Past Program

Nov 17 - Dec 17, 2020

Philanthropy, Inequality and Leading Together Through Crisis



Amid the coronavirus pandemic, protests on racial injustice, and resulting economic, health, education, and leadership crises, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty. As economic and social inequality rises globally, philanthropy is increasingly caught in the crosshairs of power, wealth, and responsibility. While many foundations and social investors have responded with unforeseen urgency and flexibility, is it enough?

Salzburg Global Seminar works with institutions and change-makers to align financial flows for inclusive and sustainable development, and to create an enabling environment for talent management, accountability, and innovation. This program addresses levers of change for external transformation of philanthropy and social investment. It will delve into the dynamics of what it means to shift power, agency, and resources in view of all of the uncertainty and crises globally.

Speakers and Moderators
Dennis Arends
Member of the Working Group on Meaningful Participation, Porticus, the Netherlands
Caitlin Baron
Chief Executive Officer, Luminos Fund, USA
Luke Branagan
Director, JBWere Philanthropic Services, Australia
Erica Butow
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Ensina Brasil, Brazil
Pascale de la Frégonnière
Executive Director, Cartier Philanthropy, Switzerland
Ashish Gadnis
Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, BanQu Inc., USA
Helena Geefay
Talent Development Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA, USA
Jamaal Glenn
Director, Schmidt Futures, USA
Laina Greene
Chief Executive Officer, Angels of Impact, Singapore
Andrew Ho
US Development Director, Salzburg Global Seminar
Paula Hunter
Executive Director, Mojaloop Foundation, USA
Cornelia Jervis
Grants Manager, Mama Cash, Netherlands
Moukhtar Kocache
Adviser, Rawa Fund, US
Larry Kramer
President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Lina Lim
Managing Director, Tempus Adventus Advisory, Australia
Ruel Maranan
President, Ayala Foundation, Inc., Philippines
Denis Mizne
Chief Executive Officer, Lemann Foundation, Brazil
Dominic Regester
Program Director, Salzburg Global Seminar
Clare Shine
Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Salzburg Global Seminar
Jasmine Sudarkasa
Fellow, Effective Philanthropy Group, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA
Alberto Vasquez Encalada
Grantmaking Committee Member, Disability Rights Fund, Peru
Jen Wei
Organizational Effectiveness Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA, USA

The program will be a virtual convening and will be structured around a mix of thought-provoking presentations, curated conversations, and informal interactions over six days over four weeks. There will be a maximum of 120 minutes of programming each day, some to be covered multiple times to accommodate for time zone differences. (See AGENDA tab for more detailed information.) The process seeks to combine theory, policy, and practice across sectoral silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities.


We seek to bring together cross-sector and cross generational change-makers from around the world to tackle complex challenges around philanthropy. This program will bring together a group of participants with a diversity representing:

  • Leaders: Executive Directors, Presidents/CEOs, Vice Presidents, Advisors, Trustees
  • Geographies: N/S America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • Types of funders: Independent foundations, corporate and community foundations, venture philanthropists, impact investors
  • Philanthropic sector experts: Associations, collaborative funds, philanthropic advisors/consultants, thought leaders, academic researchers, nonprofits working with foundations
  • Current Salzburg Global Fellows and new participants as well
  • Insights and ideas generated would spawn an outward momentum of thinking and action at local and regional philanthropy meetings globally
  • More resources would be committed to create a springboard for increased collaborative/pooled approaches toward challenges resulting from the ongoing pandemic
  • Increase guidance and understanding of effective philanthropy, bearing in mind cultural, social, and organizational lifecycle differences
  • Identify ways to improve foundation and nonprofit governance through taking steps to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion practices
Session 1 – Program Introduction and Informal Gathering

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Option I: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm EST
Option II: 9:00 – 10:00 pm EST

Description: Participants will have an opportunity to meet one another in small groups for introductions and informal gathering. The session will be held twice to accommodate various time zones. 

Session 2 - Designs on the Future: Will We Still Invest in Ideas?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
8:30 – 9:45 am PT / 11:30 am – 12:45 pm EST / 5:30 – 6:45 pm CET 

Keynote speaker: Larry Kramer, president, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Moderator: Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer, Salzburg Global Seminar

Format: This moderated discussion will explore how leaders in philanthropy can reset the debate and help lay foundations for the big ideas of the future.

Description: Big ideas shape societies for decades. Often slow to mature, they influence political and financial systems and power paradigms across the world. Yet anti-intellectualism and culture wars are on the rise in today’s attention economy, with declining space for deliberative democracy, and Covid-19 highlighting deep structural fault lines. Not all wisdom comes from the streets but these are now the most visible source of energy for change. Mainstream sectors seem afflicted by short-termism, institutional inertia, and the ‘tyranny of metrics’. Will philanthropic foundations envision new ways to partner and invest in ideas to shape a better world for all? Can we get real about the scale of financial and talent investment needed to secure human and planetary health? 

Session 3 – Reflections and Group Discussion on the Designs on the Future Talk

Thursday, November 19, 2020 
6:00 – 7:00 pm PT
9:00 – 10:00 pm EST

Friday, November 20, 2020 
10:00 – 11:00 am SGT


  • Helena Geefay, talent development officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA
  • Jen Wei, organizational effectiveness officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA

Facilitator: Andrew Ho, US development director, Salzburg Global Seminar, USA   

Format: Facilitated Group Discussion 

Description: During this session, participants will have the opportunity to reflect and to discuss themes, reactions, and questions that the Designs on the Future talk raised within the program group. Two former Salzburg Global Fellows from the Hewlett Foundation will join the discussion and share insights about their work within the Foundation. 

Session 4 – Regional Insights on Strategic Philanthropy for Economic Recovery and Resilience

Monday, November 30, 2020 – 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST / Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – 8:00 – 9:30 am SGT


  • Luke Branagan, director, JBWere Philanthropic Services, Australia
  • Laina Greene, chief executive officer, Angels of Impact, Singapore
  • Pascale de la Frégonnière, executive director, Cartier Philanthropy, Switzerland
  • Ruel T. Maranan, president, Ayala Foundation, the Philippines

Moderator: Lina Lim, managing director, Tempus Adventus Advisory, Australia   

Format: Panel Discussion (90 mins.)

Description: What is philanthropy’s role and responsibility to address social and economic inequality driven by government and business sector responses to the current crisis? What are the opportunities and challenges especially in marginalized communities?

The pandemic has not only created a global health crisis, but it has also created negative economic impact and livelihood impediment to nations and communities worldwide. It further accelerates the rising social and economic inequality issues that governments struggle to address, and highlights the widening gap between wealthy and marginalized communities. Philanthropy can never be an alternative to government policies that can eradicate inequality; however, philanthropy can play a critical role in promoting and achieving systemic changes against fundamental drivers of poverty.

During this session, representatives from different organizations will share their reflections and experiences in collaborating with their private/corporate businesses and government agencies in their regions and countries through strategic philanthropic approaches and impact investment approaches, as part of their journey to economic recovery and resilience.

Session 5 – Reimagining Philanthropy Through Digital Interventions

Thursday, December 3, 2020 – 10:00 – 11:30 am EST


  • Paula Hunter, executive director, Mojaloop Foundation, USA    
  • Ashish Gadnis, chief executive officer and co-founder, BanQu Inc., USA
  • Caitlin Baron, chief executive officer, Luminos Fund, USA

Moderator: Lina Lim, managing director, Tempus Adventus Advisory, Australia

Format: Moderated discussion

Description: Data is often described as “the new oil.” It is an untapped valuable asset that coupled with technology innovation has become the cornerstone in progressing our digital economy and network distribution. The current global pandemic has forced us to adapt even faster to today’s world where technology is ubiquitous. Digital transformation in businesses and government institutions has become a key agenda point in the data and technology discussion. Without this transformation, overall progress will surely halt. 

This conversational module will discuss how philanthropy can better access data and leverage key technologies to bring lasting change, highlighting the vast opportunities and challenges in effort to provide innovative solutions, in particular in community and grassroots initiatives to support their missions for years to come.

