549 posts categorized "International Affairs/Development"

Who is engaging, how, and on behalf of which social issues?: A commentary by Natalye Paquin

May 16, 2022

Young woman_megaphone_protest_social_justice_GettyImages_LeoPatriziFor nearly two and a half years, we’ve shared one collective experience around the world. And while most of us are ready to leave behind the years of fear, uncertainty, and loss, we should think twice before rushing to get back to our “old lives,” and for good reason.  

History tells us that pandemics and other crises can be catalysts for rebuilding society in new and better ways. If we seek to get back to our old ways, we—especially in the nonprofit sector—are missing an opportunity to take this historic moment to address the fractured systems and stark inequities the global pandemic has exposed, exacerbated, and solidified. We cannot be “done” when there is still so much to do.  

At Points of Light, we’ve been shining a light on the organizations and individuals serving as those catalysts for rebuilding society. We continue to uplift hundreds of stories of light so those changemakers who have taken action, supported their communities, and made each day just a little better for others can inspire a movement.

Beyond sharing stories, we also need to take this opportunity to meaningfully study the nonprofit sector and determine how organizations can make an impact amid this “new normal.” We’ve been asking ourselves: Who is taking action? In what ways are they engaging and on behalf of which social issues? And for those who are not engaging, why not?

Points of Light just released Civic Life Today: The State of Global Civic Engagement, a series of five in-depth reports that provide insight into the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and the barriers they face—globally and across the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and India—to help us begin to answer these questions. Here are some of the key findings from our research....

Read the full commentary by Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Leo Patrizi)

How to support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine: A commentary by Christian De Vos

May 12, 2022

Migration crisis on the border with Belarus_GettyImages_NzpnIn its violent and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, Russia has launched indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the places where they gather, including hospitals, schools, and humanitarian corridors. Thousands of civilians, including children, have been killed and many more injured. Thousands more are in danger of dying in besieged areas cut off from water, food, and electricity. Almost five million refugees have already fled the country, while nearly eight million are internally displaced within Ukraine. Millions more remain at grave risk.

The global spotlight on and solidarity with Ukrainians have been inspiring, with governments, organizations, and individuals rallying in support of Ukraine and its vast humanitarian needs. Still, philanthropic funders can do more and do better to alleviate suffering in Ukraine, meet humanitarian imperatives, and support justice and accountability in several key areas of need.

Here we offer six approaches that should guide where and how philanthropic organizations can support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine....

Read the full commentary by Christian De Vos, director of research and investigations at Physicians for Human Rights.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Nzpn)

Review: 'George Soros: A Life in Full'

April 26, 2022

Book_cover_George_Soros_A_Life_in_FullIt feels like our idea of an “open society” is in retreat. Wherever we look—be it the United States, where anti-democratic forces are rolling back voting rights; or Russia, where opposition leaders are imprisoned and restrictive press freedoms make it nearly impossible to report the news; or Hungary, where its nationalist, authoritarian president has been elected to a fourth term; or Ukraine, where the very existence of a free and democratic country is being challenged with military force—our notions of justice, rights, and political freedom are under threat. What we are learning in these precipitous times is that the truths we hold to be self-evident are in fact won—and lost—by our own willingness to nurture and defend them. And that is something George Soros understands very well.

The day before the publication of George Soros: A Life in Full, edited by longtime Soros publisher Peter L.W. Osnos, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) announced a $25 million pledge to launch the $100 million Ukraine Democracy Fund in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor. This timing could not have been more appropriate, reflecting the urgency of the moment to support Ukrainian civil society and bolster relief efforts, while opening a window on the life and work of one of the last half-century’s more remarkable philanthropists. Soros, at the age of 91, is where he has always been: outspoken on his values and out front in his support of a world that embraces universal justice, human rights, political freedom, education, public health, and a free press....

Read the full commentary by Daniel X. Matz, contributing editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

The only promising pathway to bringing about the peace and resilience: A commentary by May Boeve

April 22, 2022

End fossil fuel-funded wars, support a just transition

Earth_nypl_unsplashFor years, the climate movement has been demonstrating to political leaders that a transition to renewable energy is the only promising pathway to bringing about the peace and resilience we all deserve. This Earth Day, our movement is calling for an end to fossil fuel-funded wars.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has underlined the insidious and often deceptive ways in which fossil fuels have leaked into every aspect of the global order. While Russia’s military has been built on the back of fossil fuel profits, in this context, energy dependency has proved to be both a weapon and a weakness. It has limited the global community’s ability to respond in a way that doesn’t disproportionately impact average people and communities for whom this war—and others—lies beyond their control.

We applaud the recent decisions of the United States and the United Kingdom to ban all imports of Russian oil and gas, and hope the European Union enacts its proposed ban on Russian coal. Still, more must be done....

Read the full commentary by May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.

