October 25, 2011
Nov. 2 Effective International Giving Lunch Panel: Research & Passion — Boston Phil Advisors, Seaport

Boston's Seaport Hotel and offices 


Please join me in Boston’s Seaport District on November 2, along with financial and philanthropic advisors from private firms and non-profit organizations, as I share my passion for international philanthropy.  I will discuss with leading experts in global philanthropy the tension between empirical evaluation and donor passion in shaping international giving.  Panelists will include Paula Johnson, my colleague from New England International Donors and the Center for Global Philanthropy at The Philanthropic Inititiave; and Rachel Glennerster from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The panel and luncheon are generously hosted by Boston Philanthropic Advisors Roundtable at Nutter, McClellan & Fish, LLC


Some of my thoughts to spark the discussion include these:


International giving — by sheer virtue of its distance from the donor — is harder to inspire and harder to measure — than domestic giving.  Yet, the necessity of addressing raging global crises with innovative philanthropic approaches is indisputable, and the need to invest private capital wisely, nimbly and effectively to achieve real results is urgent. 


To measure or not to measure.  That is NOT the question.  In international philanthropy, WHO gets to measure impact and WHY — that is the dilemma.  To hold the measuring stick for impact, is to define reality, is to divine the money, is to weild the power.


Do measurement tools imply the hidden bias of the researcher?  Can metrics designed from afar convey impact through the eyes of an indigenous — an even innumerate — community?   How can measurement be conducted to empower rather than disempower the communities and the organizations studied?  Can outcomes like increased self-esteem for girls, avoidance of genocide, or the galvanizing of a flash-fire social movement be quantified?  Are anecdotal success stories any more objective or revealing than metrics?  Are case studies at times a better indicator of impact — or at least, more effective in fueling a donor’s lasting passion and engagement?  


Who should be accountable for achieving impact in international philanthropy, and what are the consequences of not making benchmarks?  Defunding?  More funds for capacity building?  A redesign of the intervention model?


Please bring your own experience and ideas as we explore the evolution of international philanthropy, the array of funding mechanisms, the importance of randomized, empirical testing to improve the effectiveness of aid and development programs, and how donors and their advisors can channel a donor’s passion for certain areas or issues in effective ways.


Wednesday, November 2, 12:00-1:30*

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

155 Seaport Boulevard, 5th Flr.

Boston, MA

RSVP:  BPART@nutter.com


* Lunch is provided by the sponsors:   Federal Street Advisors, Inc., Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, & State Street Global Advisors.


Moderated by John Przybylski, Director of Financial Planning, Federal Street Advisors, Inc.