By Lina Constantinovici
The Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) convened in Redwood City, Calif. April 23-25, with participation from foundations, NGOs, and international development and aid agencies. In its fourteenth year, the forum is produced by the World Affairs Council.
The event launched in 2001 with a regional Silicon Valley focus, then evolved to a focus on American philanthropists and more recently a focus on global philanthropists, according to Jane Wales, CEO of Global Philanthropy Forum and World Affairs Council, and vice president of the Aspen Institute. In the past couple of years, GPF has launched three regional events: Brazilian Philanthropy Forum and Philanthropy Asia Summit in 2012, and the African Philanthropy Forum in February of this year. “GPF is expanding its reach through the creation of the regional affiliates and partnerships in emerging economies where strategic philanthropy is on the rise.” according to Cory Porter, communications director. The Global Philanthropy Forum currently numbers 1,800 members that span every continent.
This year’s theme is “Global Goals, Citizen Solutions,” with three main areas of focus: Planet (Earth’s Changing Physiology), People (Demographic Change) and Philanthropy (Redefining Philanthropy). Foundation collaboration, leadership, women and girls, and venture philanthropy/impact investing were reoccurring trends in the panel discussions, keynotes and breakout sessions over the three days. MacArthur Foundation and MasterCard Foundation shared insights from their two-year, $24 million partnership focused on secondary education, while the president of the World Bank Group called for a broader spectrum of funding options and models for international sustainable development.
Speakers included foundations like Skoll, Packard, Hilton, Aga Khan, Rockefeller Brothers, Heron, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Ford, international organizations such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UNDP, Global Fund for Women, the International Finance Corporation, Institute for the Future, Transparency International, BSR, Center for Global Development, Conservation International and NEXUS. The forum also attracted NGOs like Teach for All, Lybian Women’s Platform for Peace, Shining Hope for Communities, Helpage International, Sanergy, Groundwork and buy42.com — China’s first online charity shop — with corporate presence from UBS, Monitor Deloitte and PayPal.
Gro Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, a member of the Elders, and chair of the Brundtland Commission that defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, closed the event with the assertion: “Health systems and basic education are crucial to the success of any viable government”.
Lina Constantinovici, MBA, is building an economy that creates conditions conducive to life as the Founder and CEO of StartupNectar, an incubator for early-stage breakthrough solutions in the water, energy, and material science space. Lina’s work is focused on innovation in early-stage funding and support for for-profit and non-profit solutions that have the potential to address key global challenges with an eco-system approach, as well as on contributing to evolving our macro-economic structures towards more sustainable ones. Lina has also been designing education programs and curricula that build capacity to navigate an increasingly complex world.