Community Philanthropy

Summary Report: Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace in South and South-East Asia

In September 2013, the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace and the Global Fund for Community Foundations convened a small group of grassroots indigenous foundations in Shillong in the North East of India. The convening was hosted by the Foundation for Social Transformation – Enabling North East India and included foundations from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

The convening aimed to provide a platform to these foundations to learn from one another to strengthen their organisational capacities, and to work as a group to develop community philanthropy for progressive social change in Asia.

The attached report summarizes the key characteristics of these foundations as emerging from group work during the convening. Its purpose is to set out the emerging themes form the conversation in Shillong and explore ways in which the practice of philanthropy for social justice and peace in the region can be deepened and broadened.

Lessons learned from Ten Years of the Foundation for Social Transformation

‘A Life Lived on the Edge: An Account of the First Ten Years of the Foundation of Social Transformation’ is a new resource produced the Global Fund for Community Foundations. It tells the story of a community foundation in the North-east of India, of the conditions that necessitated its birth, its vision, its struggles, how it came to almost close doors and its slow recovery and renewed direction.

Do not kill or hijack...

Over twenty years of working in this field of social justice philanthropy in Nepal, I continue to be struck by the resilience of the local communities, their home-grown leaderships, and the way they innovate and improvise to sustain and nurture each other as far as it is possible!  During a recent visit to several districts of the far-west Nepal, visiting with Tewa grantees and women activists, I was blown away when this was reaffirmed for me yet one more time! 

Community Foundation Atlas Launched

On Oct 20, 2014 in Cleveland (USA), at the Fall Conference for Community Foundations, an international research collaboration unveiled the “Community Foundation Atlas,” the most comprehensive directory of the world’s community foundation movement that has ever been published. The online platform, available at, maps the identi- ties, locations, assets, roles and achievements of place-based philanthropies around the world.

Among the key findings:

Gaza Under Fire: What Does it Mean for Philanthropy?

I’m a critic of “poverty porn,” the selling of poverty to increase donations. It dehumanizes “beneficiaries” (a word that itself is dehumanizing), but even worse, it’s a slippery slope. Engaging donors on the basis of crisis means you always need a new crisis to keep them engaged; successful philanthropy becomes dependent on having a steady stream of victims.

What does Community Philanthropy Look Like?

What makes the global spread of community philanthropy organizations so exciting is the variety of forms they take, adaptations to different local contexts, challenges, resources, and leaders. The core similarities matter— all in some way help geographic communities mobilize financial and other kinds of capital for improvement of the lives of residents. But so do the differences. Some have endowments, some don’t. Some are large, more are small. Some call themselves community foundations, others do not. This diversity is one sign of community philanthropy’s flexibility, potential, and rising popularity.

But it also presents a challenge to those who want to better understand and support community philanthropy, especially on a global level. A practice so varied, so organic and tied to local conditions, complicates classification, resists general conclusions, and calls for lots of learning through example.

A movement relatively young and quickly evolving, with a limited body of applied research, requires ongoing documentation and study.

Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy

The Global Fund for Community Foundations has been appointed Secretariat of the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy, a new multi-donor, multi-stakeholder initiative supported by founding partners, the Aga Khan Foundation USA, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and USAID, which aims to make the case that growing local ownership and accountability leads to stronger communities and that this should be a key focus of development practitioners.

The Alliance offers an exciting opportunity to advance the field and the understanding of community philanthropy globally and the ways in which it can mobilize trust, assets and capacities and, by doing so, strengthen local development outcomes.

For more information click here.

Interview with Bernie Dolley, Ikhala Trust, South Africa

Bernie Dolley, Director of Ikhala Trust, Cape Town, South Africa talks about the role that philanthropy must play, the questions we as the philanthropic field need to be asking of ourselves, the value of small grants, and overcoming barriers posed my emphasis on quantifiable outcomes in philanthropy.

Click on the attachment below to read the interview.

Weaving our Fabric in the Arab World: A report by Naseej

“Weaving our Fabric in the Arab World” captures the story of Naseej (a Community Foundation based in Amman, Jordan) between the years 2005 and 2012, its achievements and efforts to engage youth in their own development, to build active communities across the region and to positively influence the social, economic and political conditions at various levels. “As the report describes all elements of our Foundation and work, Naseej uniqueness remains very much at the heart of our conceptual framework and working ethics, the holistic approach to development and in our extended network of partners - individuals and structures - across the Arab World and beyond”, says Hania Aswad, Executive Director of the Foundation.

A Different Kind of Wealth: Mapping a Baseline of African Community Foundations

This report, written by Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight, is a first attempt to establish a baseline for the field of community foundations and other types of community philanthropy organizations in Africa. This is an important field united by a focus on building local assets, promoting local giving and strengthening the communities in which these organizations operate. The report draws on data collected by the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF), both through its grantmaking and knowledge building programme, and information provided by non‑grantee partners interested in being included in this cohort.

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