Enthuse - Donor Pulse Summer Report is here. Get the report (on a blue button).

Centre for Strategic Philanthropy opens at University of Cambridge

Melanie May | 26 June 2020 | News

A new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy has been established at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.
The Centre is dedicated to examining strategic philanthropy within and from the world’s highest-growth markets, including Africa, Developing Asia and the Middle East.
The activities of the new Centre for Strategic Philanthropy will span three key areas:

  1. Research: The Centre will undertake research on historical trends and the output of philanthropic investments, as well as assess the nature of interventions that bring about systemic sustainable change.
  2. Education and training: It will offer executive education to current and aspiring philanthropists and practitioners, with a focus on the importance of local social, economic and cultural dynamics. The Centre will also offer bespoke experiential workshops and explore the creation of a philanthropy accelerator to scale the impact of new philanthropic projects and organisations within high-growth markets.
  3. Convening diverse voices: The Centre will regularly bring together academics, philanthropists, civil society, business and government leaders to discuss optimal models and practices in philanthropy. The Centre will also have an annual Philanthropy Summit to showcase new approaches in philanthropy and host International Policy Roundtables in cities across high-growth markets.

Dr Kamal Munir, the Centre’s Academic Director, said:

“The Centre will aim to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners in philanthropy. We hope to be able to offset the significant dearth of research in this field and help improve the transformational impact that philanthropy can achieve, when at its most creative.”


An introduction to AI for charity professionals by Ross Angus

One of its first research projects, expected to be completed in Autumn 2020, is examining responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by philanthropists and foundations in high-growth markets. Specifically, the study will consider whether there has been a measurable shift in focus and investment towards specific geographies and towards specific sectors response to the pandemic.
It will also consider the extent to which donors have increased or decreased the size of their donations, or made changes to the typical length and conditionality of their grants – including moving to unrestricted funding – over the same period. Ultimately, it will seek to determine the extent to which changes precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on how philanthropy is practiced in and from these markets in the future.
Other research projects underway include a comprehensive analysis of existing research related to philanthropy in the world’s high-growth markets to understand what is already known on the subject, and a practical needs assessment being conducted in direct consultation with philanthropic practitioners, academics and other stakeholders on the ground in the world’s fastest growing regions.
Badr Jafar, Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, said:

“Today, well over a trillion dollars of private philanthropic capital, more than triple the annual global development and humanitarian aid budgets combined, is deployed every single year. The evidence is also overwhelming that the world’s emerging economies are becoming an increasingly powerful source of philanthropic capital and social innovation. With the impending generational transition taking place around the world, it is crucial to properly understand the diverse approaches to philanthropy that exist in these markets, and the local and regional factors that have shaped them.
“Transparency, technology and evolving attitudes toward wealth are reshaping donors’ approaches to giving worldwide. We will likely fail to address the myriad of challenges on the global agenda over the next decade without making a much greater effort to connect, exchange ideas and partner with strategic philanthropists from the world’s fastest growing regions.”

Professor Christoph Loch, Director of the Cambridge Judge Business School, added:

“We are seeing an explosion of wealth generation that is creating philanthropists who can, and will, reject the norms of the past.  Through the work of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at Cambridge Judge Business School, we will be examining how we capture this diversity while also engaging with philanthropists from the target regions to support them in maximising their impact.”

Main image: Left to right: Prof Christoph Loch, Director of the Cambridge Judge Business School, Badr Jafar, Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, and Professor Stephen J. Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge