The Alliance Breakfast Club for the March special feature on philanthropy in emerging market countries featured a formidable female panel of experts from many different corners of the globe. Guest editor Maria Chertok, Executive Director of CAF Russia, was joined by Meenakshi Batra, Director of CAF India, Paula Fabiana, Executive Director of the Institute for the Development of Social Investment (IDIS) in Brazil, Maya Prabhu, Managing Director of Coutts Institute and Colleen du Toit, Director of CAF Southern Africa.
The event began with panellists outlining the main trends in philanthropy in the regions in which they work. Videos of the full presentations from each speaker can be found on our social media, but we have included just a few points from each below.
Chertok spoke of the implications of the Russian government’s campaign against foreign donors for NGOs within the country and the need to overcome the division between philanthropy and civil society that currently exists. Fabiani also referenced government regulation when she said that Brazil is only 83rd in the world in terms of giving, despite being the 11th country in terms of millionaires. Batra and du Toit both mentioned that many international donors are leaving their countries; Batra says that in India international funding has dried up for a number of reasons, including an increasing view that India’s rich should be giving for their own country’s development. Batra also touched on the shift in giving trends in India as philanthropy gains increasing interest among young people, with methods such as payroll giving becoming popular. Prabhu outlined some of the motivations among her clients for increasing their giving and the emergence of more strategic approaches.
Despite the fact that the discussion demonstrated how philanthropy is at different stages of development around the globe, there were also a number of striking commonalities. One of the most interesting points in the discussion was when each panellist stated what they think is the key driver for the development of philanthropy in their country and what is the main barrier. Interestingly, citizenship and an awareness of social need were said by all to be the main motivation for giving. Fabiani also mentioned a wish among Brazilian philanthropists to make their wealth have greater significance, while Batra mentioned that many in India see improved education, health and livelihoods as a way to drive economic growth.
When considering what hinders the growth of philanthropy, both du Toit and Chertok cited a lack of trust as the main barrier to philanthropy in South Africa and in Russia. Fabiani said that the legal framework in Brazil, with its lack of tax incentives, did not encourage people to make donations. Batra’s response, which was backed up by Prabhu’s experiences with clients, was that many donors are concerned about sustainability and what impact their money is achieving.
This wish for stronger NGO regulation and accountability in India is the result of increased engagement from Indian donors with the causes they support. Prabhu said that the UK is viewed as an attractive place to establish foundations because of regulations which create a level of transparency that is not yet available in many emerging market countries. The legal framework in these regions has not kept pace with growth of philanthropy, leading many to look overseas for independence and stability when structuring their giving. It was noted that the lack of tax incentives for giving in both Russia and Brazil is also a clear reason why philanthropists from these countries may work through offshore accounts.
As well as legal regulations, there are also social and political considerations which may affect how philanthropists give in these regions. Funding for social justice was said to be challenging in many countries and is one area which often relies heavily on donations from overseas. All panellists indicated that most donors would be wary of funding controversial causes. With the heightened political risks in Russia, Chertok said that the only hope for radical funding from within the country is crowdfunding. Supporting social justice programmes is one of a number of ways in which foreign donors can make an impact in these regions.
There was a consensus among panellists that one of the best ways that those from outside the country can support regions where philanthropy is still emerging is by developing infrastructure and capacity. Fabiani said that foreign funding which develops partnerships so that Brazilian organizations can learn from more established programmes would be of great benefit. Bringing in evolved impact evaluation and encouraging a long-term vision could help emerging philanthropists become more effective. In areas where foreign aid is reducing, Chertok too stressed the need to support philanthropy infrastructure, emphasizing that funding to Russia is so difficult that it has to be worth it. Batra emphasized that foreign donors should exit strategically, while du Toit said that progressive international donors in South Africa are putting mechanisms in place to continue work when they leave.
However, despite the challenges of developing supportive legal frameworks and increasing the capacity of organizations within these countries, philanthropy is much in evidence. Chertok said that Russia is a classic example of how much people can give out of pure generosity, while countries such as Brazil and South Africa have a strong tradition of community giving. The desire to address social needs is much in evidence, but there is still work to be done in terms of increasing trust and developing effective regulation.
This event was held following the publication of a special feature on philanthropy in emerging market economies in the March 2013 issue of Alliance magazine, which also includes further facts about philanthropy in these countries.
Those interested in this topic may also wish to attend the Future World Giving event held by Charities Aid Foundation on 24 April 2013 in London. This will ask the question: How can governments help to build public trust in charitable giving? Further information can be found at www.cafonline.org/events/for-donors/government-build-trust-giving.aspx.
