On March 1st 2012, the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Mott Foundation) hosted an event with 45 philanthropy experts and global civil society representatives at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC to officially release a new report, entitled The Value of Community Philanthropy: Results of a Consultation. Participants engaged in a lively discussion at the Aspen Institute about how community philanthropy can be a powerful vehicle for strengthening civil society and enhancing aid effectiveness.
The jointly released report makes the case that increasing local ownership and accountability leads to stronger communities and should be a main focus of development aid practitioners. Barry Knight, CENTRIS Consultant and Facilitator and the report’s author, noted that it is very timely as civil society groups awaken around the world. “I think we are now in the midst of a philanthropic revolution. People on modest incomes, and in fact, typically classified as poor, are stepping forward because they want to take a stake in their societies. The report is an opportunity for development practitioners to focus on strengthening civil society to improve development aid.”
“I think this is an excellent report. They made a wise choice in taking their time and spending a year talking to different communities. And I think Barry Knight’s summation of their findings and discussions is right on. I hope going forward these dialogues will continue” stated Eleanor Fink, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the World Bank and one of the event’s panelists.
AKF USA and the Mott Foundation used the event to bring together diverse views, giving voice to people from community foundations, multilateral development agencies, and field researchers and practitioners, all in support of this promising field. Panelists included:
- Eleanor Fink, Senior Philanthropy Advisor, World Bank Group
- Joyce Malombe, Program Officer, Wellspring Advisors LLC
- Apoorva Oza, CEO, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, India
- Barry Knight, author of “The Value of Community Philanthropy”
- Jane Wales, Vice President of Philanthropy & Society, Aspen Institute, moderator
Discussions centered on building a set of metrics that includes both quantitative and qualitative data, showing the success of the field in terms donors and foundations can understand, and supporting institutions that help local assets grow.
As Jane Wales, Vice President of Philanthropy & Society at the Aspen Institute and discussion moderator noted, “This is a marvelous opportunity to draw together strategic philanthropy and community giving. Among the most important things has been the consultative process that has brought together community voices, the ideas and insights of scholars, the views of practitioners and of intergovernmental and donor agencies. It’s about capturing lessons learned in an on-going basis and sharing that knowledge, and that will make all of us more effective.”See the full press release here. (AKF USA: Partnerships in Action)