Past Program

Mar 06 - Mar 09, 2014

Value(s) for Money? Philanthropy as a Catalyst for Social and Financial Transformation


Increasing social and environmental challenges, writ globally, are raising the stakes for philanthropy to find "solutions". The deeply complex nature of these challenges, however, defies easy fixes and requires more sophisticated and diffuse systems level approaches. Is the philanthropic sector ready, or capable of meeting critical systemic challenges? Probably not, as seen through the lens of Michael Edwards in a recent think piece entitled 'Beauty and the Beast: Can Money Ever Foster Social Transformation?'.

Innovative funding mechanisms that support social change - like crowd-funding, social impact bonds, payments for eco-system services and prize-backed challenges - have diversified the funding landscape and brought in new resources. The system, however, is arguably out of balance with too much focus placed on revenue-generation, and directing financial resources, through the market. At the same time, less funding is available for the deeper, less tangible drivers of social change - change that is driven by the beneficiaries themselves and is inherently more democratic. Money, while a seemingly essential tool in change processes, can be a "curse", reinforcing or exacerbating the very circumstances and power imbalances at the heart of systemic social challenges.

The objective of this program, in partnership with Hivos, is to shape a new narrative on funding for deep social change that can influence current and future funding trends and global policies.

Session Report

Participant Profile

To explore these questions and frame a roadmap for change, Salzburg Global Seminar and Hivos will convene between 50 and 60 practitioners and thinkers for an intensive three-day program in the retreat atmosphere of Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria. Participants will represent a cross-section of leaders and entrepreneurs from the philanthropic, development, and financial communities in different countries and regions, including research and policy.  

Session Format

The session will be highly intensive and interactive to facilitate reflection and open exchange. It will combine intensive debate with case studies demonstrating innovative mechanisms as well as creative sessions to map, design, and prototype new models.

Program Goals

The program aims to shape a new dialogue on funding for deep social change in order to influence current and future investments and policies at international to local levels.

Five goals have been defined to meet this objective:

  • Map the current funding landscape to locate gaps and fault lines by issue, sector or region;
  • Stimulate exchange of experience and ideas to deepen the knowledge base and identify options for short- and longer-term strategies;
  • Prioritize components of a new funding ecosystem, taking into account current geo-political and -financial environments;
  • Target achievable yet significant interventions that can create tangible improvements over the next year; and
  • Taking account of provider and recipient motivations, scope roles and opportunities for collaboration between different actors, including government and multi-lateral organizations.  



Graphic Recording

Session Photos

View full set on Flickr