The G8 Foreign Ministers released this joint statement on April 11, 2013, which outlines their commitments to addressing topics such as sexual violence in conflict, nonproliferation and disarmament in Iran and North Korea, and political reform in Burma.
Foreign ministers from the G8 nations declared "rape and other forms of serious sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes," violate the Geneva Conventions, and are a priority to address. Adopted on April 11, 2013, the declaration outlines how to investigate and prosecute rape and provide services for victims.
The Council on Foundations annual conference began its programme in Chicago with a packed pre-conference day of ‘Bold Ideas for Global Philanthropy’. Having attended CoF at least 20 times over the last 30 years, it was particularly refreshing to participate, along with about 150 other funders, in sessions dedicated to philanthropy outside the US. I commend John Harvey, Managing Director of Global Philanthropy at CoF, for his leadership and vision. In the three decades I’ve been involved, there have always been a small number of people, perhaps starting with Bill White of the Mott Foundation, urging US foundations to pay more attention to the rest of the world. I wonder to myself why it has taken so long to take hold?
Our day began with a chilling update on repressive legislation against civil society and foreign giving in parts of the world seemingly as diverse as Ethiopia, India and Russia. Joshua Mintz, General Counsel at the MacArthur Foundation, indicated that one of his major concerns right now is about ‘grantees at risk’ in Moscow, Mexico and Nigeria, and that MacArthur is exploring how to make funds available for immediate legal aid in these regions. Douglas Rutzen of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law explained that non-profit organizations in Russia which take donations of any type from outside their country must now register as ‘foreign agents’, which in Russian means the same as ‘spies’. Audience participants pointed out that US Treasury Guidelines can have a similarly adverse effect on funding to groups and individuals that have been designated as ‘terrorist’, whether or not they truly belong on the black lists. Some good news is that Treasury will soon be issuing new, potentially less draconian anti-terrorism guidelines. An excellent session. I only wish it hadn’t led the day, as I heard from more than a few participants that it had dissuaded them from international giving.
Five leading US thinkers and a Kenyan delivered inspiring, TED-like, presentations on bold ideas: challenges in a digital age for civil society (Lucy Bernholz); ways to overcome the lemming-like responses of foundations, especially around excessive measurement (Adele Simmons); about values being just as important as evidence, ‘Tell me what you measure and I’ll tell you what you are’ (Jennifer Lentfer, how-matters.org); data as the scaffolding for social change and wise philanthropy (Jacob Harold); social entrepreneurship and the leadership that already exists in marginalized communities (Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenburg); and human rights philanthropy (Daniel Lee). Sitting through them all without a break was a bit of an effort, but the last two were especially compelling and the information delivered in all substantive. The afternoon allowed participants to join break-out groups for deeper conversation with each of these thinkers.
The traditional evening dinner, which used to be the only venue for global grantmaking, had Dr Tomicah Tillemann, Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of State for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, as the keynote speaker. This new initiative was set up by Secretary Hillary Clinton prior to her departure and shows the increasing recognition in the US ‘Foreign Office’ and outside of USAID of the need to focus attention and resources on what we in the US call the non-profit sector and philanthropy. He explained that while diplomacy involves state to state conversations, it’s clear that lasting change will not occur without the involvement of civil society. While not explicitly stated, it seems that the ‘Sequester’ is also forcing US government agencies to look for support from foundations.
The next morning I learned more about ‘The Brazilian Way: Perspectives on Social Investment’, organized by GIFE, the equivalent of CoF (but different) in Brazil. GIFE’s 140 members, many of them corporations, give away over US$2.4 billion annually, often through programmes they run themselves, and typically in conjunction with government, 80 per cent of it going to education. Philanthropy is not the same worldwide.
Moving from a gathering of 150 to 1,000 in the opening plenary was a bit of a shock, as was the presentation by three US mayors: Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Mitchell Landrieu of New Orleans. The CoF is always particularly adept at bringing in politicos for their perspectives. Because the session was moderated by Ellen Alberding of the Joyce Foundation, one of the few US funders to focus on the need for gun control even before the gun-related tragedies in the US of the last few years, I was surprised that the mayors focused on very traditional policing issues. I was not able to stay through the whole plenary, but a friend of mine, Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund in New York, spent the evening fuming about what he heard. Mayor Emanuel had proudly announced that Chicago was planning to introduce some of the same policing methods used in New York. I asked Hugh to elaborate in writing.
