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Posts Tagged ‘foreign aid’

Speaking to a capacity crowd at the Fairmont Hotel, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof said, “We’ve all won the lottery of birth, and with that comes some real responsibility.” Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, are the authors of a new book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.  He joined the Council and the International Museum of Women last Wednesday for a discussion with Council CEO Jane Wales. The book project began as a way for the authors to look through the “prism of gender” at issues that are rarely reported by the international media. As they traveled and met with women in many countries, they learned that there are 60-100 million “missing girls” across the globe, girls who have died as a result of gender discrimination. Kristof spoke on numerous topics, including methods of ending coerced prostitution, the need for more foreign aid to be directed at local grassroots efforts, and the economic advantages associated with educating and employing women and girls. He noted the Western tendency to condemn low wage labor, but remarked that “the only thing worse than being exploited in a sweatshop is not being exploited in a sweatshop,” as girls whose jobs are taken away often end up in prostitution to replace their lost income. Kristof ended the program by discussing the decision to take his three teenage children to Southeast Asia and show them the brothels he had visited while writing the book. He said that he and his wife feel strongly that “the way you come to think about the world is when you…see these things and they make an impact on you” and that it is important, as parents, to try to teach their children “empathy, compassion, a notion of involvement, a sense that they can make a difference, [and] the joys of social entrepreneurship.”

To listen to the entire program with Nicholas Kristof, visit our audio archive here.

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Renu Mehta,  a former model (and member of the  Global Philanthropy Forum community!), is working hard to change the face of British Philanthropy.  Together with Sir James Mirrlees, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, they have come up with a new scheme for directing billions of dollars toward ending global poverty.  An article yesterday in the The Independent reads:

“The scheme, which has the support of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, … is simple. Ms Mehta and Sir James hope to persuade the G8 governments to return 50 per cent of any private donation in the form of tax breaks, and then make up the difference from their own aid budgets.”

On March 3rd, Mehta and James will gather roughly 100 of the world’s richest people (worth $1 billion or more) in Dorchester, in central London to “begin the process of shaking billions of dollars out of them.”

Mehta and James hope that this simple scheme will help governments meet their foreign aid targets without costing them – or taxpayers – any extra money.

Renu Mehta launched her own organization – Fortune Forum – in 2006 to leverage resources effectively in the fight against poverty, environmental degradation, and HIV/AIDS.

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Philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates spoke in Washington DC yesterday encouraging President-Elect Obama to increase spending. Even in the midst of this financial crisis, Gates urged us not to lose sight of our future and not to sacrifice our long-term goals for short-term gain. He encouraged Obama to follow through on his campaign commitment to double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion in his first year.

An article covering the speech in today’s Washington Post paints Gates as a new philanthropist: someone who “is pioneering a new approach to philanthropy, applying the risk-taking and results-based philosophy of an entrepreneur to solving some of the world’s most chronic problems.” This is the very same approach applied by members of our Global Philanthropy Forum – a community of donors and social investors that seek to inform, enable, and enhance the strategic nature of their giving and social investing. It’s good to see major media venues talking about this ‘new philanthropy’, and we hope it helps elevate broader understanding of what it means to be strategic in one’s giving.

Watch Gates’ speech here. And read the Global Philanthropy Forum online debate on new philanthropy, or ‘philanthrocapitalism‘ – the practice of applying business metrics to philanthropy – here.

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