22 July 2020

New global challenges and the role of philanthropy

The global health crisis and current societal and geopolitical changes have highlighted the multifaceted fragility of the globalised and interconnected world we live in. The outbreak had and will have an impact on crucial matters beyond health, spanning from education and employment to growing inequalities and new poverties.

Philanthropic institutions all over the world found themselves facing unprecedented circumstances, responding to the emergency, reshaping priorities and strategies also for the medium to long term.

Which actions have been promptly taken? How should new needs generated by the crisis be addressed both in the immediate future and the long haul? Which are the new global challenges institutions should prepare to face? Are new models required to support economic development alongside social cohesion? Is it possible to reboot the economy in a more sustainable and inclusive way and capitalise on the lessons learned from community resilience and solidarity that the crisis has unveiled?

A lively debate around these topics took place at the “New Global Challenges and the Role of Philanthropy”, an international seminar hosted by Fondazione Cariplo on 16 July, with Cariplo’s President Giovanni Fosti and guest speakers Paolo Magri, Vice President, Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI); Heather Grady, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Fabian Zuleeg, CEO and Chief Economist, European Policy Centre and Àngel Font, Chair of the European Foundation Centre and Corporate Director of Scientific Research at “la Caixa” Foundation. The seminar was moderated by TV presenter Andrea Cabrini, director of Class CNBC.

Discussions highlighted a common vision regarding some of the most important challenges, concerns and pressing responses needed at global level, starting with food and educational poverty, growing inequalities and digital divide.

As stressed by Àngel Font, Chair of the European Foundation Centre: “Philanthropic institutions in Europe have demonstrated their ability to promptly react to the crisis and to proactively deliver solutions to unexpected needs, in the social and scientific research arena and other fields. And for that purpose, foundations have introduced a great level of flexibility in their work with local partners and engaged in an unparalleled number and forms of collaboration with other subjects. This crisis has taught us that no organisation alone, not even the bigger ones, can solve any of the big challenges we are facing: from growing inequalities and unemployment, to global environmental and health issues. We must continue to look in the future into new and more effective ways of collaboration not only among foundations but also among the philanthropic, the public and private sectors.”

In times of great uncertainty, the first temptation to avoid is that of using old maps to understand a new world. We are being confronted with the need to develop new interpretive frameworks of the reality, and it is thus crucial to broaden the space for discussion and reflection. We wish to understand and make the most of the deepest sense of the experience we are facing, and improve our ability to contribute to a better future. To this effect, the Commissione Centrale di Beneficenza, our Steering Board, has convened today to delve into some topics of strategic relevance, leveraging the knowledge and experience of our international guest experts. This seminar serves as a moment of openness and dialogue around new interpretive models we can use to look into the future and be more prepared to address the challenges awaiting us with a truly contemporary attitude.” – Giovanni Fosti, President, Fondazione Cariplo

This seminar is part of a series of international events organised by Fondazione Cariplo to foster internal knowledge creation and debate – starting with leadership levels and governing bodies of the foundation – on key global phenomenon, trends or topics that directly or indirectly may impact, guide or inspire its philanthropic work. The event took place at the Congress Centre of Fondazione Cariplo in Milan and virtually.