‘Broken Windows, or stop and frisk, may be coming to Chicago in the form of four P’s: prevention, policing, penalties and parenting. Based on our experience in NYC, the last sounds great, the other three should make Chicagoans and others very, very worried. Also known as bias based policing, in 2011, the New York Police Department made over 684,000 street stops as part their Broken Windows policing approach. In 90 percent of these stops, there was no arrest or summons whatsoever. Even when these stops turn into arrests, almost all are low-level and result when someone questions the rights of the police to stop them in the first place. The stops can also trigger severe consequences including job loss, eviction, and a loss of scholarship opportunities. Stop and frisk and other ‘broken windows’ policing aggressively targets low-income communities of color, young people, homeless people, LGBT people, people with disabilities, immigrants, and women. North Star Fund took the unprecedented step of becoming the fiscal sponsor of Communities United for Police Reform, which is a broad coalition led by community organizing and activist groups worked with legal advocates, researchers and media makers to challenge and reform the worst excesses of the discrimination based policies known as Broken Windows.’ Go to changethenypd.org to learn more.
I went to two great, more progressive, sessions, one on food security and the other on climate justice (also organized as part of a global philanthropy focus). An interesting comment was made by Jacques Bouche, apparently one of a handful of Europeans in attendance, about how European efforts and policy seemed to be missing from the conversation.
I just left a morning breakfast plenary asking why foundations don’t take more risk. The best question of three and a half long days…
Terry Odendahl is executive director of Global Greengrants Fund
thank you for your response.
With kind regards,
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 9:52 AM
To: preventing-conflict@googlegrou ps.com
Personally, I am, mostly on the qualitative side, as I have, for example, worked with The CEEAC/MARAC, as well as acting of the expert for the French evaluation of French intervention in fragile states,
I was chatting to a friend of mine in the gym the other day, taking a well-deserved water-cooler moment. He was complaining about spending so much time and money going to the gym, and that he was struggling to see results. If only his body could tell him he was on the right track, he joked, instead of having to endlessly look in the mirror waiting to see if what he had invested in was having any impact.
We concluded it would be a great help to our gym progress, and would help us achieve our beach bodies in no time. It was such a simple, obvious solution to the eternal problem: ‘Is what I am doing having the right impact, is it the most efficient, effective way to achieve my goals?’ How valuable would it be to get robust honest feedback on your performance, to be able to compare that feedback against others’, and to use it as the basis for improvement?
Well now, if you are a social investor at least, you can.
In 2010, seven leading social investors used a common survey to collect anonymous feedback from their 330 investees. The results have now been published in the Keystone Accountability report What Investees Think.
The report mines the anonymized data findings from the survey for the implications for the emerging field of impact investing as a whole. One headline identifies a significant opportunity to redress the gap in the existing field-level measurement, reporting and rating tools with systematic investee feedback.
As in the gym, this investee feedback seems simple and obvious, yet up to now has been somewhat lacking in the sector. While initiatives such as GIIRS and IRIS are useful, they omit this crucial element. The feedback is frank, accurate and – as the participating investors all testify in the report – effective in driving improvement. Creating an authentic and constructive discourse about the investor-investee relationship in this emerging field needs investee feedback, not just industry-agreed standards and ratings based on self-reported information.
The report highlights areas of strength and areas in need of improvement, and provides an insight into what effective impact investment looks like from the position of investees. For example, survey respondents reported that they don’t really know what their social and environmental results are. Similarly, they reported that they have no idea what investors do with the reports that they prepare for them, and note that investors do not provide sufficient resources or expertise to enable them to meet their reporting requirements.
The survey aims to address the following essential questions for investors:
Efficiency: How efficient are your operations?
Net value: What value do you add to investees beyond investment capital?
Learning: How well do you enable learning and improvement by your investees?
Credibility: How are you seen in terms of peer standing, responsiveness and professionalism?
Transparency: How open and complete are you in your communications with your investees?
Net effectiveness: Overall, how effective are you at enabling investee success?
Each participating investor received a confidential report that enabled it to see its feedback with benchmarks to the other six investors, who were anonymized. Their reports provided analyses and recommendations geared to their unique opportunities for improvement, and benchmarking their performance provided a much needed reality check to their impact measurement conversation. One investor commented that ‘we knew that the survey would be useful, but when we received preliminary results, we realized it was much more valuable than expected’.
In the end it doesn’t matter if you are in the gym or in the office ‒ merely having the right intent is not enough. If you are looking to raise the bar (no pun intended) in terms of your performance, you need to have honest feedback, and while unfortunately you may have to keep blind faith that what you do in the gym is going to work, there is no reason not to track your progress with invaluable investee input.
