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What happened at Talking Philanthropy, the world’s largest philanthropy forum?

10 June 2021

The article at a glance

We reflect on Global Philanthropic’s recent Talking Philanthropy forum, co-hosted with the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Lee Juan Yew School of Public Policy, and take a look at the three individuals who won special awards for their charitable endeavours.

We reflect on Global Philanthropic‘s recent Talking Philanthropy forum, co-hosted with the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at Cambridge Judge Business School and the Lee Juan Yew School of Public Policy, and take a look at the three individuals who won special awards for their charitable endeavours.

What was Talking Philanthropy 2021?

On 14 May, Global Philanthropic co-hosted, with the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the fourth annual Talking Philanthropy event, convening some of the world’s biggest voices in philanthropy. In the midst of the pandemic, this is the first time the event has been hosted fully online. The result was the largest turnout yet, with over 5,000 attendees joining from 52 different countries.

The half-day event kicked off with a rousing keynote speech from former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed not only philanthropy’s importance in rebuilding society, but also its innate accessibility; “Philanthropy, at its heart, is about looking beyond one’s own needs and interests to contribute to us making a positive difference to others and to society.”

Following this, a succession of discussion topics were tackled, from wealth distribution and the role of development organisations in social change, to how philanthropy has a role to play in health, education and the environment.

The diversity of sector expertise, professional knowledge and lived experience made for broad ranging conversations on how disparate elements of the philanthropy eco-system can work together in a stronger, more cohesive way.

Centre for Strategic Philanthropy Founding Patron, Badr Jafar

Our founding patron, Badr Jafar shared his insights on the establishment of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, focus on emerging markets in South East Asia, thoughts on the key challenges and opportunities of philanthropy in these markets.

The Centre also held its own panel on Research Philanthropy and COVID-19: Is the North-South Power Balance Finally Shifting? which featured the CSP’s Academic Director, Dr Kamal Munir and Executive Director, Clare Woodcraft.

The philanthropy award winners

The forum built up to a climactic end as three entrepreneurs were commended for their work in driving social progress. Nominations for the awards had been put forward by the public in preceding weeks, before the judges made the final call. The winners were:

Fran Perrin OBE – Lifetime Contribution to Philanthropy

Fran Perrin has been active within philanthropy for over two decades through the Indigo Trust, a family foundation she runs with her husband Will. The trust has given over £16 million to various causes since its inception in 1999. Its main areas of focus are visual impairment, access to justice in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, and better grantmaking.

Among Fran’s endeavours was the 2015 co-founding (and funding) of 360Giving, a charity helping organisations to publish grant data openly. To date, over £100 billion worth of grant data can be explored for free using the GrantNav platform on 360Giving. On philanthropy Fran said, “I want philanthropy to be the best that it can… let’s modernise philanthropy, bring it into the 21st century and make it as powerful, efficient and impactful as we possibly can.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Beacon Collaborative spoke to Fran and Will to find out about their immediate response.

Marcus Rashford MBE – Outstanding Young Leader (shared with Dexter Yang)

Marcus Rashford’s charitable efforts went viral during the lockdown, with the entire country becoming aware of his movement against child hunger. Marcus did this through founding the Child Food Poverty Task Force, a campaign which inspired many large, corporate retailers to donate food and money to FareShare, a surplus food redistribution scheme.

His efforts also led to a u-turn in government policy, resulting in the provision of free school meals to 1.3 million vulnerable children. Accepting the award in Marcus’ absence, FareShare’s Simon Thompson acknowledged that, “[Marcus] was determined to stick his neck out and do whatever he could to change the lives of young children.”

Dexter Yang – Outstanding Young Leader (shared with Marcus Rashford)

Dexter Yang is the founder of GoodGovPH, a youth-led movement that works to uphold good governance within Philippine society in areas such as civic engagement, education and training, and community building. As executive director, Dexter leads volunteers in engaging and empowering youth leaders across the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

He has also founded two nonprofit organisations, seeking to educate, engage, and empower the youth of the Philippines. To date, these organisations have reached over a thousand youth leaders nationwide. Dexter’s tireless efforts demonstrate that philanthropy is not only about contributing money, but also about giving your time, effort and energy to make change happen.

This article first appeared on The Beacon Collaborative.