STRATEGIC PHILANTHROPY

Data and real-time analytics are powerful tools in efforts to alleviate poverty, improve health, increase agricultural productivity and educate youth. Data, when shared, allow philanthropists and those they support to know what works and what doesn’t, to identify funding or knowledge gaps and to find evidence of impact. Ultimately, grantors and grantees will be able to intervene with greater knowledge and precision — and enhance their collective impact.

This track will showcase new philanthropic initiatives that have been launched, including those that have leveraged data — big and small — effectively.

MODERN DAY SLAVERY

The US government recently increased its commitment to combating human trafficking. In September, President Barack Obama addressed “the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking,” stating that it must be called by its true name: “modern slavery.” Despite efforts to prevent human trafficking and care for its survivors, there are more than 20 million men, women and children who are enslaved across the globe. This is one of the greatest human security challenges of our time.

This track will consider the opportunities to fight and end modern-day slavery.

 

AGRICULTURE & NUTRITION

Despite economic growth and breakthroughs in sustainable agriculture, nearly 1 billion people still live with chronic hunger. Among hunger’s cruel outcomes is health that is compromised and learning that is impaired, trapping its victims in a lifetime of poverty. Undernutrition contributes to more than 5 million deaths of children under age five each year. It is estimated that the earth’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050, requiring at least a 70 percent increase in the rate of global food production.

This track will consider the role of new technologies, ingenious financing mechanisms and strategic philanthropy aimed at ensuring a safe and sustainable global food supply.

EDUCATION, LEARNING & EMPLOYMENT

In the digital age, the earnings gap between those with access to education and those without is rapidly growing, threatening new divisions along educational lines. And despite economic growth, the global youth unemployment rate remains at an all-time high, with nearly 75 million individuals age 15 to 24 without work in 2012. Certainly, the global recession and macro- and microeconomic policies are key factors, but so too are the quality and the relevance of education. While access to education has improved significantly, its bearing on future employability is still a concern.

This track will highlight statistics for revolutionizing the content and the delivery of education to better equip students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Monday April 15

THE FUTURE WE MAKE: DEVELOPMENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE

While many developing countries are experiencing  steady economic growth, the benefits have not been broadly shared. And widening economic and social gaps may hinder societal success and cohesion. Yet we are living in the digital age — a time in which data, rapidly and widely dispersed, enable us to make smarter, better and quicker decisions. Using data — big and small — we can increase the accuracy of our interventions to achieve greater impact. This plenary will explore ways to harness data for development to foster inclusive growth.

THE OUTRAGE OF MODERN-DAY SLAVERY

Over 20 million men, women and children are enslaved across the globe, for sex or for labor. Awareness of this scourge continues to grow, and the fight to end human trafficking has risen to become one of the greatest human security challenges of our time. How are traditional international aid agencies, governments and philanthropists working together on this issue? What are the linkages to learning, health and human development? How can we leverage big data to identify the perpetrators of trafficking and close down their operations? And will the human rights community adopt the abolition of slavery as a central part of the human rights agenda?

FEEDING THE NEXT 7 BILLION

With the global population increasing at a rapid rate, sustainable agriculture is a key component of the development agenda. There is a need to improve productivity and access to meet global needs for nutrition while protecting the natural environment. What are the factors shaping agriculture and nutrition today and in the future? What are the barriers to scaling innovations? And what are the linkages among nutrition and health,learning and development?

PHILANTHROPIC DECISION-MAKING: OPEN OR CLOSED, AN ART OR A SCIENCE?