(Photo credit: New York Public Library via unsplash)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

An international community for LGBTQ youth: A Q&A with Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director, Trevor Project

April 21, 2022

Headshot_Amit Paley_Trevor_ProejctAmit Paley is the CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. Before diving into the world of philanthropy, Paley was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the global consulting firm’s LGBTQ group and spearheaded its efforts on inclusion for transgender and nonbinary people. Before his work at McKinsey, Paley was a reporter at the Washington Post, where he covered numerous beats, including as a foreign correspondent based in the paper’s Baghdad bureau. His coverage earned him a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. 

Paley began his work with the Trevor Project as a counselor on the 24/7 TrevorLifeline in 2011, where he continues to take calls. Paley is the first volunteer in the organization’s history to become CEO and has served in the position since 2017. Under his leadership, the organization has built and launched an integrated crisis services platform, expanded its chat and text services to 24/7, and more than quadrupled the number of youth served each month. 

Earlier this year, the Trevor Project announced plans to launch its crisis services in Mexico. PND asked Paley about his expectations for the international expansion and what it means for the organization in the long run. 

Philanthropy News Digest: As a former counselor, what do you think is the most important trait to look for in the first crop of volunteers in Mexico?  

Amit Paley: While the geography will be different, the goal will be the same: The Trevor Project’s crisis services volunteers are trained to support LGBTQ young people who reach out to us when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk. Outside of being passionate about our mission to end LGBTQ youth suicide, we look for volunteers who embody empathy and understanding and are committed to this life-saving work.

For the last 10 years, I have been a crisis counselor for TrevorLifeline, which has kept me grounded and centered on our mission, even as Trevor continues to grow and expand. This is a pivotal moment for our organization, and the first group of counselors that we train in Mexico will play a crucial role in helping establish Trevor as a trusted resource for LGBTQ youth around the world....

Read the full Q&A with Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project.

Scalable digital delivery with on-the-ground partner organizations: A commentary by Rebecca Chandler Leege

April 07, 2022

Indian_girl_and_mother_tablet_GettyImages_Ankit SahOver two decades of work in international development and education, I’ve often heard the claim that educational development initiatives aren’t scalable. I’ve seen firsthand that this is not true. In just over a decade, my organization, Worldreader, has reached 20 million readers across the globe. That’s no small feat! But we also know there are millions more children who deserve the opportunity to read regularly. We’ve learned lessons that will help us reach our next 200 million readers, in partnership with our colleagues across the development sector.

Our concept—scalable digital delivery with on-the-ground partner organizations—has brought reading to families in under-resourced communities the world over, and it’s a model that works across educational initiatives. I believe that digital delivery will play a critical role for any educational development organization planning to roll out programs—if we learn the right lessons.

Read the full commentary by Rebecca Chandler Leege, chief impact officer at Worldreader.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Ankit Sah) 

Ukrainian civil society working to meet urgent needs: A commentary by Svitlana Bakhshaliieva

April 01, 2022

Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev_GettyImages_DmyToHelping Ukrainian civil society meet urgent needs during and after the war

Ukrainian civil society received a significant boost in 2014, when the need for charitable assistance increased sharply during the Revolution of Dignity as well as after the occupation of Crimea and the start of the war in eastern Ukraine. NGOs and charitable foundations have since proven to be an effective driving force for coordinating aid and meeting civic needs, which has helped catalyze the institutionalization of the social sector in Ukraine. Today, there are more foundations that can work efficiently and systematically, and as we have seen since the start of the war in February, civil society is able to quickly adapt to new conditions to meet current challenges.

For example, a few days into the current war, the Alexey Stavnitser Foundation, together with relevant government ministries, the armed forces, and representatives of Ukrainian businesses, set up a warehouse in Poland to collect medicines and humanitarian aid from abroad. A few days later, the executive director of the Olena Pinchuk Foundation, who helps with the coordination of aid procurement, joined the initiative as a volunteer. And thanks to the cooperation of the Ernst Prost Foundation, the warehouse can now accept payments from all over the world and buy supplies abroad....

Read the full commentary by Svitlana Bakhshaliieva, international partnerships manager at Zagoriy Foundation in Kyiv. 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/DmyTo)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

The Ukraine tragedy's impact on global food aid: A commentary by Barron Segar

March 27, 2022

Ukraine_flag_wheat_field_GettyImages-Anna KoberskaThe ‘year of catastrophic hunger’ just got more catastrophic

Just a few short months ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the world was facing “a year of catastrophic hunger” in 2022. These were alarming words from an organization that deals in tragedy and devastation on a daily basis, quietly feeding millions of people experiencing the worst trauma of their lives, often as a result of devastating natural or man-made disasters.

Four tropical storms had hit Madagascar, a country already suffering from extreme hunger; over half of the population in Afghanistan was severely food insecure, with almost nine million people facing the looming prospect of famine; the Horn of Africa was facing its worst drought since 1981; Yemen was in its eighth year of sustained conflict and Syria in its eleventh; Northern Ethiopia remained locked in war, with food and fuel supplies cut off from those who needed it most.

