Multiple means to reach a single goal – new paper explores systems to #ShiftThePower

In the 19th century, Victor LeGrand created an orderly, geometric railway system for France which was designed to bring about the full integration of the country. This was reckoned to be far superior to the Prussian rail system, which was a hodgepodge of lines run by 50 different companies. The French system, known as the…

Let’s play a new European tune

New promise Thirty years ago, European philanthropy stood on the brink of new promise. The formation of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) on 9 November 1989 – the same day that the Berlin Wall fell – ushered in a new era for philanthropy as part of a vision for a new Europe. There was hope…

Announcing a new study on philanthropy’s role in producing safe, healthy and just societies

Candid (formerly the Foundation Center) and Centris (Rethinking Poverty) are conducting a study on the role of philanthropy in producing safe, healthy and just societies. At a time when many people are questioning the value of philanthropy, the study aims to clarify its role in creating peaceful and inclusive societies that provide access to justice for all…

Funding African movements? Philanthropic revolutions needed first.

‘New configurations of civic-led movements are playing an instrumental role in challenging political, social and economic abuses of power, at great personal risk. At the same time the organized and professionalised civil society spaces which are typically supported by philanthropy are losing momentum, relevance and connectivity to those whose interests they are meant to be…

Litigating for social change: what can funders learn from global experience?

By Steven McCaffery Strategic litigation can be a powerful tool for positive social change, but when is it the right investment for philanthropy? A new book draws on the international experience of successful campaigns and offers real-world lessons on avoiding the pitfalls. From policing in New York, to classroom conditions in post-apartheid South Africa, the push…

U.S. foundation funding for philanthropic infrastructure outside the U.S. is declining, but we need a strong global philanthropy support ecosystem now more than ever

Earlier this month, the Foundation Center published a report detailing the latest available data on U.S. foundation funding for nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure. The research spans twelve years and analyzes 21,148 infrastructure-related grants made by 881 funders to 511 organizations in 30 countries. What did we find and what do the findings mean for our collective efforts…

The (continuing) enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Most of us (by ‘us’ I loosely mean those who are steadily employed in the philanthropy sector) are not poor, but we write and talk about poverty. Many of us are middle-aged or beyond, but we write and talk about young people. We cudgel our brains to understand social movements and how to reach them,…