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How to do good (better): The future of Philanthropy

by Martina Castro

It used to be easier. You would come home, open the mailbox and find an anonymous looking envelope. Inside, you would find a card with despondent children, or cute tiger cubs, and a prefilled check. Alternatively, you could always count on your sister’s crochet friend to ask you for money for the local group distributing meals to the homeless. And finally, you would leave a bequest in your will to a couple of charities, usually an animal shelter or some organization you had heard about throughout your life but had never had the chance to really investigate. For many, philanthropy would be just that. Although it would be wrong to suggest this sort of giving is pointless, it does end up being relatively ineffective in achieving transformative impact.

July 24, 2014 review

A long and turbulent history

by Thomas Davies

Like economic globalization, transnational civil society is often seen as a recent phenomenon.
From the worldwide protests of the Occupy Movement, to environmental advocacy
campaigns ahead of RIO+20, and multi-faceted development programs implemented on a
global scale, it is tempting to assume we live in an entirely new era of NGO activity. Yet in
contrast to this conventional wisdom, international NGOs have a long and turbulent history,
which has often placed these actors at the center of key transformations shaping
international society over the last two centuries.

July 24, 2014 report

How the world came to save Haiti and left a disaster

by Jonathan M Katz

On 12 January 2010, the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck Haiti. In a country already struggling with huge developmental challenges, the disaster killed more than 300,000 people and left over one million homeless. Yet, despite an unprecedented outpouring of global generosity, the relief – and later reconstruction – effort has foundered. In this ‘Republic of NGOs,’ good intentions have often gone wrong, and those driven by a humanitarian impulse have inadvertently contributed to an international response that will be remembered most for promises unfulfilled.

July 24, 2014 report