Worldwide, philanthropy is facing a concerning trend as civil society organizations deal with heightened control and excessive, unwarranted restrictions on funding, both locally and internationally.
In the domestic arena, barriers on the ability of civil society organizations to incorporate, operate and receive funding are pervasive in far too many locations. With respect to the international context, over the past several years, dozens of countries have adopted new laws and regulations that hinder cross-border funding, often under the guise of protecting security or preserving sovereignty. As a consequence, grantmakers and the groups they seek to support are faced with additional, onerous obstacles and administrative requirements or, worse yet, outright bans on the receipt of foreign funding by civil society organizations (or other non-profit groups). Indeed, as grantmakers face increasing impediments to supporting civil society, this growing trend has profound implications for philanthropy infrastructure organizations.
This week, WINGS will be hosting a workshop at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon to discuss these and other issues related to the enabling environment for philanthropy. The goal of this workshop is to advance our understanding and respond to the trend of increased control, unsupportive legal and regulatory frameworks and excessive, burdensome restrictions on funding in both domestic and cross- border settings. Is there a niche role for infrastructure support organizations to address collectively the problems faced by local and cross-border grant- makers and social investors?
The workshop will provide an opportunity for WINGS members to (i) consider the current situation regarding the enabling – or disenabling – environment for philanthropy; (ii) discuss the role of philanthropy support organizations that are concerned about these matters; (iii) explore possible strategies and approaches to address these barriers and improve the giving environment; and (iv) produce a document or tool to be used widely by philanthropy infrastructure leaders in their advocacy for an enabling environment for global philanthropy.
We also would love for the wider WINGS network to get involved! We will be inviting you to follow along on Twitter at @wings_info and Facebook by using the hashtag #IMEEP, ask questions and participate in the event remotely.