University for a Night 2012

Peggy Dulany Announces the Synergos 25th Anniversary Campaign

Most of you know me well enough to know that I cry a lot and easily, so I'm sure you won’t feel too uncomfortable.

Twenty-five years ago, when we started Synergos – Bruce Schearer, who started it with me, is here tonight – we often felt alone. Our model was new and untested. But I really do believe what Bill Clinton said tonight, and I was incredibly touched by his willingness to say that we have shown that bridging divides in collaborative and authentic and participatory partnerships can make a difference.

I believe that Synergos has played a real role in shifting the development paradigm toward collaboration and shared learning, and that’s only been possible because of the part that all of you have played throughout our journey.

Today we’re helping to inspire and sustain leaders – I include you sitting here among those – connecting them to their wisdom and purpose and creativity and helping them to be their most effective selves.

We’re building and strengthening bridging organizations that bring together people, ideas and resources to tackle the kinds of problems that none of us can solve by ourselves.

We’re supporting comprehensive systems changes by partnering with business, governments, communities and the philanthropic sector to improve the well-being and create opportunities for those who struggle.

But we’ve also had the privilege of gathering together some of the most remarkable people in the world, and institutions, and jointly with them as partners, we’ve taken on some of the most heart-wrenching consequences of poverty, isolation and marginalization.

We’re currently doing this work in Africa and the Middle East, Latin America and China, and in India and Central Asia. We feel as though we’ve managed to touch the lives of tribal villagers and urban slum dwellers, farmers and entrepreneurs, women and girls and men and boys.

And during more than two decades of collaboration, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve certainly made our share of mistakes.

It’s because of this history that we feel encouraged to plan boldly for our future, a future with deepened leadership engagement, a greater ability to support innovations and expand impacts, and with the resources to sustain the institution that we’ve all worked together to build.

Tonight, I’m delighted and trepidatious to announce the creation of a special $20 million campaign fund that is designed to celebrate our 25 years of working together and our commitment toward doing more.

Two of the individuals who have most inspired me and who are here tonight, but unfortunately both had to leave, have graciously agreed to serve as the honorary co-chairs of this effort, my dear father, David Rockefeller, and John Whitehead. And I’m delighted to also announce that Kim Samuel-Johnson, a member of our board and the Global Philanthropists Circle, has agreed to co-chair the campaign with me. Please join me in thanking them for lending their names and encouragement to this effort.

I’m also pleased that my dad has agreed to join me in launching this campaign with our first gift, a pledge of $5 million. I will be leading this major fundraising effort together with Kim, and we hope some other co-chairs, inspired by the examples of John and my father.

And I’m also happy to report that while tonight is our formal announcement of the campaign, we’ve already received encouraging indications of support for members of our Board of Directors, some of our traditional supporters and some wonderful new friends.

Over the next 16 months, we’ll raise funds that will enable us to increase our presence in China and India, help us accelerate the development and effectiveness of global philanthropy, and strengthen a global community of change makers who will play a pivotal role in transforming the world we live in.

We will grow and strengthen local leaders and institutions, connecting them to a like-minded and like-hearted global community so that they themselves and their work can be sustained.

We will also expand our Global Philanthropists Circle in key geographies around the world, with a focus on the next generation of philanthropic leaders. And all this work will be done with global partners such as the Clinton and Gates Foundation, and always approaching this work so that it builds enduring local infrastructures.

We will build an innovation fund enabling us to play a role in resourcing those in our networks, and those they bring to our attention where there is ripeness for change.

And finally, we will strengthen our board-restricted fund, which, like an endowment, will ensure the long-term viability of Synergos.

Many of you have already helped us to shape this vision, and in the coming months we hope to meet with many more of you about it.

I profoundly believe in the Synergos approach to personal and social transformation. It is the most promising way I’ve encountered in all my life’s experience to help create a more just and equitable and nurturing global society, and its local counterparts.

I’m humbled and privileged to be doing this work with all of you, and particularly with Bob Dunn and our incredibly talented staff, and I’m thrilled when I imagine what we will accomplish, staying the course shoulder to shoulder, sharing love and support.

Thank you so much.

Synergos 25th Anniversay Celebration & Reflection

Maria Quiroga video