And then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Since the war broke out in late February, more than two million people have fled the country and hundreds of thousands within Ukraine are suddenly unable to meet their basic needs. WFP executive director David Beasley warned of this new war that “[t]he world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.”

He’s right. The conflict in Ukraine puts enormous strain on a global humanitarian system already buckling under the pressure of 44 million people across 38 countries facing famine—numbers we haven’t seen since the Second World War, if ever. The Ukraine tragedy risks diverting attention and dollars from those suffering millions, but it will also impact the world’s most fragile places in less obvious ways—mainly because of its impact on global food prices....

Read the full commentary by Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Anna Koberska)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty: A Q& A with Carla F. Fredericks, CEO, Christensen Fund

March 23, 2022

Headshot_carla_fredericks_christensen_fundFounded in 1957, the San Francisco-based Christensen Fund works to support Indigenous peoples in advancing their inherent rights, dignity, and self-determination. In 2020 the foundation implemented a new grantmaking strategy that centers its work on “supporting and strengthening Indigenous peoples’ efforts to secure and exercise their rights to their land, territories, resources, and sovereign systems of governance.” The shift from a regional approach to a rights-based one in support of the global Indigenous Peoples’ Movement is rooted in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Carla F. Fredericks joined the foundation as CEO in January 2021. An enrolled citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, Fredericks is an expert in sustainable economic development, finance, human rights, Indigenous peoples law, and federal Indian law. She has provided core support to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, serving as counsel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in bringing their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline to international financial institutions, assisting the Maya peoples of Southern Belize in implementing the affirmation of their land rights, and developing a model for Indigenous-driven consent processes and remedy. As a faculty member of the University of Colorado Law School, in 2017 she relaunched First Peoples Worldwide—an interdisciplinary program that engages investors, companies, financial institutions, and policy makers with Indigenous peoples to promote implementation of Indigenous rights. Fredericks also serves as board chair of the Mashantucket Pequot (Western) Endowment Trust, and is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group to the Decolonizing Wealth Project.

PND asked Fredericks about the foundation’s right-based grantmaking strategy, the intersection of Indigenous people’s rights and climate action, and her work to integrate human rights into financial frameworks.

Philanthropy News Digest: You joined the Christensen Fund just as it shifted from a regional grantmaking strategy to a rights-based one. What does a rights-based approach look like, in concrete terms?

Carla F. Fredericks: Taking a rights-based approach means that we support and defend Indigenous Peoples inherent human rights, in and of themselves. Indigenous Peoples are too often seen as a means to an end to carry out solutions ordained by non-native people in power—especially in environmental and climate spaces. But Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty need to be restored and defended because these communities are inherently worthy of the same rights and protections that all people deserve.

Our approach centers Indigenous Peoples as rights holders first and foremost. It is rooted in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which is the global standard that both asserts and recognizes Indigenous worldviews and values and establishes a universal framework for recognition of their rights. UNDRIP is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Part of the goal of growing the recognition and use of UNDRIP by both Indigenous Peoples and states is to move Indigenous Peoples’ rights toward the status of customary, international, and/or domestic law. Our ultimate goal as a foundation is always to improve Indigenous Peoples’ lived realities in every way. This includes ensuring that Indigenous communities know their rights and protections under UNDRIP, and supporting them in defending these rights and protections. Rooting our strategy in UNDRIP is our contribution to the essential global work of ensuring that nation-states recognize and adhere to Indigenous Peoples’ rights, dignity, and sovereignty in order to improve their daily lives beyond just considering the well-being of the land and seascapes they steward.

In concrete terms, this looks like practicing trust-based grantmaking that advances self-determination and is not prescriptive. We’ve moved all of our grantmaking to general operating, multiyear support and have thrown significant financial support behind Indigenous-led funding mechanisms that fund Indigenous communities....

Read the full Q&A with Carla F. Fredericks, CEO of the Christensen Fund.

Resistance and opposition to Putin’s assault on democracy: A commentary by Viorel Ursu

March 18, 2022

Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev_GettyImages_DmyTo_2Supporting civil society and democracy in Ukraine and beyond

The Open Society Foundations have been funding civil society groups in Ukraine since our founder, George Soros, launched the Kyiv-based International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) in 1990. Today, in the face of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s aggression, our foundations’ commitment to the independence of a democratic Ukraine is stronger than ever.  

But what does that mean? It means stepping up our support for those we have always supported in Ukraine—the civil society groups that have reinforced Ukraine’s democratic development, particularly since the Maidan uprising of the winter of 2013-14. Through our locally led foundation, we have been providing around $8 million annually in grants to these groups, working on everything from fighting corruption, to defending independent media, to helping Ukraine’s response to COVID-19, and promoting the rights of citizens.

So what are we doing now? With Ukrainian cities under attack, with more than a million civilians already fleeing the country and more terrors ahead, the international community is engaged in a massive humanitarian relief effort. But there’s another desperate need—to support the continued existence of the civil society groups in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region that provide the life blood of democracy, and who are now under threat from Putin....

Read the full commentary by Viorel Ursu, a division director with the Open Society Foundations’ Europe and Eurasia program.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/DmyTo)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

 

Helping Ukraine: How philanthropists and foundations can take action

March 14, 2022

Ukraine - School after Shelling_Eastern_Ukraine_GettyImages_Jakub LaichterThe humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine is both heart wrenching and complex. While it’s similar to a natural disaster in many respects, it also poses distinct challenges that require both immediate and long-term support.

Philanthropists, especially those with private foundations, can help in agile and flexible ways that others cannot. Not only can they respond rapidly when a crisis occurs, they can also take a longer view to understand the full scope of the problem(s), pinpoint where they can make the greatest impact, and determine how to allocate their resources most effectively to boost established relief efforts and/or launch new ones.

Here are some considerations for supporting Ukraine now and in the difficult years ahead.

Providing immediate help

As the situation in Ukraine is fluid and the crisis will likely escalate in both scale and urgency, we cannot yet know the exact extent of the support required. The following are broad categories of humanitarian aid most often provided to populations in urgent need:

  • Health and medical support
  • Shelter, water, food, sanitation, hygiene, and other essentials
  • Clothing and non-food items
  • Time-critical support for both internally displaced and refugee populations
  • Protection for people in conflict zones
  • Special services for elderly, disabled, ill, impoverished, and other vulnerable populations
  • Services to fill gaps in education and income

Donating cash is the most effective way for donors and private foundations to provide support, because they afford humanitarian organizations maximum flexibility to direct funds to the areas of greatest need. Donating items such as clothing and medical supplies requires shipping, receipt, and management of goods and materials and may hinder response efforts.

Private foundations may also provide funding through a unique capability permitted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in times of emergency: Rather than following the usual procedure of making grants to charities, they can make them directly to individuals and families in need without obtaining prior IRS approval.

Screening charities

Lists of organizations that support Ukraine relief efforts are easy to find online. Before supporting a charity—for any cause—it’s important to ask the following:

  • Is the organization well established and reputable? What is its history in the affected region?
  • Does it have a clear mission?
  • Does it meet a vital need in the current crisis?
  • How sound is its stated approach?
  • Are its values aligned with my own?
  • Are its services and programs unique?
  • Who sits on its board?
  • Does it achieve substantial results? What does it report about them?

In addition, it’s helpful to check the organization’s rating from one or several “watchdog” sites. These resources apply a uniform set of standards to analyze and grade the financial and programmatic quality of nonprofits. Some of the more well-known sites include GuideStar, GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Delivering long-term support: The ‘disaster life cycle’

Crisis and disaster response happens in several stages. By distributing funds and support across the disaster life cycle, philanthropists can help achieve greater impact with their resources and reduce the likelihood of recurrence while also aligning their response with their values and giving priorities.

Based on the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s four stages of the disaster life cycle, the requirements of each response phase can be described as follows:

  • Response and relief: The reactive time during or immediately following an emergency, often with a focus on saving lives, preventing further damage, and providing basic human services. This stage typically draw the most attention from the media and the most funding.
  • Reconstruction and recovery: The strategic period after damage has been assessed, including longer-term efforts to restore a community or country to pre-disaster state. This work typically begins after the event no longer dominates the news cycle and is often more expensive than relief. It also is often overlooked and underfunded by public charities, private philanthropists, and insurance companies.
  • Preparedness: Another strategic phase, involving detailed plans that will help people and areas respond effectively to disasters or crises. Activities may include planning exercises, training and educating volunteers, identifying evacuation routes and partners, stocking food, water and other basic necessities.
  • Mitigation: More strategic work designed to cure factors leading or contributing to emergencies and limit the impact of similar events in the future. This stage requires hazard risk analysis and the investment of time and resources to build resilience and reduce risk. Activities may include strengthening existing infrastructure and developing redundant processes.

Devising a crisis response

In determining how best to respond to a disaster or crisis, here are five considerations:

  • Understand your motivation. What about the crisis speaks to you? Is there a stage in the disaster life cycle that would benefit greatly from your personal network or professional strengths? There are numerous ways to connect your philanthropic mission to the needs that arise in emergency situations.
  • Do your research. This includes staying abreast of current affairs as well as looking to past disasters and similar situations for guidance and lessons learned that can help you construct a high-impact response.
  • Be aware of scams. Many new nonprofits are formed in response to disasters, and while some are legitimate, unfortunately, others are not. Evaluate new organizations carefully before making a commitment.
  • Consider equity. Disasters and crises have the potential to magnify inequities. There may be marginalized, vulnerable, or underresourced populations that will be impacted by the crisis more acutely and may have difficulty accessing essential services.
  • Partner with other funders. Exchange insights and best practices with other philanthropists. In the process, you may find collaborators with similar or complementary goals, which, in turn, will allow you to develop a more innovative or comprehensive response.

