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Why This, Why Now: Innovations in International Philanthropy Symposium

By August 14, 2021October 7th, 2021No Comments

This post was co-authored by Maggi Alexander, TPI Partner and Director of TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy, and Ina Breuer, Executive Director of New England International Donors (NEID).

As the world begins to emerge on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a new-found realization of the interconnectedness of the big, hard issues we face and the fact that many social and environmental issues do not discern between national borders. Issues like climate change, health, and poverty touch people in every part of the world, and how we act locally affects the opportunities and challenges others face elsewhere.

This global interconnectedness has been apparent in the COVID-19 pandemic as well as in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, which continues to have ripple effects around the world. The crises of 2020 have highlighted the importance of community-led decision making in order to find sustainable solutions to many of our challenges – whether in Boston, Lagos, or Port-au-Prince.  Philanthropy continues to have a crucial role to play in addressing the myriad issues we face worldwide, and international donors are increasingly learning that the best way to leverage their role most effectively is by listening to leaders on the ground, mitigating power dynamics, and cultivating authentic relationships to become trusted partners to local communities and nonprofits.

Despite an increase in giving in response to the pandemic, many funders feel ill-equipped to give across borders even if they have a strong desire to do so. Other funders have been giving internationally for a long time yet remain stymied by a lack of connection and partnership with grantees or donors doing the same kind of work, or they are unsure of how to identify the right leaders to work with and develop trusting relationships from a distance.

At this September’s Innovations in International Philanthropy Symposium, donors and impact investors will be able to hear from experts and leaders on the ground in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America as well as gain the practical skills, tools, and community they need to move their philanthropy into concrete action.

We have designed a program that will give novice and seasoned international funders alike:

  • Skill building with space to practice and learn, guided by experienced leaders sharing insights and practical lessons in daily workshops within four tracks: Racial Equity and Social Justice, Impact Investment, Achieving Impact, and Partnerships
  • Real connection with and learning from experts and peers focused on similar issues, or working within similar geographies, through interactive discussions and opportunities for one-on-one networking
  • A platform for partnership and innovative collaboration, bringing funders together around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and thematic and geographic focus areas

The Symposium’s powerful workshops and discussions, the closing roundtable on Philanthropy in Action, and the three keynote conversations with Malala Yousafzai, Theo Sowa, and Kumi Naidoo that will inspire radical change in the way donors think about equity, power, and our relationship to the environment, will generate practical recommendations and help donors and investors consider where they can have the most impact. The time to act is now. This decade is crucial for the future of our planet, our democracies, and civil society – the viability of future generations. Together, coming out of September’s Symposium with new ideas, skills, and connections, we will all be poised to improve the way international giving is done: with greater respect, with more dignity, with increased collaboration and impact, and above all, with deeper bonds reaching across and into every community we touch.