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WINGS Webinar with Funders of Philanthropy Infrastructure

WINGS Webinar with Funders of Philanthropy Infrastructure

The Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) accounts for a webinar which was aimed at raising the importance and visibility of philanthropy infrastructure. One of the three speakers was the general director of the Foundation Oksana Oracheva

The webinar speakers were:

Nick Deychakiwsky, Program Office, C.S. Mott Foundation

Megan McGlynn Scanlon, Senior Program Officer for Civil Society, Aga Khan Foundation

Oksana Oracheva, General Director, Vladmir Potanin Foundation.

During the webinar, main points were addressed following two key questions: Why is it strategic to support philanthropy infrastructure? What are the challenges and successes of funding this sector?

In his introductory remarks Benjamin Bellegy, Executive Director of WINGS, mentioned the shrinking space for civil society and the growth of philanthropy in emerging markets, needing a stronger ecosystem. He said however that there are currently gaps in this infrastructure- and referenced WINGS’ recent report on “Infrastructure in Focus: a new global picture of organizations serving philanthropy”.

Oksana Oracheva explained that infrastructure is needed for creative professionals to be able to do their work. However, there isn’t enough money devoted to infrastructure support. One way to combat this is to engage local donors- they need to step in from the very beginning, before the foreign donors leave. Needs are constantly changing: infrastructure organisations need both to be ahead of the curve and also to address the current needs of bodies that they help, which can be a difficult balancing act at times. To address the issue the Vladmir Potanin Foundation supports educational programs and conferences that allow the exchange of good practice. There is also an expectation gap: Do the infrastructure organisations represent the needs of the whole sector, or their individual members? Managing expectations is important- funders should realise that infrastructure organisations can’t make everything better immediately, so need long-term funding. Plus, there is an agenda gap: a collective voice and common agenda need to be formed if progress is to be made.

Overall it was concluded that more communication is needed to convince a greater number of funders to invest in the infrastructure ecosystem. WINGS is committed to continue this conversation and build the narrative for the field, based on its members’ experiences and concrete achievements. There are a diverse range of approaches to supporting philanthropy infrastructure that can be successful. One difficulty is sustaining foundations with local and domestic funding: this is important as there can be restrictions placed on foreign funding and this may not be sustainable in the long-term. Effective philanthropy simply can’t happen without good infrastructure in the background.

The original publication is here
 You can watch a recording of the webinar here.