Keystone is now repeating the process, and the Impact Investment Survey 2013 is now open to subscription. Register by the end of May and you will have your benchmarked investee feedback by the end of August.
For more information on the What Investees Think report, or to discuss your participation in 2013 survey, please contact Kai Hopkins on email@example.com
Kai Hopkins is finance and operations manager at Keystone Accountability
Secretary of State John Kerry held this press conference after his trip to Israel on April 9, 2013. He discussed his meetings with Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and President Peres and speculation on the Arab Peace Initiative.
Brazil has experienced significant wealth growth in the last two decades, and has now reached the status of the 7th largest economy in the world, with the 11th largest number of millionaires (according to the World Wealth Report). A similar trend has also been observed in other BRICS countries. Brazilian philanthropy, however, has not followed this increase in wealth. The World Giving Index published by CAF in 2012 reveals that when it comes to donating money Brazil ranks only 68th among the 146 countries surveyed. Compared to other countries, Brazil has a long way to go in order to exploit its philanthropic potential to the fullest. Countries such as Australia, Canada and Chile occupy respectively the 2nd, 10th and 25th positions in the World Giving Index.
One aspect that inhibits the development of philanthropy in Brazil is the poor legal environment for donations. Brazil lacks a specific legislation for the institution of endowments and trusts. In that matter, some BRICS countries seem to be ahead: Indian laws allow the institution of endowments; Russia passed legislation in 2006 to regulate the establishment of endowments; in South Africa, the National Treasury is analyzing a proposal to create legislation that will incentivize donating to endowments. In Brazil, money donated to non-profit organizations gets taxed in the same way as money inherited by individuals. There are very few incentives in place to promote long-term philanthropy, which has led civil society to start debating the subject and demanding more.
Over recent months some important initiatives have spiced up this scenario: for example, a multidisciplinary study group, bringing together non-profit organizations with government representatives, academics, lawyers and donors, was formed to discuss and propose a specific legislation for establishing endowments in Brazil. Proposals built and discussed within the group have already been presented at a workshop promoted by the government. The event intended to map out and discuss concrete measures to foster philanthropy in the country. Besides that, two important publications – also aimed at promoting strategic philanthropy – were issued last year – one contains meaningful reflections about governance, while the other provides a thorough guide on how to create and manage an endowment in Brazil.
In this context, it is vital that the existing Brazilian philanthropic community realizes the importance of advocating for an enabling environment for philanthropy. How could Brazil learn from countries with a longer history of philanthropy? How could the experiences of other BRICS countries help Brazil in advancing and improving its legal system for philanthropy?
Paula Jancso Fabiani is executive director of IDIS (Institute for the Development of Social Investment) in Brazil, a member of CAF Global Alliance. This article is part of a series by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) written by the members of its Global Alliance.
Paula was one of a number of panellists at the recent event discussing the special feature on philanthropy in emerging market economies in the latest issue of Alliance magazine.
Linda Robinson writes that the upcoming anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death highlights the continued need for a "more comprehensive approach to special operations as part of U.S. national security policy."
Over the past 18 years, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has experienced ongoing conflict, with escalating sexual violence capturing the attention of people everywhere, including funders and the international media. During these cycles of conflict, rape has been used as a weapon of war on a massive scale and many initiatives have been set up over the years to assist women survivors. It is good to see efforts dealing with this situation, but more action is needed to tackle its underlying root causes.
Fonds pour les femmes Congolaises (FFC) is the first and only non-governmental Congolese women’s fund. We fund and mobilise women around the country to conduct advocacy for peace with key players, like the government and the international community. While sexual violence may be on the agenda, supporting women to access decision-making positions and to fight for peace has, to date, been under-prioritized by many actors interested in DRC’s issues.
We have seen efforts to bring about peace from both the international and national community; there have been numerous negotiations and agreements over the past years, including the recent peace negotiations in Kampala. Yet the number of women delegates at these meetings has been low or almost nonexistent, even though women have been the primary victims of these conflicts and thus are well placed to call for the restoration of peace.
Our work in funding grassroots women’s rights organisations has shown that there are women who fight and are bold enough to run for and be elected into formal decision-making positions such as local government. Unfortunately this ratio is low because these women often lack sponsors and many still need training to overcome the numerous obstacles on their path so that their voices get heard and their recommendations are acknowledged in, for instance, negotiation spaces.
