Global Giving Round-Up
Overviews of best-practices around the world and links to learn more about them
Indonesian firm's campaign to fight AIDS gets international honors
Southeast Asia's largest tire manufacturer, Gajah Tunggal, received an award in May from UNAIDS and the International Labour Organization in recognition of its workplace campaign in Indonesia to combat HIV/AIDS. Gajah Tunggal is the largest domestic corporation in Indonesia to actively promote AIDS education and prevention among its employees. The company's efforts are currently focused on its factory site, Tangerang, outside Jakarta, which employs around 7,500 workers. A key partner is Indonesian NGO Yayasan Kusuma Buana, which helps Gajah Tunggal train its employees in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention techniques. Cherie Nursalim, executive director of the Gajah Tunggal Group, and a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC), said the inspiration for the campaign came from a GPC country visit to South Africa in 2003 that focused on the challenges of AIDS prevention and treatment. Nursalim said the impact of her company's effort was greatly enhanced through partnerships with civil society to leverage expertise and resources, and by the spillover of knowledge to the families of workers and their surrounding communities. Gajah Tunggal's program had its origins at the company's polytechnic near the Tangerang factory, where the young community of students were trained to educate their peers about the disease. Gajah Tunggal has plans to expand the program to the company's shrimp farm in Sumatra, which employs 20,000 workers, and is considering extending the campaign to its operations in China. (Jakarta Post, May 7, 2004).
Singapore bank first to specialize in Asian charitable asset management
A Dutch private bank in Singapore is the first financial institution in Asia to offer philanthropic asset management services for high net worth individuals. MeesPierson wants to link the region's estimated 3,000 to 4,000 individuals and families with assets of at least $1 million to nonprofit organizations that can use the money. "Asia has more millionaires than any other part of the world. It's easier (for them) to make money than to give it away. So, we're helping them with their philanthropic focus," said Terry Alan Farris, head of MeesPierson's Charity Management, Asia. MeesPierson hopes to tap into the growing number of wealthy families looking for social returns on their investments. The bank also offers asset management services to nonprofit institutions such as UNICEF to help them grow their funds and become more transparent. The bank estimates that nonprofit organizations in Asia hold between $15 billion to $20 billion in assets. Kees Stoute, the bank's managing director of Private Banking, Asia, said the call from the public for more transparency in managing charitable funds has been growing. The bank foresees resistance to this from some wealthy Asians concerned about keeping their donations out of the public eye. But Farris is hopeful their attitudes will change, saying "It's a way to bring family members together in a non-threatening way. In Hong Kong, we had a family whose members haven't talked to each other in years," he said. They ended up meeting regularly to discuss their philanthropic efforts. "There is enough money in Asia to fund Asia, but we need to organize it." (TODAYonline (Singapore), April 2, 2004)
Templeton Prize winner to fund poverty alleviation in South Africa
The world's largest annual monetary prize for individual achievement, the Templeton Prize (www.templetonprize.org) for science and spirituality, has been awarded to George Ellis, a professor of applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Ellis has pledged to use half of his $1.4 million in winnings to help fight poverty in South Africa through education and social welfare programs. A leading theoretical cosmologist known for his contributions to the dialogue between science and religion, Ellis in the 1970s was an unrelenting critic of the Nationalist government and its system of apartheid with his writings on homelessness among black South Africans. The son of atheists, Ellis became a Quaker in 1974, and credits the resilience shown by the black majority in South Africa with giving him a sense of faith. Ellis says that South Africa's journey from apartheid to multi-cultural democracy has informed some of his most important discoveries and writings in the realm of science and religion, crediting the "transformatory actions" of leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela with preventing widespread bloodshed. The world's best known religion award, The Templeton Prize was founded by Sir John Templeton, a financier who pioneered global investment strategies. When he created the prize in 1972, he stipulated that its monetary value always exceed that of the Nobel Prize to underscore that advances in spiritual discoveries can be more significant than those honored by the Nobels. (VOA News, USA Today, March 18, 2004)
