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Centre to examine the role of philanthropy in fighting Covid-19

“Around the world, philanthropy is mobilising to fund measures against Covid-19. Such efforts are more important than ever with the pandemic threatening to wipe trillions off the global economy.”

DURBAN – A new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School dedicated to examining the role of philanthropy in fighting Covid-19 in South Africa.

One of the centre’s first research projects, expected to be completed in Autumn 2020, is examining responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by philanthropists and foundations in South Africa and other high-growth markets.

Clare Woodcraft, Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, said: “Around the world, philanthropy is mobilising to fund measures against Covid-19. Such efforts are more important than ever with the pandemic threatening to wipe trillions off the global economy,”

“But faced with such wicked problems, funding, while necessary, is just the starting point. Global giving needs to be effective, measurably impactful, and scalable if entrenched global problems such as pandemics are to be successfully tackled.”

With government budgets coming under ever-increasing pressure from the pandemic and the global downturn. The growth in emerging market philanthropy could not be occurring at a more critical time. 

S&P Global Ratings forecasts South Africa’s economy will shrink by 4.5 perent this year, while the World Bank warns coronavirus will push more than one million South Africans into extreme poverty. The UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD, predicts that a $2.5 trillion rescue package is needed for the world’s emerging economies as a result of the pandemic.

The activities of the new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy will span three key areas:

  • Research: The Centre will undertake rigorous research on historical trends and the output of philanthropic investments, as well as assess the nature of interventions that bring about systemic sustainable change. 
  •  Education and training: The Centre will offer executive education to current and aspiring philanthropists and practitioners, with a focus on the importance of local social, economic and cultural dynamics. The Centre will also offer bespoke experiential workshops and explore the creation of a philanthropy accelerator to scale the impact of new philanthropic projects and organisations within high-growth markets.
  •  Convening diverse voices: The Centre will regularly convene academics, philanthropists, civil society, business and government leaders to discuss optimal models and practices in philanthropy. The Centre will also convene an annual Philanthropy Summit to showcase new approaches in philanthropy and host International Policy Roundtables in cities across high-growth markets. 

Professor Stephen J. Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “Global philanthropic capital must be used effectively and for maximum impact to improve our society, and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy is very well-positioned to champion these efforts.”

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