Challenging the Globalization Agenda

By Sarah Bahn and Manuel Montes     In the 1980s and 1990s, the pressure on developing countries to embrace economic liberalization was overwhelming. They were bullied by global aid and trade organizations, such as the World Bank, into adopting reforms whose benefits were questionable and many argue hurt the poorest. Through its International Economic…

Can Physically Distant Funders Catalyze Local Leadership? (They Can!)

By Sarah Bahn and Atallah Kuttab     Mission drives foundation work, and it can often point towards grassroots efforts. We know that local leadership is key to these efforts, but it can be challenging to navigate alignment of foundation practices with the execution of a local agenda from a distance. Fikra, a Brussels-based foundation created…

The Power of an Effective Exit: Ford Foundation’s Exit from the Philippines

By Sarah Bahn and Suzanne Siskel      When I was working for the Ford Foundation as a representative in the Philippines in the late 1990s, the foundation expanded its programming, giving us the opportunity to work on addressing the failing public education system. After just three years, Ford was supporting 27 local education reform…

Youth Revitalize Forgotten Philanthropic Practice in Palestine

By Sarah Bahn and Hania Aswad     ‘Al Ouneh’ is a type of informal, collective philanthropy led by community members to help individuals or the well-being of the entire community. The concept has been practiced in the Middle East and North Africa for generations. Al Ouneh can be used in a number of ways,…

Seeking Justice through Grassroots Leadership in Brazil

By Sarah Bahn and Ana Valeria Araujo     In May 2006, prison gang violence and police retaliation unleashed a wave of killings in São Paulo, Brazil. The victims were mostly poor, young people of African or indigenous descent. Most were not involved in organized crime, and their mothers were unable to find out what…

When the Wall Turned Bright Pink

By Sarah Bahn and Avila Kilmurray     It is not every day that the iconic ‘Free Derry Corner’ landmark turns bright pink. But this is what happened as a result of a small £3,000 grant awarded by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI) to the Rainbow Project, which works in Derry/Londonderry in Northern…

Cross-Sector Mobilization for Social Change

By Sarah Bahn and Lisa Jordon     The Bernard van Leer Foundation has a solid reputation in the area of early childhood education. It is known for financing early education models, publishing articles, and supporting research on early childhood development. It has been a respected figure in this field for over 60 years, operating…

Children Stand Up Against Poverty

By Sarah Bahn and Barry Knight    Despite many efforts over the years, child poverty remains a widespread problem in the United Kingdom. In an attempt to accelerate efforts, we at the Webb Memorial Trust decided to support plans to give children true leadership roles in the issue, as opposed to just consulting them. At…

Philanthropy and Government Join Forces to Overcome Authoritarian Past

By Sarah Bahn and Kamala Chandrakirana      Philanthropy for social justice is not always about opposing the government; it’s sometimes about working with government in order to access the rights due to its citizens. Through our work with community organizers trying to reclaim land in a small village in Indonesia, Indonesia for Humanity (Indonesia…