Posts Tagged ‘GPF’

Jeff Skoll, the first President of Ebay, has given $100 million dollars to start a new foundation called the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund.  According to a NY Times article yesterday, the organization will address urgent crises such as water shortages, pandemics and the Middle East conflict.  The Urgent Threats Fund will be led by former Google philanthropy guru Larry Brilliant (see our blog post here), and is intended to leverage the work done by the rest of the Skoll Foundation in supporting and celebrating social entrepreneurs.

“What I’ve been aiming at all these years is to try and address these big social issues in the world,” Mr. Skoll said, “but in the last five years or so, certain issues have emerged very clearly that, if we don’t get ahead of them soon, all of the other things we’re trying to do, whether improving the lives of women or preservation of species or girls’ education, won’t really matter.”

Mr. Skoll is making a name for himself in pioneering new means of using philanthropy for social good, and we hope his innovation inspires further creativity.

Watch Jeff Skoll speak at last year’s GPF here, and listen to Larry Brilliant’s GPF remarks here.

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Gareth Evans, a former Australian Foreign Minister and President of International Crisis Group, joined us yesterday for a noontime program to explore why the world has stood by so many times while governments failed to protect their own people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes against humanity.

As the co-chair of the international commission that initiated the Responsibility to Protect idea in 2001, Evans spoke yesterday with our CEO & President, Jane Wales on the implications for R2P in the Obama Administration.  Listen to the full program here.  You can hear Evans speak more on the development of the R2P norm and its prospects for implementation in this video from last year’s GPF conference.

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The Philanthropy News Digest spoke with Jane Wales, the co-founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum and president and CEO of the World Affairs Council about the world’s poor, the global economic crisis, its effect on philanthropy, and the Obama administration’s interest in social innovation.

Read the full interview: Jane Wales, President and Co-Founder, Global Philanthropy Forum: Philanthropy and Social Innovation.

The last four Newsmakers recognized by the Philanthropy News Digest will be speaking at the Global Philanthropy Forum’s 2009 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., April 22-24. See all the articles here.

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The Center for High Impact Philanthropy released a report this month titled “Lifting the Burden of Malaria: An Investment Guide for Impact Driven Philanthropy.”  In it, the authors synthesize data on effective malaria control strategies, consider funding trends and nonprofit performance data, and interview malaria specialists and public health practitioners to help you get to smarter decisions faster.  They recommend strategies to address critical unmet needs and dole out practical advice on evaluating potential investments and assessing post-donation impact.

The report cites our Global Philanthropy Forum Index on Intermediaries as a resource for interested philanthropists to find supportive organizations to help them navigate through the challenges of work in their interest area.

To learn more about efforts underway to combat malaria, check out the CDC site and the RollBackMalaria partnership, a joint effort of the WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and World Bank.

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At this year’s Global Philanthropy Forum annual conference, we will be exploring ways that foundations and the non-profit sector can work with government and the Obama administration to address domestic and international crises. Rick Cohen, at The Cohen Report, recently provided an excellent summary of existing proposals from some leading organizations and thinkers in the field. If you are curious about how the Obama administration might work with the social sector – for example, will he create a White House Office of Social Entrepreneurship? – we suggest you check it out.

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Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party MDC, announced today that he will join President Mugabe in a power-sharing deal drafted in September. This comes after months of deadlock, and while there is much celebration, many are worried that the deal was signed too hastily without sufficient certainty in its terms. An AllAfrica article today quotes an MDC Member of Parliament saying, “His [Tsvangirai’s] own political future will be compromised. ZANU-PF will use Tsvangirai to resuscitate their party: if people say they’re hungry – blame it on Tsvangirai. He came in promising change, and he won’t be able to deliver. If he says his hands are tied, people will say, ‘Why did you go in knowing your hands would be tied?'”

According to the NY Times, the opposition voted unanimously for joining the power-sharing agreement, and many are celebrating the end to the stalemate – though it remains to be seen if the deal will bring positive change. Western governments may maintain their sanctions, despite the growing toll on the country’s population from rampant hunger and a raging cholera epidemic, until President Mugabe shows himself to be true to his word.

Watch Jane Wales discuss the situation in Zimbabwe with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Gareth Evans, and Helene Gayle last April at GPF. And read our previous posts on Zimbabwe here and here.

