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Is Philanthropy Using Inequitable Practices to Achieve Equity?
Is Philanthropy Using Inequitable Practices to Achieve Equity?
By: Lindsay Hill & Dwayne Proctor 

Lindsay Hill, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Raikes Foundation and Dwayne Proctor, Senior Adviser to the President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation open the new series of Salzburg Questions

This blog is the first in a new ad hoc series, the Salzburg Questions for Philanthropy

Before the coronavirus became a global pandemic and illuminated the life and death consequences of racism, poverty, segregation, and persistent underinvestment in low-income communities, philanthropy had been undergoing an important transition, focusing more intently on how its white dominance was affecting its ability to advance sustainable improvements in the lives of those who have been historically marginalized. That transition was just getting underway for many organizations when COVID-19 hit. Now is not the time for foundations to back away from their commitment to equity in the spirit of responding to this crisis. The health and economic impacts of this pandemic are real and responding in a moment of crisis is essential. That is exactly why foundations need to double down on our commitment to equity and work together to mitigate the effects of this crisis.

Here are five things we’re thinking about:

How do grant processes perpetuate inequities?

Unless we enlist people or organizations we know directly, most foundations approach grant funding through invitation-only processes. The result is that those who are first in line are usually in positions of power or privilege who already are in our networks. That process too often excludes those from communities most impacted whose efforts need support to make a bigger difference. The invitation-only approach is fairly embedded within most foundations so how can we be more inclusive? Are we using this moment to build new relationships with leaders and organizations whose leadership must be elevated during this time? Are we partnering with those who are acutely aware of the ways in which COVID-19 is exacerbating long-standing inequities? Are we being pushed to reexamine our own biases and limitations to better respond to our communities in this moment?

Are we intentionally recruiting and hiring a diverse staff?

Are we doing enough to enlist a diversity of people who have lived experiences tied to discrimination, racism, sexism, classism, ableism, in sectors like education, health, housing, or criminal justice so they can influence how we fund the work? When the Raikes Foundation, for example, shifted its recruiting and hiring practices to focus on equity and inclusion it produced tangible results, including increasing the percentage of our grantee partners led by people of color. The foundation is now a majority-people of color organization. 

Are we transparent enough?

Foundations need to be more transparent about how board members are selected, a process that has historically been very opaque. And, we need to reckon with who we are funding. There is tension in the field of philanthropy right now around a basic question: if you’re going to advance equity, do you continue to fund the same grantees who are not explicitly equity focused and help them along or do you seek out less traditional partners that are steeped in equity and have more credibility with the groups of people we want to benefit from our grant support? We believe it is more important than ever to seek out and support organizations most deeply embedded in our communities. 

What role does leadership play?

When it comes to equity, leadership can be more important than dollars. Foundation leaders that are all in with equity see it as their responsibility to use their power and privilege to shift mindsets and the behaviors of peers. Leaders have been most successful when they take time to educate their boards and founders, bringing them along to better understand how their foundations could have greater impact in the sectors we care about by centering equity in our strategy development and grant processes. 

Do we pay enough attention to where endowments are invested?

There are a lot of contradictions between where foundations invest their dollars and the issues they support. For example, there are foundations across the country working to improve the lives of boys and men of color. Incarceration is one of those threats to improved lives, however, those same foundations may be investing in companies that profit off mass incarceration like telecommunications, transportation or food vending. How are we reconciling this? 

It is easy to say that this work should be put off while we manage through this crisis. But if philanthropy is committed to advancing equity it must continue the work to reckon with the ways in which it has contributed to perpetuating inequities. “We’ll do this later” no longer works when we are staring these inequities in the face like never before. And if we aren’t willing to center equity during this critical time, what is the risk that we will contribute to growing inequities coming out of this moment? When might it be time for us to get out of the way for those who are willing to bravely walk in the direction of equity and justice?

Lindsay Hill and Dwayne Proctor are Fellows of the program Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality

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Inequality and the Value of Philanthropy
Oluwatoyin Adegbite-Moore (Photo: Katrin Kerschbaumer)
Inequality and the Value of Philanthropy
By: Claire Kidwell 

Oluwatoyin Adegbite-Moore discusses closing the inequality gap in Nigeria through philanthropy and youth development

Oluwatoyin Adegbite-Moore recalls that she did not personally encounter racism until she left Nigeria and went to college in the United States. Since then, closing inequality gaps has shaped her work in the philanthropy sector – first in the US and now back in her home country and across the continent.

Adegbite-Moore attended Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality at Salzburg Global Seminar to share her work, her experiences, and her Pan-African focus.

“I think it’s hard to correct decades and centuries of inequality. However, we can begin to really, through empathy, get people around understanding the importance of working together… My livelihood and my peace is actually dependent on making sure that other people also come out of poverty and can make a decent living.”

Improving prospects and conditions for people is a theme that runs through her work. She says that she wants to make sure everyone can “take care of their responsibilities.”

Adegbite-Moore is the executive director for the West Africa region at  Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance, a network for social investors committed to building high impact community across Africa. Prior to that, she founded Sheafam & Tam Limited, a transformative management consultancy firm specializing in strategic planning, business process management, change management, human resources and talent management for the public and private sectors in the US and Nigeria.

It’s now a question of what systems are in place and which systems need to change, according to Adegbite-Moore, when it comes to the role of philanthropy in addressing inequality.

One of these areas of inequality AVPA works on is women’s role in Nigeria: Traditionally a matriarchal society before colonization, women today face gender discrimination in home and the workplace. Adegbite-Moore says that the gender system is shifting back, creating a resurgence in the concept of women in power.

Long-subjected to great inequality between the continent and West, Africa has a growing intracontinental wealth gap. Adegbite-Moore advocates for a Pan-African focus, which aims to encourage and strengthen solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent, in the philanthropic sector.

“It took leadership and someone saying, look, it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to change. We need to work together. Our destinies are connected where our humanity is connected. And we need to make sure we make a change.”

Africa has long been a recipient of international aid, but Adegbite-Moore says this aid influx contributes more to inequality than alleviating it, widening gaps within systems such as education. Philanthropy, while meant well, can sometimes take away economic opportunities which would close these gaps. She suggests, “we need to really kind of start thinking about maybe the models that we used to use before are no longer working.”

“Creative, you know, innovative opportunities need to be looked at and to see how we can learn from each of our regions, because we’re all dealing with one big issue in Africa right now. And that is our population is a very young population and it’s going to be young for several decades to come.” The median age in Africa is 19 years old; in Niger, Uganda and Mali the median age is below 16 years old.  

Adegbite-Moore says philanthropy needs to start with education to instill an altruistic mindset into the minds of Africa’s young population.

“You start young, you get into the school, you make philanthropy and volunteerism part of the school curriculum. So people know right from when they’re young the importance of giving back, the importance of giving. And again, looking at philanthropy from a very wide definition, it’s the giving of time, the giving of money and the giving knowledge. So at an early age, you focus more on giving in terms of time. What can you do as an individual to help your neighbor or what can you do to help your friend? Or what can you do to help at home?”

With this mindset, Adegbite-Moore hopes to see a more empathetic generation rise up in Nigeria.  She looks forward to “a world where young people right from the beginning really understands the value of philanthropy and what it means and how it can contribute to social change and transformation.”


The Salzburg Global Seminar Program, Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality, is part of The Philanthropy and Social Investment series. The program is held in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation and Capital Group Companies.

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Tackling Inequality through Diverse and Inclusive Philanthropy
Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash
Tackling Inequality through Diverse and Inclusive Philanthropy
By: Claire Kidwell 

Answering the questions on how philanthropies can address social, economic, and historic inequality by becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations

The world is becoming richer, and wealth – in the hands of individuals, philanthropic institutions, and investors – is growing to new heights, yet the challenge of inequality continues. Salzburg Global Seminar hopes to face this challenge at its upcoming program, Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality.

Throughout four days at historic Schloss Leopoldskron, the program seeks to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between foundations and social investors working around the world, exploring different philanthropic approaches to challenge inequality, and freely exchanging experiences and ideas from different sectors.

Andy Ho, Salzburg Global’s US Development Director and program director for the program, says this is pivotal, given the amount of influence philanthropies hold: “Philanthropic foundations and their donors have the freedom to direct their donations and social investments in any way they see fit. There is tremendous power in this freedom: it gives them the ability to take risks and support projects, issues, and organizations that others cannot or will not.”

The globally representative and diverse group of participants will bring a unique, international perspectives to Salzburg. Ho says it’s important for these experts to network and convene to work on this matter.

“Through my experience working with Salzburg Global Seminar and other nonprofits and foundations globally, I have witnessed firsthand the value of convening. Convening creates connections, sometimes in new or unexpected ways, when participants are focused on a specific topic or goal. It also provides opportunities to meeting others in unplanned ways, and often those unintended connections add greater value than many of our planned one-on-one meetings.”

The 29 participants include senior staff of foundations and social investment vehicles, professionals involved in human resource functions and talent management, and individuals invested in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices.