Foundations forge partnership to engage Russian donors
The Eurasia Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have announced the launch of a $400,000 partnership to promote strategic philanthropy in Russia. The Social Investment Initiative will provide major Russian corporations and philanthropists with strategic and practical training in methods of charitable giving, helping them to define their philanthropic goals, build accountable and transparent mechanisms of charitable giving, and develop their philanthropic missions and strategies. The program will consist of two social investment forums focused on information sharing and training for high net worth individuals and top-level Russian executives, as well as internships and seminars offering training for corporate social managers working at the operations level. It is expected to involve many of the most influential corporate executives in Russia. Andrei Kortunov, Eurasia Foundation Vice President for Russia, said Russian companies and individuals are becoming both increasingly sophisticated and strategic in their contributions to society but noted that most still lack a clear understanding of how to implement social investment programs. (Hewlett Foundation press release, February 19, 2004; Eurasia Foundation press release, January 27, 2004)
Unclaimed assets to be harnessed for social investment in UK, worldwide
A new vehicle for securing financial institutions' unclaimed assets and reinvesting them for social benefit was launched in the United Kingdom in March. Estimates of the amounts that could eventually be freed up for philanthropic purposes range from £5 billion to £20 billion, said Michael Webber, a Trustee of the new Balance Charitable Foundation for Unclaimed Assets (www.balancefoundation.org.uk) and former UK Charity Commissioner. The Foundation expects to begin making grants in the final quarter of 2004; guidelines for application will be posted on the website as soon as they are finalized. Initially, the newly appointed trustees expect to concentrate on "social exclusion" issues, including educational disadvantage and financial literacy. The primary focus to date of the Balance Foundation has been on investment banks, with wider participation being sought throughout the financial sector. Retail banks are believed to be the main holders of unclaimed assets, mainly in the form of dormant bank accounts. The Balance Foundation is an independent initiative of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Hunter Foundation. (Philanthropy UK, March 2004)
Khosla backs microfinance to speed rural India's economic growth
Vinod Khosla, a general partner at Silicon Valley's leading venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins Caulfield & Byers and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has announced that he will devote a substantial part of his professional time -- and personal wealth -- to the promotion of microfinance in rural India. During a recent tour of successful microfinance initiatives in that country and Bangladesh, the Delhi native observed that in their entrepreneurial approach, the developing world's best microcredit programs run more efficiently than most Silicon Valley organizations. Khosla said microfinance is a key to bridging the growing divide between urban and rural development in India. Khosla's support for the reinvigoration of rural India goes beyond microfinance to a comprehensive model of economic development. His paper on the "bicycle commute economy," a sort of Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of rural India, is available online. (Business World (India) April 12, 2004; New York Times, March 29, 2004)
Pioneer in international regranting honored
Chet Tchozewski, founder and executive director of the Global Greengrants Fund (www.greengrants.org) has received the 2004 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking from the Council on Foundations (COF). Tchozewski was a pioneer in strategies for international regranting as a simple means to support the growth of civil society organizations in developing economies and emerging democracies. He is also a founding member of the funding network Grantmakers Without Borders. Since 1993, the Global Greengrants Fund has distributed more than $5 million in grants via a global network of volunteer advisors to create more than 1,000 local grassroots groups in nearly 80 countries. COF President Dorothy Ridings said Tchozewski's ability to challenge conventional grantmaking practices had been instrumental in combating poverty and environmental destruction in developing countries. The Scrivener award honors individuals who demonstrate vision, principle and personal commitment to making a difference in a creative way through grantmaking. An interview with Tchozewski can be found in the May/June 2004 issue of Foundation New & Commentary at www.foundationnews.org.
