Does philanthropy have too much influence?

The autumn edition of Alliance magazine is out.

Philanthropy’s capacity to influence society has arguably never been greater or more sought after. Governments see in philanthropy a flexible source of capital and expertise and opportunities for public-private partnership. Philanthropy sees in government the opportunity to shape public policy, bring ideas to scale and seek recognition for its partners and, in some cases, for itself. Meanwhile, civil society relies on philanthropic funding to give it the freedom to challenge orthodoxy. Businesses, rhetorically at least, seek to position themselves as philanthropic and attuned to the needs of communities.

This issue of Alliance looks at the rise of philanthropic influence. In recent years, foundations have used their resources to effect change on diverse issues, some of which we spotlight. This is a cause for satisfaction to those who see philanthropic impact as a holy grail (and to those who are sympathetic to the changes achieved). Moreover, to guest editors Ingrid Srinath and Bhekinkosi Moyo in India and South Africa, philanthropy is an underused commodity. They paint a picture of hopes that far more wealthy citizens will not only contribute their wealth but do so in a way that shares power with beneficiaries and civil society.

But should countries with emerging philanthropic capacity be careful what they wish for?


What’s next for climate philanthropy?

My first edition as editor of Alliance magazine is out now.

The landmark Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, is central to global efforts to combat climate change. What contribution should philanthropy make to these efforts? Our June 2016 edition presents the latest science and data on climate philanthropy. The first part, edited by Michael Northrop of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, highlights the opportunities for philanthropy to consolidate the achievements at Paris especially in reforestation, renewable energy and cities. The second part, edited by Nnimmo Bassey and Terry Odendahl of Global Greengrants Fund, delves between the gaps to document the ways in which philanthropy must focus on climate justice and the needs of the most marginalized. The final section presents perspectives on the case for divesting assets from fossil fuels and ends with a shared view from guest editors on the journey ahead.

This edition of Alliance also features interviews with the Geneva-based Oak Foundation about its new climate justice initiative and Heron Foundation’s Clara Miller and Toni Johnson about the most radical idea in philanthropy.


Editing Alliance magazine

8 April 2016

I am delighted to be appointed executive editor of Alliance magazine.

Alliance is a leading source of insight, news and analysis of philanthropy around the world and it’s a privilege to assume this new challenge after over a decade in the philanthropy sector in grantmaking, research and teaching roles. The text of the announcement is below. I look forward to working with you – and perhaps writing about your work – in the coming months and years.


Charles Keidan appointed executive editor of Alliance magazine

Charles Keidan has been appointed executive editor of Alliance magazine, the Board of Trustees of Alliance Publishing Trust has announced. He joins the organisation with over a decade of experience in philanthropy having previously worked as executive director of the Pears Foundation and more recently the Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy, as well as holding teaching and research positions at Stanford University and City University London.

John R. Healy, Chair of Alliance Publishing Trust said:

‘The Board of Trustees are delighted that Charles has accepted our offer. He is a deep thinker about philanthropy and is ideally placed to develop Alliance and expand its reach.’

Speaking of his appointment, Charles Keidan said:

‘Alliance is an invaluable source of insight, news and analysis of philanthropy across the globe. It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to edit Alliance and I look forward to working with the Alliance community to build on the foundations laid by long-standing former editor, Caroline Hartnell.’

Charles can be contacted at and @charleskeidan

See more at

New role at Alliance magazine

I am delighted to be taking up a new position as Acting Editor of Alliance magazine in January 2016. Alliance is a leading source of news and analysis in the world of philanthropy, and I am looking forward to joining the team in my first editorial role.

At the end of this month, I will be stepping down from the Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy. The need for more scholarship is undoubted and it has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to lay foundations for the Centre in its first phase building on my recent study of philanthropy education.

The full text of my new job announcement is below and a link to some earlier pieces for Alliance is here

I look forward to working with you in 2016.


Alliance Magazine appoints new Acting Editor

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Charles Keidan as Acting Editor of Alliance magazine. 

Charles joins the organisation with over a decade of philanthropy sector experience having previously worked as Executive Director of Pears Foundation and more recently the Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy as well as teaching and research roles at Stanford University and City University London.

The Board of Trustees and all Alliance staff are enthusiastic about this appointment. We are planning many new developments for 2016 and we look forward to continuing to serve the sector and expand Alliance’s reach with Charles onboard for the first half of the year.

Alliance Publishing Trust will be recruiting for a permanent Editor in the New Year.  

Speaking of his appointment, Charles said “I am delighted to assume the role of Acting Editor of Alliance. During the decade that I have read and contributed to the magazine, I have come to regard Alliance as an invaluable source of insight and expertise on philanthropy. I know this view is widely shared across the global philanthropy community so it is a special responsibility, and honour, to take on this role. I look forward to working with the Alliance team and to building upon deep foundations laid by the Alliance Publishing Trust Trustees, the Editorial Advisory Board and, in particular, long-standing former editor, Caroline Hartnell.”

Charles can be contacted at

Can philanthropy be taught at universities?

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tim Smedley, Guardian and FT freelance writer, for this piece in today’s Guardian asking ‘can philanthropy be taught?’ There is lots to say about the topic. This piece provides a few perspectives

On Donor-Grantee Relations – Philanthropy Summer Academy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam

I had the honour of facilitating a workshop on donor-grantee relations at the European Foundation Centre/Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy’s Summer Academy. Over thirty participants from foundations across Europe attended this two-day gathering which included sessions on impact, strategy and ‘scaling-up’ philanthropic initiatives. The event was a great, but still too rare, example of collaboration between practitioners and scholars to improve philanthropic practice. More details about the event including the programme details are here

European Research Network on Philanthropy Conference

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining 140 participants from 29 countries at the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) conference at ESSEC Business School in Cergy, Paris. I also presented my research on the provision of university-based philanthropy education in Europe.

The ERNOP conference was the largest gathering of philanthropy researchers to date, with almost double the number of attendees than the previous gathering in 2013. This year, the conference focused on ‘connecting the dots’ between different disciplinary perspectives and approaches. It also had a stronger practice orientation including a dedicated session on the challenges and opportunities for scholar-practitioner collaboration. The signs from this conference are that interest in philanthropy continues to grow and that the seeds of dialogue between academic and practice communities have been firmly planted.The full programme is here