Over the past decade, wealth has risen among the richest to new levels. According to Inequality.org, “The world’s richest 1 percent, those with more than $1 million, own 45 percent of the world’s wealth” and the 10 ten billionaires in the world own $745bn in combined wealth – more than the annual GDP of Switzerland.

These new levels of wealth contribute to growing inequality worldwide, inequality that destabilizes many societies. However, assets in endowments of foundations, philanthropies, and with social investors are also higher than ever, and research suggests that increasing diversity in philanthropic teams leads to improved financial performance and better innovation, transforming philanthropies into institutions that close the gaps – rather than perpetuating inequality.

This program thus seeks to understand how through improving their DEI practices internally, philanthropies can address growing social, economic, and historic inequality externally.

Combining theory, policy, and practice, the program, in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation and Capital Group Companies, hopes to open up new perspectives and bridge opportunities for growth and explorations across sector and geographic divides.

Some of the key questions participants will discuss:

  •  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?  

The Salzburg Global Seminar Program, Toward a More Inclusive and Diverse Global Philanthropy: Strategies to Address Social, Economic and Historic Inequality, is part of The Philanthropy and Social Investment series. The program is held in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation and Capital Group Companies.

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New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact
New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact
By: Salzburg Global Seminar 

New report from the Philanthropy and Social Investment series examines how foundations and other emerging actors in the philanthropic sector can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

How can foundations and other emerging actors in the philanthropic sector help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? This question and more is addressed in the new report from Salzburg Global Seminar following the program New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact.

The program, held in partnership with Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in October 2018, brought together 40 participants from 19 countries as part of Salzburg Global’s long-running program series on Philanthropy and Social Investment

An increasing number of foundations are moving beyond traditional grant making and expanding upon social investing practices, including social impact bonds, program-related investments, and impact investing. The diverse group of leaders representing foundations, academic institutions, social investors and entrepreneurs, addressed questions on global and regional trends around strategic and impactful philanthropy, which inspired, equipped, and enabled participants to develop commitments to action, and apply lessons and best practices to their own organizations.

The program offered a unique opportunity for many participants to share experiences and challenges they face in their daily work, while highlighting successful case studies and approaches. This provided further reflections for the group, who have since begun formulating next steps and discussing potential collaborations to progress on the themes identified in Salzburg.

Download report (PDF)


The program New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact is part of Salzburg Global Seminar's multi-year series Philanthropy and Social Investment. The program was held in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, a network committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia, with further support from Capital Group, the Ford Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Trafigura Foundation.
 

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Naina Subberwal Batra – “The World Is Becoming a Much More Borderless Place”
Naina Subberwal Batra (center) at Salzburg Global Seminar
Naina Subberwal Batra – “The World Is Becoming a Much More Borderless Place”
By: Lucy Browett and Anna Rawe 

CEO and chairperson of AVPN discusses the future of philanthropy in Asia and the organization’s relationship with Salzburg Global

Naina Subberwal Batra is the CEO and chairperson of AVPN. Her leadership has grown the AVPN membership by 254% and elevated the organization into a truly regional force for good. She is a Salzburg Global Fellow, having participated in New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact, part of the long-running series on Philanthropy and Social Investment. Salzburg Global spoke with Batra to discuss AVPN, philanthropy in Asia and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Salzburg Global: Could you start off by introducing yourself and AVPN?

Naina Subberwal Batra: I am the CEO and chairperson of AVPN. AVPN is a membership platform for funders and resource providers. We have 520 members from 32 countries and our members range from foundations, family offices, corporates, intermediaries, impact funds, government[s], [and] universities. Anyone who deploys capital, whether that’s financial, human or intellectual capital to the social sector in Asia is qualified to be a member of AVPN.  

SG: Why do you think it’s so important to have these partnerships and all these relationships between different institutions?

NSB: If you look at the scale of social problems - and Salzburg Global is very focused on the SDGs - if we were truly to achieve the SDGs by 2030, we need to deploy capital across the spectrum. If we only look at philanthropic capital, it’s only in the many millions or maybe a few billions. In order to achieve the SDGs, we need trillions of dollars, and that will only happen if you have partnerships, if you have coalitions and if you bring different groups and stakeholders together, which is why I think platforms like AVPN are crucial and environments provided by organizations like Salzburg Global that bring people together are very important.

SG: What kind of things do you think are important for a good partnership? Do you have an example of something that’s worked well or something that’s come to fruition through AVPN?

