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2019

Session 639

Overview

Wealth – in the hands of individuals, philanthropic institutions, and investors – has reached new heights. At the same time, growing inequality, which in part has created these new levels of wealth, is destabilizing many societies. How can philanthropies improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion practices internally, while working externally through grantmaking and partnerships to address growing social, economic, and historic inequality? 

A growing body of research suggests that “increasing diversity of teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” There is a growing movement in some parts of the world to focus on developing strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), but there is yet to be a broader conversation in the global philanthropic sector on how foundations, social investors, impact investors, and grassroots organizations are addressing these issues in their talent development, investments, program design, and grantmaking practices.

PROGRAM GOALS

This program seeks to:

  • Facilitate dialogue and collaboration between foundations and social investors in different regions working to advance internal and external DEI strategies and enhance their ability to address rising social, economic, and historic inequalities;
  • Explore how philanthropic approaches that address inequality in different regions help increase diversity and inclusion;
  • Exchange experiences and ideas from across regions and philanthropic sectors to support diversity in talent management, investment, and partnerships;
  • Expand the network of influencers across systems, geographies, and generations to generate impactful alliances and enable philanthropic organizations to better address inequality in different social and historic contexts. 

PROGRAM FORMAT

The residential program will be in the retreat-like setting of Schloss Leopoldskron, which facilitates trust, networking, and in-depth conversations. The highly interactive program is structured around a mix of thought-provoking presentations, curated conversations, informal interactions, knowledge exchange, and practical group work and innovation prototyping.  

The process seeks to combine theory, policy, and practice across sectoral and geographic silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities. Participants will work in focus groups, allowing for intense explorations of specific aspects of the general themes before returning to the plenary to refine conclusions.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • In what ways do philanthropic organizations address different kinds of social, economic, and historic inequalities?
  • In places where there is not any (or not enough) discussion about addressing inequality, what would it take from foundations and other organizations to take the lead with NGOs and partners to begin the conversation? 
  • How can the inequality conversation be linked to the needs already being addressed by philanthropies around poverty, unemployment, education, and social and environmental justice? 
  • How can philanthropists help change the root legal and cultural structures that have led to societal and economic inequalities?
  • What can be learned from organizations that directly work on the ground on inequality and inclusion issues?      
  • What are the best ways to create and implement DEI strategies, and achieve goals in this area? 
  • How can inequality be addressed by philanthropists through challenging cultural and societal norms that consciously weaken standards of fairness, tolerance, and inclusion?  

PARTICIPANT PROFILE

This program will bring together a globally-representative group of 25 participants including:

  • Senior staff of foundations and social investment vehicles; 
  • Professionals involved in human reasource functions and talent management; and 
  • Individuals invested in DEI practices.