by Rita Thapa
Photo: SC Closing Event 2 April 2014 at the Tewa Center - A Community of Donors
Just this month, I was witness to 3 philanthropic phenomena!
- The 3 year long Samapanna Campaign (SC) was brought to closure at Tewa, the Nepal women’s fund in Kathmandu,
- I had the opportunity to participate in the Global Donor’s Forum (with a focus on Arab philanthropy), and
- Independent youth activists, painted powerful mural messages in Kathmandu, volunteering their time and pooling in necessary resources.
The SC had a goal to raise US $ 900,000. We managed to raise US $ 1,000,000 including the well-timed gift of US $ 300,000, which came from a private Trust housed in the Royal Bank of Canada, Jersey Island, UK. Of this total amount US $ 130,000, was gifted by Nepali donors alone, 90 Tewa grantee organizations from all over Nepal also became donors to the SC, and furthermore ALL the staff and almost all the members of Tewa became SC donors!
Last week I attended a public lecture in the magnificent York Minster, the great cathedral in northern England. I felt as if I was in the heart of the English establishment, with all the wrappings of church and state. The lecture was given by the Director of Christian Aid in Scotland. Her day job is concerned with global poverty and how to promote development in the global south.
In his book, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, Charles Dickens wrote that ‘It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times’; and as ever the Chinese have a proverb (some say a curse) – ‘May you live in interesting times’, but our lecture title today – ‘The Role of Philanthropy in Difficult Times’ undoubtedly has a resonance with Barry [Gaberman] given his many years of thoughtful and insightful contribution to global philanthropy. Difficult times are invariably complex and bring with them both challenges and opportunities. So my optimistic sub-text today is the following question:
Sithie Subanhaniya Tiruchelvam, the founder of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT), an indigenous philanthropic organization based in Sri Lanka, passed away in Colombo on 22 March at the age of 69 following a brief illness. Writing a tribute to Sithie Tiruchelvam is not an easy task as Sithie was an intensely private person. Yet her public achievements, particularly her numerous contributions to social justice causes in her role as the founder of NTT, have to be shared.
We were very sad to learn that Sri Lankan rights activist, and noted member of the Foundations for Peace Network and the Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace Network passed away. Learn more here.
Barry Knight and Jenny Hodgson have written an excellent framing article for the current issue of Alliance Magazine, describing the important role of grantmaking as a tool for social change. They open by saying, "Increasingly, the practice of grantmaking as a tool for bringing about social change has fallen out of favour, replaced by newer, snappier-sounding forms of philanthropy. In laying out their wares, venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism and, most recently, ‘catalytic philanthropy’ have all made claims for greater effectiveness." The full text of the article is available on the Alliance Magazine website here.