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In his inaugural speech yesterday, President Obama renewed the atmosphere of service surrounding this election. He drew on a familiar theme from his campaign, that we each have a role to play in shaping the changes we wish to see in the world: “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

In line with this call to action, singer, songwriter, and HIV/AIDS activist Annie Lennox joined us at GPF. In the video below, she speaks of finding a way to direct her own unique talents toward a shared goal. Standing in a plain t-shirt with the bold words “HIV POSITIVE”, she describes her realization that the collective experience of music – broadcast across nations – can be incredibly powerful, and of her decision to use her voice to “raise focus to issues in the most beautiful – way, not intellectually, but emotionally.” Her issue is HIV/AIDS awareness, and she spoke to it with sincerity, grace, and inspiration. She then gifted us with a soulful song and piano performance, included below.

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Hello to all, and a Happy New Year from the World Affairs Council & Global Philanthropy Forum!

We are back from a rejuvenating holiday break, and looking forward to sharing 2009 with you.

Over the past week, the New York Times’ Nick Kristof published a series of jarring articles (here and here) on human trafficking around the world.  He writes that  “sex trafficking is truly the 21st century’s version of slavery.”

The article follows the story of Sina Vann, a Vietnamese girl kidnapped and forced into prostitution in Cambodia, and describes the horrors of her daily life there.  Kristof  highlights Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman who organized the raid that freed Sina from slavery.  Somaly spoke at our GPF conference in April about her own escape from life in the brothels and her work now as an activist with her foundation (The Somaly Mam Foundation) fighting forced prostitution.  In his blog, Kristof outlines what Americans can do to help – as individuals, as philanthropists, and as a political system.

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Celia Dugger of the NY Times filed a story just moments ago reporting that one of Mugabe’s inner circle, Air Marshall Shiri, was shot in the hand on Saturday night during a night-time ambush.  Mugabe is calling it a failed assassination attempt, while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) believes it is the result of an increasingly tense (and violent) battle among Mugabe’s core supporters over who will succeed the President. If the MDC is correct, this points to further cracks in Mugabe’s core support, with significant implications for the stability of the country. (See our December 1st post) Zimbabwe may wake up soon to a military coup, or a state of emergency – both with dramatic consequences.

Crisis Group released a new report today calling on leaders in Zimbabwe to accept that the power sharing deal is “hopelessly deadlocked,” and urging them to implement a non-partisan transitional government that will govern for 18 months leading up to new presidential elections. The report calls for Mbeki to step aside, and allow for a new SADC negotiator to take his place – someone that is perceived as more neutral. “With the meltdown of vital social services, a cholera epidemic that has claimed 1,000 lives, the flight of a third of the population and a third of its remaining citizens facing starvation, Zimbabwe urgently needs a credible and competent government able to inspire confidence at home and abroad”, says Francois Grignon, Director of Crisis Group’s African Program. “A non-partisan transitional administration directed by a neutral Chief Administrator could achieve this”. Watch Crisis Group President, Gareth Evans, speak about the role of philanthropy in Zimbabwe and the responsibility to protect at our GPF conference last April, with colleague Samantha Power.

Meanwhile, The Elders continue to put pressure on regional and international governments to help find a solution to the stalemate, and even more so, to help alleviate the drastic humanitarian situation described above by Grignon. There has been a lot of focus on the political situation. In the process the needs of the people were forgotten. We came to focus on the people and make a judgment on what we can do,” said Elder Kofi Anan of their visit to the region. Read more about the Elders mission here. Jane Wales, our CEO & President, served as Interim CEO for the Elders during its first year, from July 2007-2008.

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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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All health, sanitation and water supply services have collapsed in Zimbabwe. A nationwide cholera epidemic is spreading, almost half of the population is in need of food aid, water is in short supply, and the government remains deadlocked over a power sharing agreement. This morning, about 40 soldiers began looting shops in downtown Harare and marching through the streets, recruiting sympathizers, chanting “enough is enough” after growing impatient while waiting in long bank lines for their salaries. The riot was the third to take place this week. But today, these looters were President Mugabe’s own soldiers – the men who normally put down riots, not incite them. Never before have Mugabe’s own security forces acted out against the state, and the significance should not be ignored. They are the core of his support, and if he loses them, he may lose everything.

The riots come just a few days after Elders Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, Jimmy Carter, former US President, and Graca Maçhel, human rights activist, attempted to visit the country to assess the humanitarian situation. Mugabe denied them entry visas, and so the Elders met with refugees outside the country and chastised the international community – particularly southern African leaders – for not doing more to help end the crisis. Jane Wales, World Affairs Council CEO & President, served as the Acting CEO for the Elders in their first year, from July 2007 until July 2008.

In April, Jane Wales spoke in conversation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the Elders, at the Global Philanthropy Forum 2008 conference in Redwood City. Also present were Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, and Gareth Evans, President of Crisis Group.

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Beginning at about 1min and 20 seconds in, they speak about the situation in Zimbabwe and options for the country going forward.

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