Foundation rewards inventions that help poor countries develop
A foundation known primarily for its support for the American inventor has announced that it is shifting its focus to fostering "sustainable invention" in the developing world. By 2006, the Lemelson Foundation (www.lemelson.org), named for prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson, aims to devote half of its estimated annual $13 million budget to this new direction in philanthropy. Meanwhile, the 10-year-old foundation has already begun to make modest investments in innovators and entrepreneurs in countries such as Costa Rica, Indonesia and Kenya. In part, the shift reflects the interests of Jerome Lemelson's sons, Rob and Eric, who have overseen the foundation, along with their wives and their mother, Dorothy, since Jerome Lemelson died in 1997. Explaining the new emphasis, Rob Lemelson, an anthropologist who was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia, said it was "important for Indonesians to realize that Americans and American foundations are interested in addressing key issues that are relevant to their lives like water purification and poverty." Perhaps best known among the inventions supported by the Lemelson Foundation is a pump produced by ApproTec, an NGO in Kenya. The treadle pump, operated by foot pedals, allows a farmer to sharply increase the water used to irrigate crops. A Lemelson grant of $100,000 went toward creating a drill to pierce the water table. ApproTec's treadle pump and other projects have been credited with raising the gross domestic product of Kenya by $35 million, or .35 percent. As it turns its resources increasingly toward poorer countries, the Lemelson Foundation is no longer stressing patents over the act of invention, since many developing nations have no patent system at all, or a poorly developed one. The ideas the foundation finances "don't have to be patentable...they just have to improve lives on a basic level," said Eric Lemelson, an environmental lawyer who operates an organic vineyard in Oregon. (New York Times, April 26, 2004)
Biologist harvests the sea to combat hunger in Eritrea
Dr. Gordon Sato, a respected cell biologist, left a successful academic career more than 10 years ago to help impoverished coastal communities promote sustainable agriculture in drought-stricken Eritrea. His innovative Manzanar project harnesses two of the region's most abundant resources-sunlight and seawater-to grow mangrove plants that can be used not only to feed animals, but also to provide a habitat for fish and shellfish. Since Eritrea's independence in 1993, Sato has spent about half of each year-and half a million dollars of his own money-there, planting more than 600,000 mangrove trees along the Red Sea coast in partnership with the Eritrean Ministry of Fisheries. His interest in Eritrea can be traced back to his experiences during World War II, when the US government held Sato and other Japanese-Americans in Manzanar, an internment camp in the California desert. In 1986, Sato decided to help alleviate Ethiopia's famine, which was primarily affecting the rebels who were trying to gain independence for the country's Eritrean minority. Sato said the plight of the Eritreans reminded him of the injustice of the treatment of Japanese-Americans by the US government. In 2002, Sato's efforts earned him a Rolex Award for Enterprise, given by the watch company to individuals deemed visionaries in improving the human condition. He is using the cash prize that accompanied the award to offset some of the Eritrean government's financial support of the project, which ranges between $20,000 and $50,000 a year. (New York Times, March 7, 2004; www.rolexawards.com/laureates)
Fellowship connects Filipino-Americans to heritage, service in homeland
Ayala Foundation USA, LBC Foundation USA, and ChevronTexaco have launched a summer fellowship program to reconnect young Filipino-Americans with their heritage, by exposing them to Filipino culture and tradition as well as the social issues that confront their homeland. Participants in the two-month Filipino American Youth Leaders Fellowship Program travel to the Philippines and work in a nonprofit organization engaged in social development work. Fellows also attend a series of lectures on "The Meaning of Being Filipino" by Ayala Foundation, Inc.'s Filipinas Heritage Library and live with host families so they can experience a real home in the Philippines. Upon their return to the United States, Fellows are expected to serve as "ambassadors of goodwill" by speaking on the work of their host organization. Fifteen fellowships are available for the 2004 program, which runs from July 5 to August 27. Applicants should be 18 to 25 years of age, display strong leadership potential, and be willing to work with a nonprofit organization anywhere in the Philippines for two months. For more information, visit www.ayalafdnusa.org, email email@example.com, or contact Christina Leano at + 1 (650) 598-3126.
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