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Naomi Mandelstein

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Continuous Learning in Philanthropy

Posted: 04/20/2012 8:40 am

The legacies of Rockefeller and Carnegie-and particularly their ethos of questioning and continual learning-were alive on the final day of the Global Philanthropy Forum's annual conference. Attendees reflected the fruits of this legacy, with sessions that conveyed lessons learned on the importance of transparency in philanthropy -- in our strategy, in our budgets, in our successes, and most importantly, in our failures.

UNICEF's Anthony Lake shared a lesson that he learned about taking an equity-based approach to development: it is not just a moral imperative, but also the most cost-effective strategy. Caroline Anstey of the World Bank shared her insights on how the definition of development has changed in the past decade -- much of what was previously in the purview of "politics" alone, such as gender and corruption, is now solidly understood as crucial to economic development. Her co-panelist, Luis Ubiñas of the Ford Foundation, emphasized that learning in philanthropy must be shared continuously, not just at the evaluation stage.

And new sources of learning and inspiration came to play in Barbara P. Bush's story of young global health fellows in Boston working to implement a community health worker plan that was first perfected in Rwanda and Peru. This kind of borderless conversation and knowledge sharing, across geographic, language and generational barriers, is what the Global Philanthropy Forum is all about.

Jane Wales closed the conference with a reminder of what convened us: "The social contract is dynamic -- it's changing, and you are part of that change." We thank everyone who participated in this year's GPF, and also the philanthropic community more broadly, for the work you are doing in moving us toward increasingly strategic and effective giving. See you next year for GPF 2013 in Silicon Valley!

Watch highlights from day three of the Global Philanthropy forum below, and watch the full-length sessions on our website www.philanthropyforum.org/video.

 

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