In sum, during this critical time for Ukraine – and when addressing any other disaster –   philanthropists and foundations will likely find it most effective to meet both immediate and long-term needs when providing support.

The following are vetted organizations to explore for offering assistance to Ukraine:

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Jakub Laichter)

Headshot_Gillian_Howell_Foundation_Source_PhilanTopicGillian Howell is head of client advisory solutions for Foundation Source, which provides comprehensive support services for private foundations. The firm works in partnership with financial and legal advisors as well as directly with individuals and families. A different version of this article appeared in Barron’s Online.

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

 

How organizations are responding to the Ukraine crisis

March 08, 2022

Ukraine_credit_Joel Carillet_GettyImages-1371827450According to UNHCR, between February 24 and March 8, 2022, an estimated 2,011,312 refugees left Ukraine. The vast majority (1,204,403) fled to Poland, while others went to Hungary (191,348), Slovakia (140,745), the Russian Fedeartion (99,300), Moldova (82,762), Romania (82,062), Belarus (453), and other European counties (210,239). On March 1, the United NationsOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a funding appeal for $1.7 billion in support of humanitarian relief efforts for people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, numerous NGOs are working on the ground in Ukraine and in the region to address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the Russian invasion. Needs range from medical supplies, food, water, hygiene kits, and psychosocial support to mental health assistance for children and families fleeing the region.

Here we highlight just some of the organizations directly assisting  and/or supporting efforts to assist internally displaced Ukrainians and refugees and the communities hosting them.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

The New York City-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has operated in Ukraine for three decades and supports nearly 40,000 low-income Jewish people in 1,000 locations across the country. Through its emergency hotlines, volunteer corps, and network of social service centers, the organization provides essentials such as food and medicine. JDC also is preparing to respond to mass displacement and deploy psychosocial support and increased aid to the most vulnerable. JDC has received grants from funders including Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Jewish Federations of North America.

American Red Cross

According to the American Red Cross headquartered in Washington, D.C., as of March 6, 2022, Red Cross teams have distributed more than 90,000 food and hygiene parcels to families on the move across Ukraine, including Mariupol; provided first aid training to more than 12,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters; delivered more than 32 tons of food, blankets, medicine, medical supplies, trauma kits, and household items; assisted with the evacuation of people with disabilities; and distributed critical care items to more than 7,000 people seeking safety in bomb shelters from shelling. The American Red Cross also has deployed crisis responders to provide humanitarian relief in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Lithuania, and Russia, where Red Cross volunteers are supporting displaced people. ARC has received grants from funders including Bank of America, Key Bank, and Wells Fargo.

“The escalating conflict in Ukraine is taking a devastating toll,” said International Committee of the Red Cross director general Robert Mardini in a statement. “Casualty figures keep rising while health facilities struggle to cope. We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter.”

Americares

Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Americares has worked in Eastern Europe for decades, delivering $120 million in medicine and supplies to Ukraine to date. To help provide health services for Ukrainian families affected by the current humanitarian crisis, the organization has sent an emergency response team of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to Krakow, Poland. The organization will deliver medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding, and relief items to the region and provide primary care services, emergency treatment for injuries, and mental health and psychosocial support services to help survivors cope with stress and trauma. Americares has received commitments from Boeing and United Airlines, among others.

CARE

Atlanta-based CARE works to address global poverty—with an emphasis on empowering women—and deliver emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters. In Ukraine, the NGO is supporting local partner organizations to provide warm, safe spaces for refugees to rest at border crossings and to send food, sleeping bags, diapers, and other essentials into Ukraine. At the Ukrainian-Romanian border, CARE and its partner, SERA, are training 200 psychologists in emergency psychosocial support to help arriving refugees overcome the trauma of war and leaving their homes and also are supporting social services and child protection services at arrival points and on transit routes for the most vulnerable children. In addition, CARE has warned that “[f]or women who have been forced to flee their homes, who are far away from their usual support networks and usual means of income; exploitation—including sexual exploitation—is a real risk” and is calling for coordinated protection services to register and accompany those fleeing the conflict.

“One of the best ways to ensure a gender-sensitive humanitarian response is to fund women’s organizations in Ukraine, and other local organizations led by and serving specific groups, such as people with disabilities,” said CARE emergency media manager Ninja Taprogge in a statement. “These groups also need to be consulted as the international humanitarian response is planned, because their local knowledge, skills and networks are invaluable.”

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) in Washington, D.C., has created the CDP Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund, which will focus on addressing needs among the most vulnerable, marginalized, and at-risk internally displaced peoples, and refugees. The organization is in contact with and can award grants to Ukrainian and other international organizations that are not 501(c)3 entities. In addition, CDP has a list of suggestions for disaster giving by foundations.

“Although it will take a few days before we get a better understanding of the scale and extent of additional humanitarian needs from this rapid escalation and expansion of the conflict, we know that people forced from their homes need shelter, food, clean water and other basic necessities, particularly in the harsh winter climate,” the organization said on its website.

