Pearl Initiative’s engagement with 300 philanthropists highlights a shift towards strategic giving – News


The Pearl Initiative, in partnership with the Philanthropy Network, concluded a year-long virtual webinar series that highlighted the capabilities of philanthropy to deliver new and innovative solutions to address unprecedented global concerns, such as as Covid-19, and relief efforts to mitigate their impact.

Key international featured speakers included Dr. Lawrence H Summers, former US Secretary of the Treasury and President Emeritus of Harvard University; Patrick Chalhoub, Chairman of the Chalhoub Group; Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of the Wamda group and founder of Aramex; and Clare Woodcraft, executive director of the Cambridge Center for Strategic Philanthropy.

As part of the Governance in Philanthropy program, over 300 philanthropists, philanthropic advisers, private wealth owners and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the world Arab gathered to share their knowledge, experiences and good practices to improve their donation practices and optimize the impact of their philanthropic donations, especially in times of crisis, such as that of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The discussions shed light on philanthropic responses to the pandemic in the United States, the MENA region, Africa and Southeast Asia. This included the people and organizations involved, as well as their strategies and methods to help the communities in the short term but also in the long term and in a sustainable way.

Ranya Saadawi, Executive Director of Pearl Initiative, said: “The philanthropic landscape in the Gulf region is changing with the growing role of the private sector in addressing social and environmental challenges. Along with this comes a growing demand for knowledge, tools and resources to design strategic philanthropy and corporate responsibility plans. This is what the Pearl Initiative’s Governance in Philanthropy program aimed to achieve with this series of webinars with its collaborator, the Philanthropy Network, and with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rob Rosen, Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, added: “The virtual webinar series provided the platform for attendees to show how to improve philanthropic activities and maximize the impact of their CSR and investments. During the pandemic, it has been important for philanthropists to support communities, mobilizing long-term changes that lead to lasting solutions for regional development. This successful one-year project fosters the regional transition from traditional methods of philanthropy, CSR and corporate giving, to a more strategic understanding to generate greater impacts.

Since launching its Governance in Philanthropy program in 2017, the Pearl Initiative has been actively raising awareness, networking and inspiring action, providing more than 700 professionals and leaders working in the philanthropy and corporate sponsorship sector the knowledge and know-how necessary to improve their donation practices and optimize the impact of their investments. Through more than 40 round tables, virtual workshops and seminars and 30 bespoke bilingual resources, guides and toolkits available on the circle’s online platform, the program promotes the transition from the traditional way of thinking to philanthropy, to CSR and corporate giving, to a more strategic understanding of vehicles to have a greater impact.

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