Global Philanthropy Update - August 2019

Friday, August 16, 2019 - 3:00 pm EDT
Brian Kastner

We’re only a month away from the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) – and the world still has significant work to do if we are to meet the development thresholds set in the SDGs.

This slow progress combined with a new wave of gun violence and hate crimes in the United States, alongside civil unrest and growing protests in cities like Hong Kong, can dull even the sharpest of movements. When world leaders take the stage in a month’s time, only some of the pressing issues facing communities in the US and around the world will be discussed.

Leading into UNGA, we’ll be highlighting how philanthropy is engaging around the SDGs. Council staff will be in NYC attending UNGA side-events as we seek to lift up philanthropy’s voice during this chaotic and challenging time.

Philanthropy will have a presence at many UNGA events, but those particularly relevant to Council members and partners include:

  • Scaling Solutions and Impact to Shift Systems – Co-hosted by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Skoll Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and Porticus.
  • India’s Private Giving: Unpacking Domestic Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility – Hosted by the OECD Centre on Philanthropy.
  • Goalkeepers – Hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Unlocking the Full Potential of Philanthropy for Development – Co-hosted by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, UNDP, and WINGS within the framework of the SDG Philanthropy Platform and in partnership with Aga Khan Foundation, La Caixa Foundation and Charities Aid Foundation.

If you are planning to attend UNGA this year, be sure to look at our calendar of side events for details on these events and more. And don’t forget to stay tuned to our blog to see highlights throughout September about how foundations such as the Medtronic Foundation are engaging with the SDGs.

All the best,


Brian Kastner
Manager, Global Philanthropy
Phone: 202-991-0953


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This new section will run through the UN General Assembly and highlight recent reports and articles, as well as feature members of the Council who are engaging with the SDGs.

Think Big: Behind a Push to Unlock Billions in New “Catalytic” Capital for Global Development - Inside Philanthropy

Dig deeper into the Catalytic Capital Consortium that was launched in March by the MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, and Rockefeller Foundation and explore how it seeks to realize philanthropy’s potential to achieve the SDGs.

Why NGOs top the list of those advancing sustainable development - Green Biz

The latest Sustainability Leaders Survey reinforces that NGOs are seen as the greatest contributors to sustainable development.

Climate Action and Sustainable Development are Inseparable - IISD

The chair of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change writes about the importance of climate action.

UNDP and Samsung unveil Global Goals partnership - UNDP

Samsung and UNDP launched a new mobile app where people can donate to support the SDGs and learn more about the goals.

4 years later, is it any easier to track the SDGs?  - Devex

Data continues to be at the center of achieving the SDGs, but how will we know our progress if the data we use is 4-5 years old?

Opinion: Meeting the SDGs means working toward open government - Devex

Justice is at the heart of sustainable development and governments need to ensure their citizens know their rights.



Venezuela | OFAC has released new standards titled, “Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People,” clarifying that funding humanitarian activities in the country is still permitted. For resources on how to give, visit the Venezuela Country Note.

Hong Kong | Protests continue in Hong Kong, with black shirt protestors closing the airport while Beijing says there are “signs of terrorism”. This is a contentious and potentially explosive time and funders who are active in the region should be cautious, especially given the ongoing trade war. Given recent statements about U.S. meddling in the protests, organizations who fund both mainland China and Hong Kong may want to be alert.

Kashmir | With the scrapping of Article 370 of India’s constitution, the Indian government effectively removed Kashmir’s autonomy. The subsequent lockdown and communications blackout have raised humanitarian concerns while Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced the action. Funders who are active in both countries should be cautious about how the rising tensions may impact their work.



India’s Private Giving: Unpacking Domestic Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility – OECD

India’s CSR law has been in effect for more than 5 years. This report looks at its impact and the growth of India’s philanthropic sector.

Shifting the Power to Grassroots Movements - Civicus

This new research explores how grassroots groups in the global south can mobilize adequate support.

How YouTube Radicalized Brazil - New York Times

Investigative reporting by the NYT found that YouTube’s algorithm for video recommendations has consistently led to a spiral of more extreme videos. In Brazil, it is the home of the country’s far-right movement.

What Happened to Aung San Suu Kyi? - The Atlantic

She was once equated with Gandhi and Mandela, now she is in part responsible for the purge of the Rohingya from her country. This long read takes an in-depth look at the complicated persona of Myanmar’s icon.

The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism - New York Times

Sweden took in more refugees per-capita than any other European country and it is often hailed as the beacon of progressive democracy. With the help of a few websites, Sweden’s far-right is on the rise.

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