Session 6 – Participatory Grantmaking

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – 11:30 am – 1:00 pm EST / 8:30 – 10:00am PT / 5:30 – 7:00 pm CET


  • Coco Jervis, grants manager, Mama Cash, Netherlands
  • Dennis Arends, member, Working Group on Meaningful Participation, Porticus, the Netherlands
  • Moukhtar Kocache, adviser, Rawa Fund, USA
  • Alberto Vasquez, grantmaking committee member, Disability Rights Fund, Peru

Moderator: Jasmine Sudarkasa, program fellow, Effective Philanthropy Group, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USA

Format: Panel Discussion 

Description: What is the case for increasing participatory grantmaking in the philanthropy and social investment sectors globally? This program will highlight examples of how participatory grantmaking has worked, how it is making a difference, discuss challenges and how to overcome them. It will feature organizations who are at different phases of the journey and who have had different experiences and different contexts.

Session 7 – Investing in Leaders and Talent Management Systems for Social Change

Thursday, December 17, 2020 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST


  • Denis Mizne, chief executive officer, Lemann Foundation, Brazil
  • Erica Butow, chief executive officer & co-founder, Ensina Brasil, Brazil
  • Jamaal Glenn, director, Schmidt Futures, USA

Moderator: Dominic Regester, program director, Salzburg Global Seminar, Austria

Format: Panel Discussion 

Description: Investing in people to develop their talent and highest potential is a core strategy among all philanthropic foundations and social investors to accelerate impact. In this session, participants will hear about the Lemann Foundation’s approach to mobilizing talent identification and development across Brazil to reduce systemic inequalities through investments in public education for Brazilians of all backgrounds, support the development of leaders committed to social change, and advocate for changes to professionalize the public sector. Over two decades, the Foundation has invested in a diverse group of nearly 700 Fellows to develop their skills and networks to be effective public sector leaders. Participants will learn how partnerships with academic institutions, governments, and the private sector have succeeded in attracting talent to solve some of Brazil's most pressing social challenges, ultimately supporting the next generation of leaders committed to profound transformative change.

Additional perspectives will be provided from Schmidt Futures and their investments in developing talented entrepreneurs and to incubate new ideas for public benefit, done through their Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program. Learn more at     


Recognizing cultural differences in attitudes to having, making, and sharing wealth, the program will explore themes for the future of philanthropy and social investment that include:

Philanthropy and Social Investment During Crisis

  • During the pandemic, over 300 US foundations gave over $3 billion. Many fundersdemonstrated unprecedented levels of flexibility and speed. It happened again with the racial protests. Philanthropy reacted to these crises – but was not proactive, with little coordination or strategy. How should philanthropy act in crises? What can be learned from this current crisis and what should be done differently in the future? What are the costs of not stopping to react? And how do we move philanthropy from being reactive to adopting a more proactive attitude?
  • What would it look like if there was global crises coordination among foundations and social investors? What if US foundations had supported early pandemic efforts in China, then in Italy? Would things be different in the US? What about Brazil now?
  • What are other effects of the pandemic that are not necessarily being addressed by philanthropy currently?
  • In time of crisis, how can philanthropy still be a driver of big ideas?

Philanthropy and Inequality

  • What is philanthropy’s role and responsibility to address social and economic inequality driven by government and business sector responses to the current crisis? What can philanthropies do best to increase socioeconomic opportunities and wellbeing, especially for marginalized communities?
  • How can philanthropy accelerate the capacity to access better data and technology, particularly by community and grassroots NGOs, to develop solutions and reduce the digital divide?
  • Given the current power structures in philanthropy, can philanthropy address inequality, or are other solutions needed? 

Participatory Grantmaking 

  • Is participatory grantmaking the best tool for philanthropy to challenge systemic inequities? How can it engage people on the ground in setting priorities and driving change? How can it help address the needs and wants of communities and non-profits? How can funders listen well to those working on the frontlines?
  • Which funder collaboratives have shifted power and pooled capital for lasting change? Are experiments in sharing power scalable and replicable across cultures and geographies?
  • What mechanisms could improve accountability of foundations at community and fiscal levels?

Leadership and Talent Management

  • What kinds of anticipatory leadership can board directors and trustees demonstrate in the midst of economic and health uncertainties?
  • What can philanthropy do now about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and talent management implications in regards to recruitment, retention, and talent development in light of remote working, recasting of philanthropy, and a newfound sense of urgency?