Direct Relief

Based in Santa Barbara, California, Direct Relief works to equip health professionals in resource-poor communities to meet the challenges of diagnosing and caring for people in need. As of March 3, 2022, Direct Relief—which has supported hospitals in Ukraine for years—has sent two shipments of medical aid to Poland for transport into Ukraine. The shipments include medicines and supplies requested by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, such as medical oxygen concentrators, antibiotics, wound dressings, and respiratory medicine, as well as field medic packs. The organization anticipates a rapid expansion of medical relief to Ukraine in the near term, as dozens of medical manufacturers, including Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck, lend their support. FedEx is also working with Direct Relief to provide in-kind support of a charter flight containing medical aid.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with U.S. headquarters in New York City, has delivered a shipment of emergency medical supplies—including surgical kits, trauma kits, and basic necessities for intensive care units, emergency rooms, and surgical operating theaters—to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kyiv. Experienced MSF emergency and specialist medical staff are currently entering Ukraine, with more scheduled to arrive to support teams already working on the ground. MSF teams are assessing medical humanitarian needs at the Polish-Ukrainian border as well as elsewhere in Poland. The organization is also assessing the needs of refugees in Hungary, with a focus on identifying less visible needs for particularly vulnerable people; in southeastern Moldova, with a focus on chronically ill patients or mental health needs; and in border areas in Slovakia. In addition, MSF has an established presence in southern Russia and in Belarus—with its tuberculosis and hepatitis C programs—where it is assessing whether new medical humanitarian needs have emerged.

Global Giving

Global Giving, based in Washington, D.C., works to facilitate donations to reliable, locally led disaster relief and recovery efforts around the world through its online giving platform. The organization has set up a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund in support of humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled, including shelter, food, and clean water for refugees; health and psychosocial support; and access to education and economic assistance. As of March 7, the fund has raised $6.47 million toward its $10 million goal. Global Giving also provides a Ukrainian Crisis: Fast Facts page that provides historical context for the war and its impact on humanitarian challenges.

International Medical Corps

The International Medical Corps, based in Pasadena, California, is on the ground in Ukraine, has created a logistics and support hub in Poland, and is working with health agencies and local partners to provide primary and emergency health services; mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS); gender-based violence (GBV) response services and protection services for women, children, and other at-risk people who face risks during conflict; and medicines and medical supplies, including personal protection equipment, to help provide critical care and prevent infectious diseases like COVID-19 among refugees and displaced populations. The organization first delivered essential relief and medicines to Ukrainian healthcare facilities and trained local doctors and medical staff in 1999; since 2014, when the healthcare system in eastern Ukraine collapsed, it has been providing primary health care, MHPSS, GBV, and COVID-related services.

International Rescue Committee

The New York City-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps those whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive and recover, is on the ground in Poland, working with local partners there and in Ukraine. The organization is providing critical information to some of the one million people who have arrived in Poland from Ukraine and are also procuring medical supplies and essential items such as sleeping bags and blankets for distribution at reception centers on the Ukrainian/Polish border. In addition, IRC is also working to quickly mobilize resources and connect with partners in Ukraine to establish a response that will provide life-saving support to civilians forced to flee their homes. The organization has received a grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Project HOPE

Project HOPE, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is coordinating with local NGOs, hospitals, and government officials across Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, as well as the World Health Organization, Logistics Clusters, ministries of health, and other authorities. The organization’s immediate focus is on continuing to source and ship essential medicines and medical supplies for primary health and trauma care to affected areas, including hygiene kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kits, and insulin. In Poland, Project HOPE is procuring vital medical supplies to be delivered to a neonatal hospital in Kyiv, supporting an NGO in Kyiv in purchasing and transporting medicines and medical supplies to civilian hospitals, and assessing health needs in the Dnipro region, including for those who are internally displaced. In Moldova, the organization also is procuring and delivering critical medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to serve refugees. In addition, in Romania, Project HOPE is sourcing hygiene kits, medical supplies, and medicines for transport into Ukraine and for the refugee population.

“These refugees have no idea when they will be able to return home or what home they will return to. Many of them only have the few belongings they could grab before fleeing,” said Project HOPE’s Vlatko Uzevski in a statement. Within these waves of refugees are untold thousands who are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or managing serious medical conditions. The doctors and medicines they rely on are gone. There were already three million people in Ukraine in need of humanitarian assistance before this invasion. They are the ones who will bear the brunt of this war.”

Project Kesher

Based in New York, Project Kesher works to build the Jewish community and advance civil society by developing and empowering women leaders. Their work in Ukraine is to mobilize globally to support Ukrainian women and families. Project Kesher Ukraine staff are currently on the ground, either sheltering in place or traveling in search of safety. At the same time, Project Kesher activists are crossing into border countries in Europe, many with children and elderly family members, while those in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Israel are fielding requests from Ukrainian women for help with evacuation, support at the border, immigrating to Israel, and accessing emergency support services. The organization is in daily contact with Jewish relief efforts on the ground and in Europe.

