Novmeber 2007-January 2008
Global Giving Round-Up
Overviews of best-practices around the world and links to learn more about them
Philanthropy by Indian diaspora expanding focus and becoming institutionalized
India has a well-established tradition of philanthropy that has been carried to other countries by its diaspora. For example, Britain-based Raj Loomba, founder of a series of clothing businesses in that country, established a trust in 1997 which today supports the educational efforts of several thousand children in 29 states in India. Among Indians in other countries who do not have their own mechanism for giving, the amount of giving often rises in response to natural disasters, such as the Gujarat earthquake and the Indian Ocean tsunami. But giving on less dramatic issues is rising, as groups such as the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) are looking to make a lasting impact through their members' philanthropy. For example, AAPI has started a pilot rural healthcare program in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The Tata Energy Research Institute is also doing its part -- starting a program to enable Indians (including those living abroad) to donate in support of technology-based solutions to problems in rural areas. (Earth Times, January 7, 2008)
Sri Lankan Diaspora Day?
The two million Sri Lankans living outside their country have become an important economic and philanthropic force in their home country, returning an estimated $3.4 billion annually. Some Sri Lankans living abroad have wondered if the country should attempt to follow the model of India, with explicit efforts to increase diaspora philanthropy through the creation of an annual "Sri Lankan Diaspora Day." Walter Jayasinghe, head the Sri Lanka Foundation in the United States, is one supporter of the idea, and said that large number of Sri Lankans working in the Middle East could be a major source of money for development. (Asian Tribune, January 13, 2008)
Labor and the environment top CSR issues in Asia
In his blog 6A.M. (www.edelman.com/speak_up/blog/), PR mogul Richard Edelman points to a number of trends in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Asia -- particularly a focus on the issues of labor and the environment. Interestingly, he reports that, overall, Chinese companies with international competitors seem to be moving faster on CSR than companies based in Hong Kong. Another new trend he identifies is cooperation among global NGOs, local NGOs and businesses on specific projects or industry standards. Commentator Raul J. Palabrica of the Inquirer (Philippines) makes similar observations on the focus of CSR in Asia. He adds that multinational corporations can play a leadership role on the issue of labor when national companies and government are reluctant or unable to do so.
GPC Member's company joins environmental partnership in Asia
GITI Tire Corporation, which is led by GPC Member Enki Tan, is donating $1 million for conservation projects in northern Sumatra (Indonesia) and the southwest China for use in partnership agreement with Conservation International (CI). The initiative will protect habitat of threatened species such as the Sumatran orangutan and pandas while replant forest areas, which will also reduce levels of atmospheric carbon that cause climate change. "This collaboration is an important step in bringing more private sector investment for conservation programs in Indonesia," said Jatna Supriatna, the CI regional vice president for Indonesia. "We hope that the communities benefiting from better livelihoods in the buffer zone will support our conservation efforts for the orangutan in the wild." (Conservation International press release, December 13, 2007)
"Execution counts," says Mario Morino
In an essay Execution Counts in a World Enamored with Social Innovation, GPC Member Mario Morino suggests philanthropists place more emphasis on supporting what works and perhaps less on funding the latest trend. He agrees that the tremendous growth of new ideas and new organizations in the nonprofit sector in the United States and elsewhere is a good thing, but cautions that "...we can't forget that building organizations, managing them effectively, and helping them improve is vital as well. This concern is far more relevant to the nonprofit versus the private sector, for the former has few mechanisms or incentives to separate the wheat from the chaff." One of the most tangible lessons is that greater attention should be paid to management and leadership of nonprofits organizations. Recruitment and retention are important in the nonprofit sector, as is support that enable social entrepreneurs to have the management capacity to make the most of their ideas. The essay is available online at www.vppartners.org -- the website of Venture Philanthropy Partners, which Morino chairs.
Giving wisely: Mike Murray and other high-impact donors profiled in Barron's
Barron's magazine asked Philadelphia-based consulting company Geneva Global to identify ten donors who are making a big difference in the world, despite not giving amounts of money that would make them household names. The ten (including some couples and families) are making a difference on issues arising from housing in the United States to the provision of clean water in Ethiopia to disaster response worldwide. They share a focus on impact. As Steve Alderman, who with his wife Liz Alderman has helped orphans of war in Rwanda and Cambodia, put it, "We're 66 years old and don't have time to mess around with stuff that doesn't work." GPC Member Mike Murray is one of the ten, and is lauded for his work in helping increase the impact of the world's best microfinance organizations. Mike Murray and the organization he founded Unitus were profiled in Global Giving Matters February-March 2003. Another example is Lynn Fritz, who took his business expertise in supply chain management to the field of disaster response. His Fritz Institute, launched with $6 million, has trained humanitarian workers from 50 countries and its software is used by nonprofit organizations around the world. Fritz was profiled in Global Giving Matters December 2004-January 2005. Geneva Global has launched a website -- www.beyondphilanthropy.org -- to share findings of its work on philanthropy and social investment. (Barron's, November 26, 2007)
Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation supports orphans, mobilizes resources
Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation (BCAF -- www.bcaf.bg), which has been operating since 1995, has established a scholarship program to support orphan children who have reached of 18 -- the age at which they can no longer live in institutions for orphans. The program is supported by national and international donors, including the International Women's Club, Eurofootball, Intracom, Mail.bg, Microsoft and BNP Paribas. BCAF was one of the first nonprofit organizations in Bulgaria to take online contributions from both within the country and from international donors. BCAF is part of the global network of CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) organizations with headquarters in the United Kingdom. Through the network, the CAF UK experience and experiences of its members in effective philanthropy are shared internationally. (Sofia Echo, October 15, 2007)