What role does evidence play in informing the practice of philanthropy? How accessible and how relevant are the data we gather and share in the pursuit and evaluation of various strategies? In our hunger for evidence of impact — and the creation of a cycle of continuous learning — are we over-burdening grantees and grantors? And is “evidence-based decision-making” the only, or even the best way that smart choices are made? What role remains for intuition, hunch and heart? Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer will share the fresh perspective of a scholar who has entered the world of philanthropy, while Foundation Center President Brad Smith assesses the digital tools that are newly available to philanthropic decision-makers.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: PREVENTING MODERN-DAY SLAVERY

This working group will focus on identifying strategies for the prevention of modern-day slavery. Participants will discuss what has been tried and what is working. The group will identify the gaps in the prevention of human trafficking and discuss the resources and players — from policymakers to civil society and business leaders — that are needed to fill those holes.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: CONNECTING FARMERS TO MARKET

This working group will explore new ways to connect farmers to markets, ensuring that increased productivity leads to greater accessibility and improved incomes at or near the bottom of the pyramid. How can we better support farmers at all stages of the food value chain? Participants will identify existing weaknesses in the value chain and discuss ways to strengthen those areas with the end goal of enhancing the global food supply.

ENHANCING GOVERNANCE AND BUILDING STATE CAPACITY

The state plays an essential role in advancing broad-based economic growth and inclusive development. It sets policies and provides basic services on which its citizens rely. It builds and sustains the legal and regulatory framework within which commerce, social and political interactions take place. And it provides the physical infrastructure needed for modern life. Yet many states lack the core capacity to provide. And some lack the transparency and accountability to earn the public trust — on which any social contract relies. What role can philanthropy play in strengthening institutions, advancing effective checks and balances and leveraging data to ensure transparency and accountability?

BUILDING AN INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE: UNLOCKING DATA FOR PHILANTHROPY

Economists argue that ready access to timely information is essential to efficient commercial markets. The same is true for “markets for good,” social-sector activities undertaken by philanthropies and those they support in pursuit of the public good. Yet the sector — despite its hunger for impact — lacks a coherent information infrastructure that provides real time information on what works, what doesn’t and where precise interventions could  make a decisive difference. Panelists will discuss what it takes to build a knowledge commons — from setting standards and reporting protocols, to building platforms, to the widespread embrace of a norm of openness — and a commitment to field-wide learning.

Tuesday April 16

THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT LEARNING TO JOBS

Access to primary education has improved, but questions of quality and relevance persist. There is an opportunity to reorient our thinking and our strategies to focus primarily on learning (the outcome) rather than education (the method). And new data enable us to see clearly the ways in which learning connects to livelihoods — for young women as well as young men. Linkages to health, environment and human security will also be explored.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: IMPROVING DATA ON MODERN-DAY SLAVERY

How can we leverage data and technology to monitor and combat modern-day slavery? Participants will examine data that are already available and consider what new data might be needed to advance the goals of preventing human trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: ENSURING QUALITY EDUCATION

When it comes to education, the conversation has moved from access to quality. This working group will seek  to identify actionable solutions for improving the content and delivery of education worldwide. Successful interventions will be highlighted, and key barriers will be identified — from cost to cultural biases. New technology tools and potential partnership opportunities will be discussed, and key information gaps will be noted.

GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS IN HEALTH

No matter how innovative, public health interventions cannot achieve their intended impact without public awareness of the problem, wide access to solutions and the choice of millions of individuals to embrace new behavior. Evidence based data is important in informing and shaping individual choices. This panel will showcase creative and effective behavior change communications strategies, which use mobile messages, mass media campaigns, radio and television serial dramas, and storytelling across media platforms to provide people with the information they need to make smart
decisions about their health.

PROMOTING SOCIAL INVESTMENTS IN ASIA

Unprecedented wealth creation in Asia has prompted the emergence of new philanthropists and investors eager to make a difference. However, many lack faith that civil society organizations have the capacity to carry through on promises made. In some societies distrust is pervasive. And so a number of philanthropists have made strategic investments in infrastructure organizations that build the capacity, transparency and accountability of civil society organizations. These philanthropists’ goal is to build a robust civil society and unlock grantmaking and investment dollars, which are now on the sidelines.

INCUBATING ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN MENA

Building a successful social enterprise is a challenge anywhere, but in the Middle East and North Africa, it is complicated further by ongoing conflict and a lack of basic infrastructure and capacity. Panelists will discuss what is needed to develop an ecosystem that allows entrepreneurs to realize their vision and deliver impact.

