community leaders who are creating community foundations, which is critical to the survival of new initiatives. She encourages local authorities, business and NGOs to get involved in community foundation activities, facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experience among community foundations both in Russia and beyond, tracking new developments internationally and relaying them to Russian community foundations. As an example, she recently proposed the adaptation by Russian community foundations of the ‘Vital Signs’ approach originated in Canada.

There are now over 40 community foundations in Russia and the number is growing. Most of them were established and maintained through the support and assistance of Larisa Avrorina. In a country like Russia where attitudes to philanthropy and the non-profit sector are ambiguous, the creation of a nationwide network of local philanthropic institutions has been of incalculable value in encouraging philanthropy. Community foundations are becoming an important – in some cases the only – source  of financial and technical support for local civic initiatives, and a critical factor in civil society development in Russia.

The community foundation concept was brought from abroad and promoted in Russia by Olga Alexeeva. In a very real sense, therefore, Larisa Avrorina is continuing the work that Olga began. She is also a member of the Working Group of the Russian School of Grant Managers and a member of the International Program Evaluation Network.

In her own words…

I have been working at CAF Russia since 2001. It was Olga Alexeeva, who always supported the community foundation concept, who got me involved in community foundation development in Russia and she and I started to look at community foundations as a model for rural areas, not just big cities with a lot of resources.

I think my main challenge has been to understand and to persuade the others that philanthropy is possible without large investment; to make people believe that a community foundation can work successfully in their area, bringing new leaders to the community, developing new resources and bridging social gaps. The model has been adapted for Russia and is working in different environments and communities – 40 per cent of Russia’s community foundations are in rural areas.

This I believe is our main achievement: community foundations have proved to be the best model for local philanthropy development and have contributed to local leadership development. Almost 90 per cent of Russian community foundations provide support to grassroots initiatives, which almost nobody else does. Community foundation staff and people who take part in grant competitions held by community foundations gradually become leaders in their communities.

I feel most disappointed when a community foundation stops developing or even shuts down, which happens for different reasons. One of these is the new so-called law on foreign agents which limits the outlook and opportunities for cooperation of Russian community foundations with international organizations. In fact, I see the main threat both for community foundations and for the Russian NGO sector as a whole as its relations with the government. For instance, local authorities often try to use community foundations to deal with the issues they do not have the resources for. To work with the state but to remain the community foundation for your particular community, not for the state or business, is the biggest challenge all Russian community foundations face today.

Meanwhile, we have completed the adaptation stage. At first, community foundations were established with the support of international foundations and large companies, but today they can emerge without external support and they are resource centres for NGO support and development. In short, community foundations in Russia are not just a copy of their western counterparts. The next stage is dissemination and replication of the best practices in Russia.

For more information

www.cafrussia.ru

Latest from Alliance is the blog of Alliance, the leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide. Subscribe to Alliance magazine here.

Categories: Peace and Security

¿Paramilitares en México?

El surgimiento de múltiples grupos de autodefensa que afirman luchar contra los carteles del narcotráfico en Michoacán, México, agrega más combustible a la violencia en este país. Sin embargo, aunque estos grupos tengan elementos similares a las originales autodefensas colombianas –que evolucionaron hacia el sangriento fenómeno paramilitar– hay también diferencias sustanciales entre ambos casos.

CNA's Independent Assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces

CFR.org - International Peace and Security - Fri, 01/24/2014 - 07:15

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act required an independent assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces. The Department of Defense selected the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), whose Center for Strategic Studies provided this report on January 24, 2014.