NSB: So I think for partnerships, mutual trust, aligned expectations, and constant communication are very important. A good example is the partnership that Salzburg Global and AVPN have formed. It started out by an initial exploration of [a] common interest. The moment we agreed that we had some synergies, it led to a lot of open communication between our teams, the building of trust, and then finally executing it in the form of this program.

SG: Do you think maybe it’s good for Asia to have collaborations with cross-continental organizations and is that why you brought people from different areas around the world to this program?

NSB: I think global co-operation and collaboration and sharing is very important. There are lessons that we’ve learned. And I’m not saying that the sector is more advanced that it is in the south, it’s just there have been different experiences in the north than there have been in the south. There can be sharing of these experiences and then tweaking based on our own regional needs and our regional make-up. The tweaking of those experiences can really help. Also, what we realize increasingly, the world is becoming a much more borderless place. People are moving far more than any other generations before them, and therefore we have a lot of Asian diaspora[s] that live in the US, that live in Europe that are interested in giving back to Asia. It’s only when we understand each other and we understand the different organizations working across geography are we able to make those connections happen.

SG: How do you think AVPN or any of its member partnerships are innovative or maybe have the organizational capacity for innovation?

NSB: I think innovation, especially in Asia, is across the board. I think we Asians tend to take a little bit of time to learn new things, but the moment we do, we replicate and innovate at the speed of light. Philanthropy is no different than any other sector where that has happened. What we find is that, if you look at philanthropy and how it’s developed or is developing in Asia, we’re finding a lot more collaborations that are happening at a faster speed than they did in the US or in Europe. Where it’s different in Asia is that there’s much more tendency to form multi-stakeholder groups. So you’d find a corporate coming together with a foundation, coming together with government to actually collaborate on a project. It’s much rarer to see that with more established foundations in the West.

SG: How has the history of philanthropy in Asia changed over the years you’ve been working in it?

NSB: I think philanthropy in Asia has really changed. Philanthropy in Asia has been around for eons, right? We’ve always given to temples, to churches, to religious giving, but now what I find is that there’s a lot more institutional giving. In the last five years, I find that millennials are much more excited about giving, and there is now a sort of spectrum of giving. So it’s no longer just grant-making through philanthropy, but it’s actually looking at grant-making, looking at debt and looking at equity. So how to do we bring in innovative financial structures to our giving?

SG: What talent management approaches do you think are necessary to further the Sustainable Development Goals?

NSB: I think talent management is crucial. We don’t have enough of it in the philanthropy sector, and definitely not much in Asia, which is why AVPN has launched an academy to actually help develop the human capital that is needed to grow this sector, whether it be entry level positions or it be people who are looking at a mid-career change. So how can we equip them with knowledge and secondly, and more importantly, with experiences of the sector so that they can look at building a career in this sector, but also looking at finding jobs that can match their expertise?


The program, New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact is part of Salzburg Global Seminar's multi-year series Philanthropy and Social Investment. This program was held in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, a network committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia.

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Moving Toward More Effective Collaborations in Philanthropy
Photo by rawpixel on PixabayPhoto by rawpixel on Pixabay
Moving Toward More Effective Collaborations in Philanthropy
By: Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu 

Salzburg Global Fellows offer their thoughts on how philanthropic organizations can work together better
 
“You can definitely not stay in your solitary corner and do a great job,” says Vincent Faber. Reaffirming his view with a well-known proverb, he says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.”
 
Faber, the executive director of
Trafigura Foundation, was one of 40 participants at the latest program of Salzburg Global Seminar’s Philanthropy and Social Investment multi-year series - New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact. This program was held in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network and took place at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria from October 27 to October 30, 2018.
 
Collaboration was the subject on one of the panel discussions at this year’s program. While there was consensus about the importance of working together, there was also a recognition of how difficult this can be sometimes. Salzburg Global asked some of the participants for their reflections on the importance of collaboration in the philanthropic sector and for tips on how foundations could work together effectively.

“Collaborating is hard and it takes a lot of effort,” says Heather Grady, vice president at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “I think the key to collaboration is mutual respect and each side thinking ‘I am going to spend some time on this because I will get something in return,’ she adds.

“We say that the network is as strong as its weakest partner,” says Ludwig Forrest who is the philanthropy advisor at the King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels. Forrest is responsible for coordinating the Transnational Giving Europe Network, which is a collaboration of 20 philanthropic organizations across Europe. Forrest says, “You can imagine how difficult this can be especially with organizations of different sizes, maturities and means.”