Razom

New York-based Razom works to foster Ukrainian democracy and civil society through a global network of experts and organizations supporting democracy activists and human rights advocates across Ukraine. Razom’s emergency response to the crisis is focused on purchasing medical supplies for critical situations like blood loss and other tactical medicine items through an extensive procurement team of volunteers that tracks down and purchases supplies, and a logistics team that then gets them to Ukraine. Razom also is coordinating with several partner organizations worldwide, including Nova Ukraine, United Help Ukraine, Revived Soldiers Ukraine, Sunflower for Peace, and Euromaidan-Warszawa; working with governments and embassies on establishing humanitarian corridors; and arranging for warehouses and points of delivery in Poland and Ukraine. Donated funds will be used to purchase tourniquets, bandages, combat gauzes, sterile pads, and satellite phones.

Save the Children

Connecticut-based Save the Children is supporting humanitarian programs aiming to reach 3.5 million children and their families with immediate aid and recovery through its Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which will provide children and families with immediate aid such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance. Save the Children is on the ground in Romania, working with migrants and asylum seekers in five reception centers. Teams are currently conducting a needs assessment in four refugee camps in northeastern Romania and preparing to distribute essential items and set up spaces where children have a safe place to play, learn, and cope with grief and loss; it is also urgently assessing needs in Poland and Lithuania. In addition, Save the Children is calling on neighboring countries to provide access to asylum, protection, and assistance to all people fleeing Ukraine, regardless of their nationality or visa status.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

California-based Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights partners with women’s movements worldwide to support women’s human rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality, and peace. In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the fund supports women, trans, and nonbinary activists on the ground in Ukraine and the surrounding region by providing flexible funding and security support. To that end, the organization is responding to requests from groups and individuals seeking help with emergency evacuations and relocations; legal, financial, and medical support; security and disaster survival training; increasing shelter capacities for children, women, and all other civilians; and access to alternative communication channels, mobile internet, power banks, VPNs, proxy, spare phones, and tablets.

World Central Kitchen

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK), based in Washington, D.C., provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while building resilient food systems with locally led solutions. WCK is on the ground in Ukraine and nearby countries, serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home and those who remain in the country. Within hours of the initial invasion, WCK began working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland and now feeds families at eight border crossings across the country. In addition, WCK supports local restaurants preparing meals in eight Ukrainian cities, including Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv. WCK teams are also on the ground in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary and plan to assist in Slovakia. Andrés ,who last year was awarded a $100 million “courage and civility award” from Jeff Bezos for his humanitarian work, has said via Twitter that he will commit support from that award to Ukraine.

“It’s hard to know that, even in this moment, there are mainly women with children walking for hours out of Ukraine to safety, to different countries,” said Andrés s in a recorded message. “Every country is welcoming them, and every country is doing their best, but it’s hard to know there are people walking in the streets or spending the night in a car with no gas, with no way to heat themselves.”

The majority of these organizations has earned a Candid Seal of Transparency at the Platinum, Gold, or Silver level.

A Candid Seal of Transparency indicates that an organization has shared publicly information that enables informed funding decisions. Depending on the level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), requirements include information about its mission, grantmaker status, donations, and leadership, programs, brand details, audited financial report or basic financial information, board demographics, strategic plan or strategy and goal highlights, and at least one metric demonstrating progress and results. Learn more about how nonprofits can earn a Seal of Transparency. https://guidestar.candid.org/profile-best-practices/

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Joel Carillet)

Lauren Brathwaite is content editor and Kyoko Uchida is features editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

 

Ensuring vaccine justice for countries in the Global South: A Q&A with Rosalind McKenna

January 31, 2022

In October 2021, the Global Alliance of Foundations issued an open letter to the leaders of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund calling for measures to ensure a fair and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headshot_McKenna_Rosalind_Open_SocietyIn their letter, the foundation leaders argued that the pandemic has “divided the world in two.” Wealthy nations in the Global North have broad access to vaccines that not only reduce the number of deaths due to the virus and its variants but also help stave off economic catastrophe. In the Global South, however, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) struggle to gain access to enough of the life-saving vaccines and the funding needed to support their distribution.

The alliance advocated for two primary objectives: to achieve the World Health Organization’s vaccination target of at least 40 percent of the population in LMICs by the end of 2021—a goal that was not met—and 70 percent by mid-2022, and to spur high-income countries to reallocate at least $100 billion in recycled Special Drawing Rights for LMICs and commit to a $100 billion replenishment of the World Bank’s International Development Association fund in support of pandemic response and economic recovery in the poorest nations.

PND asked Rosalind McKenna, a special advisor to the Open Society Foundations, a founding member of the Global Alliance of Foundations, about vaccine equity and the role that philanthropic organizations must play to help end the disparities while the world works to end the pandemic.