At FFC, we believe it is important to provide women with the necessary tools to take up their rightful place in the political arena. Therefore, as well as direct grantmaking, we also provide civic education to political parties and encourage them to make their lists for election candidates comprise at least 30% women. We also encourage women’s rights organizations to promote peace in their communities by sensitizing young people and discussing the disadvantages of joining the rebellion and by creating an alliance with churches so that they can spread peace messages. For this purpose we train and fund organizations so that they can spread messages of peace, train other women candidates, and raise awareness in their communities about the importance of voting for women candidates during elections.
Nevertheless, many grassroots women’s organizations in the DRC are not able to raise the financial resources they need to do their work because they are not well trained in technical skills like fundraising, writing grant proposals and creating reports. This has led many organisations to work without sufficient means to cater to different women’s needs in their community. To meet this need, FFC provides capacity-building support to these organisations. For instance, we train organisations how to write reports and how to fundraise. We also give them financial support so that they can implement their planned activities. To date, of the 60 local organizations we have trained and funded over the past two years, 20% have been successful in raising funds from other donors.
Given that the DRC is a large country and we have a relatively small budget, we cannot fund all groups working on women’s rights. As such, we call upon other funders to invest in training for local women’s groups and assist them so that they can successfully implement their work, which is important for the sustainability of women’s rights efforts in the country and to reduce dependency on large international NGOs.
While there is international attention for the DRC, there is still little funding available to take successful local initiatives to scale. During the French summit in October 2012, FFC hosted 25 women from the eastern part of the DRC to come and talk about the violence they witnessed during these cycles of conflict. The women came to Kinshasa and met with representatives of various embassies, as well as the French president, François Holland. It was important for these women – many who have survived sexual violence themselves or witnessed other acts of violence – to speak up during the international French summit because many international actors were present, making it an opportunity not to be missed. Their stories made all the more real why peace needs to be restored. While this activity was a great success, we think it is important that on an international level the voices of women in the DRC are also heard and taken into consideration when making decisions that affect their lives. We see it as imperative that more funding goes towards enabling women to participate and advocate in international spaces, like the International Criminal Court, so that they can advocate for the restoration of peace in the DRC – in their own voices, with their own stories.
On the whole, we at FFC believe that women need to be empowered to access decision-making positions and to be able to effectively fight for the restoration of peace in our country. We are convinced that peace is a necessary condition for reducing sexual violence in our country and for enabling women to secure their human rights.
Nyota Babunga is fundraising and communications manager of the Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises (FFC), which was legally registered in May 2010 and awarded its first grants in 2011. Its mission is to support women and girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and particularly those at the grassroots, to build their movements and advocate for their rights, highlighting the right to a life without violence. 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.
Boao Forum is an annual conference that brings together government, business, and academic leaders to discuss economic and social issues in Asia. Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the keynote speech, titled Working Together Toward a Better Future for Asia and the World, on April 7, 2013.
‘Why wait to address the need when you can do it now?’
The Atlantic Philanthropies is due to complete its grantmaking by 2016 and close its doors by 2020. As it comes to the end of its life as a grantmaking foundation, Alliance magazine spoke to president and CEO Christopher Oechsli. He discusses where Atlantic’s priorities will lie for the remainder of its existence; what its influence has been; and his hope that Atlantic’s work inspires others to take a Giving While Living approach to philanthropy.
‘…I think the message of Chuck Feeney and of Atlantic is that there are urgent needs now and you can make a big difference in your lifetime by fully engaging. For high net worth individuals, applying their resources, their experience, their passion to these great needs is a deeply satisfying process and one in which they can achieve results in a short period of time. Our greatest hope is that Atlantic’s work and that of its grantees will reflect that. We are very sensitive to ending well. We want to conclude with that message in mind and we’re concerned that we can maximize the value of our experience in that regard so that people recognize that it’s an effective approach to philanthropy…’
‘…If I were to list a catalogue of ‘greatest hits’ among our themes, I would have to include initiatives in Ireland to strengthen the higher education sector and to strengthen a knowledge economy through funding research and universities. In Vietnam, I think we brought together initiatives in physical infrastructure and influencing health delivery to primary healthcare systems, which is going to have a lasting legacy. But I believe it’s the Giving While Living approach that is the greatest legacy: the example that, with concentrated effort, with discipline and commitment to an issue, you can make a difference sooner rather than later…’ Read more >
This article was published as part of the free content available on the main Alliance website. To discover more about subscribing to access the full content of the magazine, visit www.alliancemagazine.org/subscribe