Friday, July 25, 2008

Green cross-platforms

I read about William Easterly's new edited book, Reinventing Foreign Aid, over on Mari Kuraishi's blog - and went right out and bought a copy. I know less about international philanthropy than I'd like to.

Ironically, from my perspective, one of the great aspects of foreign aid is that it is well-documented and increasingly well-evaluated. This is ironic because Easterly and his co-authors clearly think the sector's state of knowledge gathering and use is pathetic. He may be right, but it still may be better than any other sector within philanthropy. This is because of the very large role that national governments and multi-lateral organizations (Asian Development Bank, World Bank) play in providing aid.

Anyway...I started with the chapter written by Mari and Dennis Whittle (co-founders of Global Giving). Their work and interests focus on ways that market forces and disciplines may improve the giving of aid. This perspective informs the creation and implementation of GlobalGiving.

I emailed Mari to tell her about some of my early observations on the book and chapter and she wrote back with this very exciting news - GlobalGiving has launched a green sub-platform. This nicely fits in with my request for examples of environment-focused online giving sites back here in this post. The news is confirmed in today's New York Times.

One element of great interest to me in the way GlobalGiving is launching this green site is it inherent "cross-platform"-ness in recognizing that environmental issues and economic development are intertwined issues. Solutions come from many places, capital for public good is inherently 'blended' and GlobalGiving Green reminds us that our very definition of problems and solutions cross typical categories.

PS: I am now committed to reading both of the books I picked up this week - Reinventing Foreign Aid, noted above and sparked by Mari and Dennis' contribution and Acts of Faith, by Eboo Patel, which I learned about at Momentum. So much for light fiction in the summer.

Full disclosure: I have met and had many very informative discussions with both co-founders of GlobalGiving.


Leigh Anne Miller said...

I highly recommend "Fixing Failed States" by Ghani and Lockhart, also on rethinking foreign aid. The Economist called it "Nationbuilding for Dummies," a nod to the utility and immediate need for the book.

Lucy Bernholz said...

Thanks! Appreciate the recommendation