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How has global philanthropy changed month by month?

Published Date: 15 February 2021

About this series

The first year of the new decade was not how we thought it would turn out. In January 2020, our inboxes were full of reports of optimism, setting 2020 in the context of a challenging previous decade. Despite what we were seeing happening in China, none of these reports predicted the damage the pandemic would have globally. Even in the Spring when Covid-19 was spreading rapidly across the West, many were optimistic that things would settle by the Autumn. 

One of the privileges of SIX is our ability to take a global, birdseye view. We are able to spot and drive new trends and track how things change. Covid-19 is not the only tragic event of 2020 that influenced narratives and discourse around the world - there were also protests for democracy in Thailand and Hong Kong, the explosion in Lebanon, the worldwide rallying cry that Black Lives Matter… How many of the questions brought up by these events are still live in 2021, and for who? What's changed? These sorts of analyses act like timestamps for us, benchmarking our progress as a field, and helping us to reflect on where philanthropy has come from and where it can become more authentic and effective in its work going forwards.

Over the coming months, SIX will be sharing our tracking and interrogation of how the discourse around philanthropy has shifted, or not, after the profoundly impactful events of 2020. We are looking for themes that have been lost in the noise, and trends that have become louder; we are searching for signals about what has already gained, and what may still gain, traction and attention. We are examining, in a light-touch way, what the implications of this might be for our funder friends in the SIX’s Funders Node and beyond.

Also available on Alliance Magazine here

About SIX Funders Node

One of SIX’s core programmes is the SIX Funders Node. As part of our work to build and support a healthy social innovation ecosystem, we have been convening individuals in philanthropic organisations from around the world for the last 6 years, to help them address the complex and urgent challenges of today. Through a series of small, carefully curated meetings over the years, a collaborative support group for foundations has been developing – one that has created a space for critical friends and pushed the boundaries of social change. Each year since we started this work, we’ve explored different topics through hosting intimate global retreats (in Canada and Australia) and through developing and sharing global insights.


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