Community Philanthropy

We support the development of community philanthropy, an approach which stresses the importance of communities having their own assets, capacity and trust so that they can be stronger and resilient.


For many years, our efforts remained invisible – as suggested by the title of a publication we co-authored with the Global Fund for Community Foundations in 2010 called ‘More than the Poor Cousin? The Emergence of Community Foundations as a New Development Paradigm’.


In the past two or three years, however, the progress has been remarkable. In December 2016, we helped to organise the Global Summit on Community Philanthropy in Johannesburg and co-edited a Special Issue of Alliance Magazine called “The Rise of Community Philanthropy: #ShiftThePower”.  In our lead article for this issue, we coined the use of “durable development”, which suggested that unless local people take the lead in their solutions, no amount of development assistance will lead to sustainable results.  Durable development has, within a few months, become part of a movement in which Africans throw off their dependency on aid, and was Used as the leitmotif of the 20thanniversary of the Kenya Community Development Foundation.  We helped to form the Global Alliance in Community Philanthropy, which is a coalition of major donors working to ensure that more of development aid is placed into the hands of local organisations.


This challenge to normal practice is gaining ground as the #ShiftThePower and #Durable Development hashtags have become part of international development discourse, with the Johannesburg summits achieving 35 million tweets and retweets.  Other places are following suit with the development of the European Community Philanthropy Initiative.  We are in conversation with the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief as they begin to mount “People in the Lead” programmes.