Supporting Community Foundations in Times of Conflict


What happens when Community Foundations find themselves facing political turbulence, periods of severe community crises or periods of societal transition? Is there a role for community philanthropy during times of political conflict and conflict transformation?  What can support associations do to facilitate the work of Community Foundations when they are struggling to develop a response to the needs of local communities confronting the quandaries of political uncertainties?  

The session entitled “Peaceful Networks” presented on March 29, 2014 at the WINGSForum in Istanbul sought to address theses issues.

Attached you will find the material from the session:

  1. In order to understand the opportunities for philanthropic intervention in times of conflict, Avila Kilmurray’s (Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, the Foundation’s for Peace Network and the Working Group on PSJP) opening presentation provides an overview of a) the stages of conflict and conflict transformation in divided societies and b) the different levels where foundation can intervene or support the peace building process.
  2. Ambika Satkunanthan of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, through the example of Sri Lanka, a contested society, helps us to understand the unique and critical role of community foundations in peace building processes and in supporting communities deeply affected in myriad ways in times of violence and conflict. Ambika’s presentation further reflects on the challenges faced by funders in such circumstances and how associations of foundations, philanthropy support and networking organisations can be of help.
  3. Jane Humphries shares lessons from the experience of the Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). In light of issues such as poverty, gender equality, environmental sustainability and human rights CFC recognized that in order to effect social change their members would have to move from service delivery and short term focus to collective action and a longer-term approach. Jane’s presentation explains the process that CFC went through in playing a leadership role to bring a social justice lens and approach to their members.
  4. Barry Knight of CENTRIS and the Working Group on PSJP presents results of a survey of 25 peace funders from 15 different countries, providing an understanding of what these foundations look like in terms of age, size, activities, their current circle of support and what further support they say they need from associations and networks of foundations.
  5. A set of thought provoking questions for the consideration of associations in philanthropy to better engage and support their members working in contested societies.

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