Over the last decade, we have seen a consistent increase in philanthropic capital, and that trend is expected to continue. In the U.S., for example, more than $390 billion–or more than one billion dollars a day–was donated to charity in 2016. While this trend is heartening, our countervailing challenges remain daunting:
- There are now more refugees than ever in the history of humanity at 65.6 million.
- Worldwide, about 830 women will die today in childbirth, and almost all of these deaths could have been prevented.
- In the U.S, about as many Americans will die in 2017 of opiate overdoses as were killed in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
- We now face the largest humanitarian crisis since the UN was founded with more than 20 million people in four countries at risk of starvation and famine.
At the Milken Institute’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy, we work to maximize the return on philanthropic capital. Most recently, we have been working with our friends at the United Nations Foundation, to explore how philanthropy can play a role in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — dubbed the Global Goals. In September 2017, we organized a roundtable in New York City, titled Financing the Future: Unlocking Private Philanthropic Capital for the Global Goals, where we shared strategies and explored innovative financing mechanisms where philanthropic funds can play a part.
Since philanthropic capital is relatively more nimble and better able to tolerate risk, it can be well positioned to get pilot initiatives off the ground and create a proof of concept. In addition, it can be incorporated into blended financing models, which can pull together a range of partners including government, commerce, and foundations to collectively tackle social challenges.
We hope to continue an ongoing dialogue with philanthropists about the Global Goals as part of the Milken Institute’s gatherings in London, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Washington, and our Global Conference in Los Angeles, and we welcome and encourage participation from the Philanthropreneurship community. It is only through collective action, cooperation, partnership and common understanding that we will be able to truly change our current realities. We welcome your feedback, and we are grateful for all the amazing work that is done every day by the members of the Philanthropreneurship network.