Davos Philanthropic Roundtable: NEWS

29.01.2009

Tony Blair: "Philanthropy should employ business approach"

Philanthropy will not cease to exist in the period of crisis. Global economic hardship converts it into a more critical mechanism of social aid. This was emphasised by Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of Great Britain (1997-2007), founder and chairman of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation) at the Second Davos Philanthropic Roundtable conducted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation during Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum.

[for a full archive of information on the event - see project's page]

"Our main task in this difficult time is to prove that philanthropy exists and it will continue to help people and society" - he highlighted.

The global economic crisis does not mean crisis of philanthropy, as Blair noted. "But now is the moment, when we have to understand what is happening and what we will need to do."

In Tony Blair's opinion, crisis - is the time to review and adjust methods of charity activity, and employ systematic business approach in this field. "Charity must transform into a true entrepreneurship. It is important to have people like Muhammad Yunus, Richard Branson and Victor Pinchuk, who, whilst being philanthropists, do not quit their businesses, but implement business methods in their charity activity."

Revision of the methods, according to Tony Blair, must include a clear differentiation of social functions of philanthropists and State. "Philanthropy cannot replace authority, but it is an important and integral part of society. And charity, first of all, must be directed to the sectors that are overlooked by officials. There are still many gaps that have to be filled by philanthropy and social entrepreneurship." he underlined.

The main advantage of philanthropy is its international nature, according to Tony Blair. "It's vital that philanthropy doesn't recognise national boundaries and breaks through them easily."

As reported earlier, more than 300 representatives of international business and political elite, the largest charity foundations and NGOs, corporations and venture funds participated in the Second Davos Philanthropic Roundtable conducted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation during Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum.


Background

A philanthropic meeting point organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Davos during Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, Davos Philanthropic Roundtable is aimed at developing philanthropy in Ukraine and increasing effectiveness of social projects. Main theme of the Second Davos Philanthropic Roundtable, entitled "From Philanthrocapitalism to Philanthrocrisis", was the impact of the economic crisis on philanthropy and perspectives of philanthropy development.

The key speakers at the event were the dignitaries who have significantly contributed to the development of a new model of philanthropy: 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton; former
Prime-Minister Of Great Britain Tony Blair; businessman and philanthropist Richard Branson; Laureate of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Yunus; actor and founder of the One Foundation Jet Li, founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates and also Victor Pinchuk, the Roundtable organiser, public leader and businessman. Matthew Bishop, Chief Business Editor of The Economist and co-author of the book "Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World" was a moderator of the discussion.

 

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