University for a Night Recommendations
Global Philanthropy and Citizen Action - Trends Transforming Civil Society
Real change is possible only with the commitment of millions of individuals from all countries and sectors of society. But how can the commitment of the "haves" -people with access to information, money and technology - to support efforts of the " have-nots" be deepened? And how can people from different backgrounds and perspectives pool their efforts for a larger impact? Discussion at University for a Night identified ways in which individuals could make a difference, both in their own communities and internationally.
Strengthen support from wealthier people and nations to bridge the gap by increasing understanding of the challenges poor communities face and how those challenges can be overcome.
Greater emphasis on global realities and on social and environmental issues in public school curricula, starting with primary school, can help deepen this understanding among youth. Specially designed educational outreach programs can reach adults. Media programs need to be created that dramatize successful efforts by local communities to improve their circumstances. Examples of groups working to achieve these recommendations include:
- Africa-America Institute
- Bread for the World
- Canadian Council for International Cooperation
- Christel DeHaan Family Foundation
- End Hunger Network
- Hunger Project
- Public Media Center
- Projeto Roda Viva (Brazil)
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Save the Children Alliance
- The Philanthropic Initiative
- World Learning
Mainstream partnerships between communities in need and external groups.
Government agencies, private businesses, international development agencies and nonprofit organizations should seek ways to partner with community groups to strengthen their efforts to address their own problems. Examples of such partnerships abound, but too often each partnership is viewed as an exceptional or one-shot event. By making partnership approaches a regular part of their work, external groups can help multiply the impact of disadvantaged communities' efforts to help them-selves. Nonprofit organizations and government and international development agencies should establish formal mechanisms to obtain community input and participation in their work; nonprofit organizations should also consider representation of beneficiaries on their boards. A supportive framework of laws and regulations as well as government and nonprofit agency programs to strengthen the capacity of community groups to work with external actors
are needed. Examples of groups working to achieve these recommendations include:
- Center for Community Change
- Chase Manhattan Corporation
- Drucker Foundation
- Fundación Esquel Ecuador
- Eureka Communities
- Mega-Cities Project
- National Civic League
- New York City Partnership
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Package investment opportunities to allow concerned investors more easily to support privately owned grassroots economic enterprises.
People who wish to support community development are stymied by a lack of structure. Making it more convenient for such people to find and support effective grassroots initiatives could result in many more resources for community development. New small cap investment funds are needed for Africa, Asia and Latin America that identify effective grassroots initiatives and channel resources to them. Examples of groups working to achieve these recommendations include:
- Calvert Social Investment Fund and Calvert Foundation
- Domini Social Equity Fund
- Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society
- Fidelity Investments
- Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (Philippines)
- South North Development Initiative
- Zimbabwe Progress Fund.
Reform legal systems to encourage both charitable giving and effective social programs.
At the national level, tax incentives for philanthropy can promote giving by the public and private businesses. Such reforms are important not only within countries, but also internationally, to facilitate overseas giving from Northern countries. Examples of groups working to achieve these recommendations include:
- Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía (Mexico)
- Council on Foundations
- Independent Sector
- International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
- Japan Center for International Exchange
- Southern African Grantmakers Association.