Category Archives: Uncategorized

Indigenous philanthropy

I love the day we release our new issue of Alliance magazine, the crystallisation of intense work with contributors around the world.

This one was made possible thanks to our guest editors, the JR Mckenzie Trust’s Manaia King and Ford Foundation’s Monica Aleman as well as Lourdes Inga of the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. This issue features Indigenous people from across the globe and discusses why they are indispensable allies in tackling the most pressing issues facing people and planet. Other highlights include interviews with Ford president Darren Walker and a candid chat with Center for Effective Philanthropy president, Phil Buchanan.

This and more is all here





Feminist philanthropy

Our December 2019 issue on feminist philanthropy is out guest edited by Ise Bosch and Ndana Bofu-Tawamba

Ise and Ndana argue that a focus on funding for ‘women and girls’ is not enough. Rather philanthropy needs a feminist consciousness. In one of our more politically charged issues, many contributors highlight the need to question social constructions of gender, challenge political and economic orthodoxies, shift power to the most marginalised, adopt an intersectional approach and place women’s rights and gender equality front and centre. The lead article by Ise and Ndana is here

There are also some male perspectives on feminism including my editorial here

Elsewhere, we talk to Sandra Breka about a major overhaul at the Robert Bosch Foundation and their new climate programme. And David Bonbright discusses several books which respond in different ways to critiques of our philanthropy sector levelled by Anand Giridharadas.

Human rights philanthropy

Philanthropy rightly receives it fair share of criticism but at $2.8 billion per year, it is playing a critical role in supporting human rights around the world. This is particularly important at the present time as the open, liberal, and democratic societies which human rights help to foster are under sustained attack.

We’ve devoted a whole issue of Alliance to exploring the opportunities and challenges ahead. We talk to the Oak Foundation’s Adrian Arena about building the foundation’s major human rights programme and we discuss the Open Society Foundation’s exile to Berlin with Selmin Caliskan. We also feature views on economic and social rights, and transitional justice, from across the global south and hear about the Ford Foundation’s work in Brazil to prevent digital dis-information. All this and more here

Peace philanthropy

Peace-related philanthropy, at less than 1 per cent of all grantmaking, seems irresponsibly small given that armed conflict spoils lives, divides societies and ruins economies. Our latest issue of Alliance goes in search of philanthropy’s role in peaceful development. 

Guest edited by a new generation of philanthropy practitioners, Lauren Bradford (Candid), Rasha Sansur (Dalia Association) and Hope Lyons (Rockefeller Brothers Fund) share their hopes for the future and discuss ways to open up the field to new voices and partners.

The issue also highlights findings from a landmark survey of peace philanthropy. It discusses whether the UN and the Sustainable Development Goals can give new impetus to peace-building, the role of community philanthropy in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Palestine, and the need to re-think existing peace and security paradigms.

Elsewhere, we talk to Lavinia Jacobs, Chair of the Swiss based Jacobs Foundation, about trying to change the status quo in early years education in Switzerland and the Ivory Coast. And our round-up from around the world of philanthropy includes news of significant increases in Chinese giving. 

Systems change

The March 2019 issue of Alliance is out.

Philanthropy and systems approaches are an obvious coupling but the future of their relationship remains far from clear. Our latest special feature explores a growing aspiration to achieve system-level change, taking a more self-critical look than is usually found within the sector.

Guest edited by Julian Corner, CEO of the Lankelly Chase Foundation, we note the potential and pitfalls while sympathetically profiling various approaches and examples from across the foundation world. The feature includes a peer dialogue with Canada’s McConnell Foundation, a look inside Switzerland based Jacobs Foundation’s approach to changing systems and collaborative efforts to combat gun violence in Chicago.

Everywhere, we survey the state of French philanthropy and I talk to Stanford philanthropy scholar and critic Rob Reich who outlines some bold proposals to reform the sector.

Royal philanthropy worldwide

Our in-depth feature on royal philanthropy and December 2018 issue of Alliance magazine is out.
It’s the product of a four-way non-profit media collaboration providing news, insight and opinion to philanthropy practitioners around the world.
Philanthropy Age magazine brought coverage of royal philanthropy in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar while our partners at De Dikke Blauwe and Danmarks Fonde contributed viewpoints from The Netherlands and Denmark. I pulled the seams together by commissioning pieces on royal philanthropy in the UK, Australia and Thailand.
The issue takes a more critical look at a topic ripe for investigation. Royal philanthropy is arguably the most opaque and elite form of high philanthropy. While most contributors were keen to stress its positive role, a few were willing to draw attention to its shortcomings, lack of transparency and dynastic privilege.
Enjoy the new issue and join the Alliance conversation online @alliancemag

Muslim philanthropy comes of age

The latest issue of Alliance magazine is out

It includes an exclusive interview with pioneering philanthropist Ise Bosch, winner of this year’s German Philanthropy prize; DAFNE’s Max von Abendroth on what philanthropy wants from European law-makers; Andrew Milner on impact investing in Asia; Marcos Kisil on the PtP (Philanthropication thru Privatisation) program in Brazil; and an in-depth special feature guest edited by Tariq Cheema and Dr Yunus Sola on the rise of Muslim philanthropy with viewpoints from South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey with, Egypt, the UK and US among others. I hope you enjoy our news and views of philanthropy worldwide. Please share your comments on @Alliancemag

Diaspora philanthropy issue is out

The latest issue (March 2018) of Alliance magazine is out with a special feature on diaspora philanthropy and perspectives from India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Ireland, Israel and Canada among others.

I interview Palestinian diaspora philanthropist Omar Al-Qattan who was instrumental in the establishing the Palestinian Museum and talk to 29 year old Antonis Schwarz, who benefitted from the sale of Schwarz Pharma in 2006, about why his Guerrilla Foundation is backing social movements rather than social entrepreneurs. Elsewhere there are pieces from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors on systems change, Rob John on giving circles in Asia and global news, views and updates from philanthropy worldwide.



Philanthropy and the media feature is out

The December 2017 issue of Alliance is out. It’s been completely re-designed (for the first time in over a decade) and includes an in-depth feature on philanthropy and the media. Guest edited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Miguel Castro, we profile philanthropists who own or back media, showcases existing foundation programmes on investigative journalism and combating fake news and offer perspectives on philanthropy from leading media titles such as Spiegel Online, The Guardian and the BBC. In addition, I also write about why enlightened foundations should fund us – the philanthropy media. The new issue also contains the first ever interview – anywhere – with the founder of the Netherlands-based Adessium Foundation, Gerard van Vliet.

All of this content is free to view thanks to sponsorship from the Democracy and Media Foundation.

You might also have seen in recent weeks some powerful and profound critiques of current philanthropy practice penned by members of the Alliance editorial board, Halima Mahomed and Timothy Ogden.

Halima’s piece highlights the tensions between often lauded corporate philanthropy programs and the tax avoidance practices of their parent corporations. Against the backdrop of the Panama and Paradise papers, Halima writes about the ‘tax elephant in the philanthropy room’

Tim’s piece (co-authored with Laura Starita) looks at foundation investments in arms and tobacco. The piece explains why foundations invest in arms and tobacco companies, calls for greater transparency about these investments and sets out conditions under which such investments might be

Both pieces seek to take on difficult issues in a constructive, nuanced and thoughtful way. As a ‘critical friend’ to the sector, my job as editor of Alliance is to raise issues for discussion and open up debate. Please feel free to comment at the foot of both pieces or send me your reaction and we’ll consider it for publication on the Alliance blog

Happy reading!