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New Platform for Engaging Philanthropists in Global Development

There has been a lot of coverage of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa earlier this month, and most of it is pretty grim. Disappointments seem to range from the lack of specified commitments, to concerns over countries in conflict not receiving support, to the tenuous nature of things like improving tax collections so that developing countries can pay for more of their development themselves, and frustration that global health was not given dedicated air time.  On the plus side, the $254M Global Financing Facility for maternal and child health, represents another step forward for this important constituency, and there appears to be greater optimism for more serious data to help guide decision making around the Sustainable Development Goals.

Importantly though, in the run-up to the conference, a new platform has been designed that should help mobilize more philanthropic capital, from global funders and local philanthropists alike. Bringing a broader set of philanthropic actors to the table, with their infinitely flexible funding, willingness to take risks, agility in taking action and signaling power to others, private philanthropists can play an outsized role in helping to address our new global agenda, but they are frequently missing from the generic “funding for the Sustainable Development Goals” discussions that have littered our calendars for the last year.

SDGfunders.org, a partnership between the Foundation Center, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, UNDP, The Ford Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation and the Hilton Foundation, has held kickoff events in the US, Kenya, Colombia and Ghana, to engage donors around the world in the opportunity to align their funding with the ambitious 2030 goals.

While the online platform does not officially  launch until September (hosted by the Foundation Center), the tools available to donors will include maps and dashboards that track the world’s progress against the various goals, a list of top funders by goal, case studies of effective efforts and an on-line community to support donors in knowledge sharing.

This resource should go a long ways to helping large and small funders alike consider how they can best align their resources with others. The systemic nature of the major challenges confronted in the Sustainable Development Goals means that we will need every available asset deployed. In addition to hopefully easing the decision of philanthropists to participate in the Sustainable Development Goals, the platform will be the first that broadly includes philanthropists from developing countries in the global dialogue of how philanthropy can best contribute to our new development goals. We’re looking forward to the launch of this exciting new resource and the increased engagement of philanthropists in global development. 

Laura S.L. Herman

Former Managing Director, FSG