Gates Foundation supports Chinese effort to combat HIV/AIDS
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $50 million to work with the government of China and nonprofit organizations fighting HIV/AIDS in that country. About $30 million will go to the Ministry of Health and the remainder to local, national and international NGOs. The focus of the work will include not only treatment of infected people and prevention for high-risk groups, but also efforts to reduce the stigma associated with the disease. UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said, "I am sure this valuable new commitment from the Gates Foundation, which will also assist civil society organizations, will lead to an even stronger response to HIV in China at all levels." (Gates Foundation press release, November 14, 2007)
Jet Li's new fight -- mental illness and natural disasters
Action movie star Jet Li is taking a break from acting this year to focus on his new Jet Li One Foundation Project, which he launched in cooperation with the Red Cross Society of China. The foundation will raise funds to help victims of natural disasters worldwide and Chinese youth coping with mental health problems. At a recent magazine launch, he said, "I hope business leaders will take the lead and their employees will follow." There is hope for that -- a recent rise in private philanthropy in China has followed two trends: (1) growth and a great accumulation of wealth and (2) increasing social divides. (Reuters, January 14, 2008)
Financial Times looks at Internet giving
Websites such as GuideStar (in the United States), GuideStar International and an emerging number of similar databases around the world allow visitors to find information about nonprofit organizations working on a particular issue or in a particular place. Often, links are provided for visitors to contribute directly to organizations they find. These tools are not limited to grantmaking but also include approaches as microfinance. For example, Kiva.org and MicroPlace.com allow users to lend relatively small amounts to microentrepreneurs in many countries. Social networking sites and online virtual communities such as SecondLife are also being used by activities and concerned individuals to make connections and mobilize support. (Financial Times, December 10, 2007)
Philanthropy through career change -- the move to "green jobs"
As attention to environmental issues grows around the world, philanthropists are finding ways other than giving money to make a difference. One approach is through career changes that support environmental action. GPC Member Jeffrey Horowitz is an example. Formerly a successful architect who also worked on some philanthropic ventures, Horowitz now devotes the majority of his time to efforts such as the Avoided Deforestation Partners (www.adpartners.org), a think tank that supports international efforts to halt tropical deforestation. Avoided Deforestation Partners brings together input from the private sector, governments, NGOs and forest communities in its work, which includes promotion of the sale of carbon credits. Horowitz is not alone in making a career shift that uses skills honed in the private sector in new, socially-oriented ways. In fact, services are emerging to help people make such transitions. One example is Green Careers, which since 2000 has helped thousands of clients move to "doing something [they] already know how to do and putting it in the context of the green agenda," as company founder Marie Kerpan puts it. (BusinessWeek, January 10, 2008)
Philanthropy by the wealthy more frequent in South Africa
Companies and organizations serving wealthy clients in South Africa report increasing interest in organized philanthropy, with the primary reason reported to be a rising social conscience about the use of wealth. Others have pointed to a desire to leave a legacy, which contributes to rising interest in endowments. Although tax laws in the country don't provide many incentives for charitable donations, progress has been made -- with notable effect. Anna Vayanos, Business Development Manager of TBS Consulting (which helps wealth individuals organize their giving) points to a "massive increase" in the creation of charitable trusts after changes in the tax laws at the start of the decade. Still, some observers, such as Tracy Fortune, Executive Director of the Non-Profit Consortium, have called for increasing limits of income tax deductions individuals can make. In South Africa, the limits are currently set at 10% of annual income. That figure is sometimes exceeded when someone makes a large single gift, such as the establishment of a trust or endowment. (Business Report (South Africa), October 23, 2007)
Ackerman family honored for philanthropy
The Ackerman family of South Africa has been honored in the inaugural 2007 Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards in the category of "Family Philanthropy." The Ackermans are GPC Members and their philanthropic efforts -- addressing issues such as education, HIV/AIDS and local entrepreneurship -- were profiled in Global Giving Matters October-November 2002. Kathy Ackerman-Robins is also a member of the Board of Directors of Synergos (Southern Africa). The Inyathelo Awards are a new initiative of Inyathelo: South African Institute for Advancement, and were decided by an independent panel of judges. For more information, visit www.inyathelo.co.za.
Synergos seeks director of networks
Synergos has undertaken a strategic planning process over the past 18 months and has determined a need to focus attention on deepening its work around its extensive networks, including the Global Philanthropists Circle, Senior Fellows program and others. To maximize these efforts, the organization will dedicate additional resources, including adding a senior manager to oversee all of Synergos' networks. Synergos is seeking a motivated, creative and results-oriented leader to fill this newly created position, Senior Director, Networks. We welcome your feedback and any suggestions of individuals who could lead this effort. A full description of the position can be found at www.synergos.org/employment/.
BusinessWeek profiles the Global Philanthropists Circle
The November 26, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek contained a feature on Synergos' Global Philanthropists Circle. The piece gives a broad overview of the Circle's work, and the GPC Members and staff who participated in the piece contribute their views on how involvement in the Circle helps philanthropic leaders. The focus of many of the comments is on the value of partnerships and networking. As Circle Member Hylton Appelbaum puts it, "If I learn about someone else tackling the same problem in a brilliant way, I can fast-track what I'm doing by taking a leaf out of their book. I don't have to reinvent the wheel. Well, that's priceless." (BusinessWeek, November 26, 2007)
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