Philanthropy News Digest: What is the Global Alliance of Foundations, and what is its role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic?

Rosalind McKenna: The alliance brings together leading philanthropies from around the world that share the goals of urgently accelerating COVID-19 vaccine access globally and ensuring a global economic recovery. The Aliko Dangote Foundation, Archewell Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chaudhary Foundation in Nepal, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Fundación Saldarriaga Concha in Colombia, Kagiso Trust in South Africa, Mastercard Foundation, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Open Society Foundations, OppGen Philanthropies, Rockefeller Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation are some of the foundations collaborating to date, and they are inviting other philanthropies to join their efforts.

These foundations recognize that their voice and impact are stronger together. With their international networks and experience in advancing global health and economic justice and supporting civil society, they can catalyze more funding, identify and address critical gaps, and advocate collectively and strongly for bold, global goals.

Philanthropic leaders recognize the need for structural solutions, not charity, to ensure vaccine justice for countries in the Global South. Justice means supporting low- and middle-income countries to develop the capacity to make their own vaccines and medicines for COVID and for future pandemics. Justice means ensuring low-income countries benefit from economic stimulus like that which helped wealthy nations weather the economic storm caused by COVID.

In addition to the individual efforts of specific foundations, members of the alliance have also collaborated to provide surge funding to advocacy and campaigning efforts like those of the ONE Campaign....

Funding international dialogue, peace, and security: A commentary by Frank Giustra

January 05, 2022

Yemen_war_Belal Al-shaqaqi_iStock _Getty Images PlusThe cost of peace

War is expensive. Bloody and expensive. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, conflict violence cost the world $519 billion in economic activity in 2019 alone. Add to that the human cost — some seventy-six thousand lives lost that same year and millions more fleeing their homes, bringing the total number of displaced persons globally to nearly eighty million — and you begin to get the picture of the true cost of war. The United States has spent and obligated $8 trillion (including veterans care, nation building, interest payments, etc.) on the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere through 2021. These are monies that could have gone to education, infrastructure, health care, and job creation. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military expenditure rose to a staggering $2 trillion last year, with the U.S .leading the way by a wide margin. All of which leads one to wonder why more is not being done to remedy this tragic situation. Where are the peace-mongers?

Well, they do exist. The good news is that there are numerous organizations dedicated to the advancement of dialogue, peace, and security. The much less good news is that these organizations collectively receive barely 1 percent of all philanthropic funding, according to a report from the Peace and Security Funders Group and Candid — and a lot less, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Global philanthropic support for efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts totaled $376 million in 2018. Yes, millions, compared with the trillions in military expenditures. There has always been something perverse about the imbalance of resources dedicated to war versus those that are dedicated to peace. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in, and undoubtedly, the propensity for conflict will always be with us in one form or another.

Aside from the horrific human cost and the gargantuan economic costs, there is another important reason why more philanthropic funding should be directed to peace and security: Without peace and security, you can forget about advancing any of the other social issues that philanthropy is trying to address....

Read the full commentary by Frank Giustra, co-chair of the International Crisis Group and founder of Lionsgate Entertainment, Giustra Foundation, Acceso, and Million Gardens Movement.

(Photo credit: iStock/GettyImages Plus/Belal Al-shaqaqi

'Philanthropic capital must play a bigger role in driving the systems shift we need': A commentary by Leslie Johnston

November 13, 2021

Blah_blah_blah_sign_-_Fridays_for_Future_pre-COP26_Milano_Mænsard vokserAll hands on deck: Philanthropy's extraordinary moment

Pressure is on here in Glasgow. Governments are rebalancing commitments so that they are on the right trajectory for alignment with the 2015 Paris agreement's targets. Business and industry are stepping up to do their part in everything from reducing deforestation to tackling methane emissions. And the finance sector is raising its ambition, as we saw with Mark Carney's announcement that $130 trillion in financial assets — 40 percent of the global total — have pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. I have heard from many COP-weary delegates that there is something different about this one. Pledges abound, and there does seem to be (finally) a sense of urgency.

Yet even after this flurry of announcements, there is no certainty that emissions will actually be lower by 2030. The updated United Nations synthesis report on nationally determined contributions continues to show emissions increasing, rather than halving, by 2030. It is also unclear whether we — collectively — are doing enough to address climate injustice and the deepening inequality in our societies. And critical voices are not at the table, with widespread criticism over a lack of representation from the Global South. Once the delegates leave Glasgow, there is also no certainty over how effectively companies, investors, and governments will be held to account for their commitments.

And that's where we need more philanthropic funders to come in. Philanthropy is society's risk capital, enabling business, finance, and industry to move faster. Yet despite our being in a crisis situation, philanthropic foundations still dedicate a minuscule percentage — an estimated 2 percent — of their approximately $750 billion in global giving to climate mitigation. This must change....

Read the full commentary by Leslie Johnston, CEO of Laudes Foundation in Zug, Switzerland.

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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