THE FACTS AND THE FICTIONS OF IMPACT INVESTING

Over the past decade, impact investing has come a long way as a concept and as an asset class. However, the field is at a critical juncture as it moves to scale this market. There are various theories of change about how to get more early-stage capital off the sidelines and differences in how organizations define impact. This panel will have a frank, provocative discussion exploring the true realities on the ground as well as whether and when there are real trade-offs between social and financial returns.

DEFINING AND ADVANCING PHILANTHROPY IN AFRICA

Many emerging economies in Africa have experienced rapid economic growth, deepened democracy and reduced poverty over the past two decades. With their newly created wealth, African philanthropists and investors are seeking ways to help Africa meet its own development needs. Panelists will address the ways in which they seek to foster equitable growth and inclusive development. Linkages among development issues in Africa will be noted.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: LEVERAGING SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY

This working group will emphasize the importance of technological solutions that increase food production while maximizing safety and environmental sustainability. Experts will highlight innovative solutions for improved agricultural productivity. In addition, participants will also be encouraged to think about food in terms of its nutritional value and consider the implications of undernutrition on health and learning.

PROBLEM-SOLVING: PREPARING THE NEXT LABOR FORCE

While it is important to focus on the overall quality of education, we must also develop better mechanisms for equipping students for future jobs. This working group will discuss innovative ways to enhance the relevance of education to employment. How can we change societal expectations and thinking about education so that there is more of a focus on the skills needed to enter the workforce, such as critical thinking, leadership development and entrepreneurship? What is the role of philanthropy and the private sector in increasing opportunities for market-driven approaches to education?

PLATFORMS FOR INVESTING IN AFRICA

In Africa dynamic entrepreneurs often lack the resources necessary to start and grow their businesses. While traditional banks fund established companies and microfinance serves individuals, a dearth of venture capital and financial services leaves entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses with few options. This disparity has been called the “missing middle” and represents an opportunity to support sustainable development through enterprises creating economic, environmental and social benefits. This panel will examine the current impact investing landscape in Africa, identify gaps in infrastructure and explore the platforms from which we can expand investment.

EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE, IMPROVING POLICY

In the knowledge era, independent sources of information, research and analysis are essential to good policy and practice. Yet, despite an increase in the number and diversity of news sources, neither their professionalism nor their freedom is assured. In addition, most societies lack think tanks, and those knowledge centers that do exist are often government financed and managed. Drawing on case studies, panelists will discuss the strategic role that independent sources of knowledge play in development.

BREAKING OUT OF THE OLD SCHOOL

Traditional classrooms and instructional methods may not optimize learning  outcomes. Path-breaking innovators have employed digital tools to break out of
traditional teaching and move beyond rote learning. By doing so, the educational experience can be transformed, including in societies like China, where the sheer size of the student population has stood in the way of individualized student-first approaches.

Wednesday April 17

FROM ONE TO MANY: AMPLIFYING IMPACT IN HEALTH

We know that the global health challenges we are facing are complex. They are both a cause and consequence of poverty and insecurity. Examining how they are intertwined with deficits in education, livelihood and gender equity allows us to identify comprehensive solutions. This plenary will feature individuals who made a personal choice to tackle health issues and are leveraging community resources, health systems and technology from multiple sectors to enhance and increase their impact.

TWO SECTORS, TWO APPROACHES IN LATIN AMERICA

Over the past 15 years, smart policies have brought positive change to fast-growing Latin American economies, significantly increasing the middle class in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Persistent inequality, however, can undermine the success of these societies. In this plenary, two social investors and a business executive will explore the roles of their respective sectors in advancing inclusive development in the region.

THE CHOICES WE WILL MAKE

Digital tools, social media and new wealth in Africa,  Latin America and Asia provide new resources for tackling modern-day slavery, hunger, and lack of education and employment opportunities. Strategic philanthropists are seeking ways to deploy them more creatively, collaboratively and effectively across geographies and sectors. But, we know that the challenges we face, as well as their solutions, are the result of millions of individual choices. We will reflect on what some of our choices are – and how they might be informed.