Faber’s tip for effective collaboration hinges on “trust.” Faber says, “I have seen too many prejudices and mistrusts being [put] in the way of success. And how do you get trust? By dialogue - by just speaking to each other, by just being open about your objectives, purpose, what you do, how you do it, [and] why you do it. Just put on the table what your agenda is, your modus operandi but also your philosophy in regards to the choices that you make - as a grant maker or grantee [that] is essential.”

Openness and clarity about the terms of any collaborative venture is among Grady and Forrest’s tips for achieving success. Organizations can’t placed themselves above one another. Forrest says, “We succeed together and we fail together as well.”.

Grady offers an expansive list of strategies to use when working with other organizations. She says: “Collaboration, I think fails sometimes because one side doesn’t get enough out of it so it ends up not being worth their effort... So, find potential collaborators who you are sure you can offer something to [because] they will want something from you… [and] put people in charge of the collaboration who are actually collaborative…”


The session New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact is part of Salzburg Global Seminar's multi-year series Philanthropy and Social Investment. This year’s session is held in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, a network committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session, follow #SGSphil on Twitter and Instagram.

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Is Blockchain the Future of Philanthropy?
Lina Lim at Salzburg Global SeminarLina Lim at Salzburg Global Seminar
Is Blockchain the Future of Philanthropy?
By: Anna Rawe 

Salzburg Global Fellow Lina Lim discusses how blockchain can be used in the philanthropy sector to transform systems

In a world where terms such as block chain and bit-coin increasingly appear in our media, our businesses, and our culture, the time to understand its potential for the philanthropic sector has arrived. This is the view of Lina Lim who works as the director of impact investment at the Blockchain Philanthropy Foundation.

The Foundation was founded last year to research and collaborate on the ways to use blockchain to improve the philanthropic sector’s capabilities and service delivery. The Foundation also looks at how blockchain can help charities access funding and is currently partnering with Melbourne’s La Trobe University to develop a platform for digital currency donations.

Of blockchain’s potential, Lim says, “Everyone says technology is a tool, [and] I agree. However, blockchain can add more value beyond just being a tool of technology… it open[s] up opportunities of new ways of process[ing].”

Blockchain was initially developed to support bitcoin. Lim, however, is more interested in using this new technology to empower people who are left out of the financial system. Lim’s passion for financial inclusion involves helping the estimated 1.7 billion people who, according to the World Bank, are unbanked. This lack of a paper trail and reliance on cash makes it harder for them to have access to financial institutions and services like bank accounts and credit.

Lim says, “Blockchain has been very powerful in opening up that opportunity… the bank will say, ‘We don’t have any record of you’ but with the blockchain, we can create this community-based information… they can start building their information and profile into the blockchain.

“[Then] the bank can come into the ecosystem so they will be able to access the same information transaction, so with that, it’s opening up for that particular individual… to build an identity transaction… with that, they can later go to the bank [who will see] ‘Ok, there is that history of information.'”

Other uses of blockchain are for those working overseas to be able to send remittances back to their families a lot faster, or for donors to track where their donations are being used. Lim says, “It brings a lot of applications [for both philanthropic and business institutions] starting from building better efficiency, automation, reducing costs… and increasing the trust component.”

Trust may become one of blockchain’s most valuable characteristics, particularly in an age where hacking scandals have rocked several companies and a lack of faith in governments and corporations continues to simmer. The fact that blockchain can make information “tamper proof” or “immutable” means that once data is entered into the chain, it can’t be changed.

This immutability is also down to what Lim describes as the difference between “the current database model… [where information] just stays in one place, but with blockchain it allows the data to be shared amongst the other participants, or what we call nodes.” The lack of a centralized set of information may help people to trust NGOs to collect and use their data.

While Lim’s foundation is still new and running on the enthusiasm of volunteers, she suggests blockchain is an area that needs further development and has the potential to become an integral part of the philanthropy sector, especially in its ability to foster collaboration.

She says, “It’s kind of like the Internet when it first came, and everyone’s not sure ‘What is that?’ But then there is more adoption, and it becomes more familiar… in this sector, we look to solve common issues… we do similar projects everywhere so why can’t we have an infrastructure and storage of data then we can actually then share all of this?

“Blockchain is a network, and it requires collaboration… it can bring together the ecosystem, [the service providers and the communities that benefit from this impact] we can actually build that within this technology.”


The session New Horizons in Social Investment: Global Exchange for Action and Impact is part of Salzburg Global Seminar's multi-year series Philanthropy and Social Investment. This year’s session is held in partnership with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, a network committed to building a vibrant and high impact social investment community across Asia. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session, follow #SGSphil on Twitter and Instagram.

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