October 23, 2011
The Opportunity Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos to End Global Poverty — Jonathan Lewis


Jonathan Lewis, Founder of the Opportunity Collaboration

Jonathan Lewis, Founder of the Opportunity Collaboration


Pragmatic.  Pointed.  Always provocative.  Jonathan Lewis, Founder of the Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico welcomed 300 international delegates to a marathon, “roll-up-your-sleeves” convening to cross-pollinate ideas and forge partnerships to end poverty globally.  “Because we know multi-disciplinary solutions to poverty are needed,” stated Jonathan, “delegates are committed to reaching beyond parochial policy silos — united in setting aside our institutional egos.  We are united in our commitment to openly share ideas and innovations, to put aside our business cards, to work together, to good listenership.  At the Opportunity Collaboration, we are idealistic doers and inventive activists –- executives and investors — realists grounded in the tough work we do.”


What does it mean to collaborate to end poverty?  Jonathan reminded the Delegates: “We are called upon to ask a simple question. Not “How can you help me?”, but rather “How can I help you?” Not, “How can you help me?”, but rather “How can we work together?”


For more of Jonathan’s opening remarks at the 2011 Opportunity Collaboration see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-lewis/point-your-moral-compass-_b_1027083.html


Shaun Paul, an Opportunity Collaboration Delegate and CEO of Cambridge-based environmental organization, EcoLogic Development Fund, captured Jonathan in an informal video interview about how to “scale up” strategies to end poverty.  “The pendulum has been swinging,” said Jonathan, between approaches that stress mobilizing private sector capital (based in part on a critique of NGOs and governments) to those that propose using the power of government and changing public policy.  Movements start at the grassroots.  But now, grassroots movements “need to pick up their game… they need to add a political dimension.. and if we are to treat (the problems of poverty) holistically, that includes public policy change,” he said.   To hear Jonathan, Shaun and five other Delegates reflect on what we need to do together to end poverty see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVtSrGBlbjI


Besides Shaun Paul and myself, New England International Donors participants at the Opportunity Collaboration included  Jim Coutre of The Philanthropic Inititiative, Eliza Petrow of Izumi Foundation, Sara Hall of New Philanthropy Advisors, Tory Dietel Hopps of Dietel Partners, Pierre Noel of the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation, Jean-Patrick Lucien of Ile-a-Vache Development Group, Tom Bird of FARM Capital, Willy Foote of Root Capital, and others.  Join us at next year for New England in Mexico!   http://opportunitycollaboration.net/