Philanthropication thru Privatization


A crucial barrier to the development of community foundations and other community-based philanthropic institutions in less-developed regions of the world has been the general lack of capital to underwrite their operations. In many of the same regions where foundation-building efforts are going starved for funds, enormous privatization sales are transferring huge stores of publicly owned assets into private hands. With a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, EWMI has launched a “Philanthropication thru Privatization” (PtP) project to explore and promote the option for building community-based philanthropic endowments by capturing a portion of the proceeds of these privatization sales. In cooperation with its partner, Dr. Lester M. Salamon of the John Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies, who conceived this project and will serve as Project Director for it, EWMI will (i) build the case for PtP by analyzing and publicizing the many example of the phenomenon that have already occurred around the world and identifying potential future targets for PtP initiatives; (ii) develop best practice materials that can guide efforts to implement the PtP option or to make mid-course corrections on past implementations; (iii) disseminate these materials broadly in order to create awareness of the option for using the privatization proceeds to seed community-based philanthropic endowments and provide guidance for activists willing to purseue the option; and (iv) implement the PtP concept in a pilot set of 3-4 locales by identifying local partners and working with them to develop actual PtP campaigns and projects. This initiative offers a real possibility to tap into sizable pools of capital to build a permanent support base for civil society and community-based development.