“Perception of charity as a social investment is a trend that we have been witnessing in Russia for several years now. This means that philanthropists (whether it is companies’ shareholders or the founders of private funds) begin to treat what was formerly known as charity as an investment, and the return is not only and no so much financial but rather social capital benefits,” — Irina Efremova-Garth, Head of Corporate Citizenship, IBM Russia/CIS, board member of Donors Forum.
“There is much emphasis on the impact that we will get in 10, 20, 30 years. To make it happen, we have to design our beautiful programmes in such way that we take into consideration not only our vision of the future, but also who we are designing it for. The key to success here is the inclusion and shared values among beneficiaries, children, the educational community, people with disabilities and grantors. Without such inclusion the social effect is questionable,” — Irina Efremova-Garth, Head of Corporate Citizenship, IBM Russia/CIS, board member of Donors Forum.
“If you give a person a fish, they could eat; if you teach them how to fish, you set them up for life. We are moving away from simply the donation, the short-term band-aid solution to much more sustainable, systemic change. Part of it is a mental shift which is looking at it in terms of returns, measuring those returns, it is the impact that you are actually measuring there,” — Piers Cumberlege, Board Director and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee, Global Sustainable Capital Management (GSCM).
“I think there will be more impact investment in the future, because thus we can do more socially and environmentally,” — Abigail Noble, CEO, The ImPact.
“A lot of social programmes and charity affect everyone. So when we think about making a better world for our children, when we invest in the education of other people, even if they are half way around the world, when we invest in environmental protection, that for our children and grandchildren will create things like better air quality, and more affordable access to natural resources, and lower food prices, and less crime. So when we pass money on to a charity and that charity has a role in education and healthcare for future generations, that also makes a better world for our children. So I do not see a trade off between leaving money to a public charity and passing money directly to your children and to your grandchildren. If you want to leave a better world for future generations you need to think about a common good,” — Abigail Noble, CEO, The ImPact.
“Impact investments lead to serious long-term social changes,” — Abigail Noble, CEO, The ImPact.
“The second trend – uncharity – when we talk about charity as not only an expenditure, but as a possible source of income, that in turn can be used for a good cause and implementation of social programmes,” — Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-Blind Support Foundation; Chair of the Board, Donors Forum.
“The theme of uncharity is absolutely revolutionary,” — Anna Yanchevskaya, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation.
“Firstly, absolute focus must be on what can I do with the money to make an impact. Then we need to look for partnerships, the fact that you cannot do it alone,” — Piers Cumberlege, Board Director and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee, Global Sustainable Capital Management (GSCM).
“History of cooperation between the private citizens and the governments and foundations – this is growing more in Russia now, is actually quite a natural progression, especially on an issue that is most important – the environment,” — Valerie Rockefeller, Board Member, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
“The question of partnerships. The institutional partnerships in order to enable these longer term visions, in order to enable that aggregation of data, the predictive intelligence that is necessary, and the role for central aggregators, which I think, actually, comes into the context of the Roscongress Foundation as well. There is a role for those aggregators, and we need to try and make sure that they are set up for success by enabling them to have the data and the information they require, and also frankly the trust of the sector,” — Piers Cumberlege, Board Director and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee, Global Sustainable Capital Management (GSCM).
[On how the Rockefeller family passes the ideas of social investment on to their children] “Children do not listen to what you say, they watch what you do. For us personally: we have solar panels on our house, I drive an electric car, and I take the train to work. And so they see this and see that they should care. <…> It is important to understand what other family members are doing, and it becomes sort of the family ethic. I think it happens quite naturally,” — Valerie Rockefeller, Board Member, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
“New technologies are changing the world around us and they will continue to change it in the future. Things that we are going to face are changes in the way people are employed. There will be new professions emerging, new skills will be needed, and we cannot even imagine what they are going to be like. We have to invest in learning system, so that young people who will get their employment by 2030, they go to school these days, by 2030 they will be living in a different world of the global economy, digital world with artificial intelligence. How successful we are in our investment in education will shape the world and our success as a company,” — Olga Bashkirova, CEO, Renova Charity Foundation.
“It is important to be more practical, therefore we offer support to the centre of studies and practical activities so that children could see how knowledge is applied in real life. This should give students the ability to start businesses, to do something practical. We do have grants and various benefits for students both in Russian and international universities. Our human resources situation depends on us, on how good we are at raising future business people, those people who will be developing our economy,” — Olga Bashkirova, CEO, Renova Charity Foundation.
“We should teach our employees new skills that would help them to learn continuously, endlessly in order to get educated and obtain new professions,” — Olga Bashkirova, CEO, Renova Charity Foundation.
“Last year alone the US, Great Britain, Australia and Russia spent around 500 billion dollars on charity. That is a tremendous amount. I think the biggest challenge that we see in today’s environment has to do with the understanding that this amount may grow by the order of magnitude, and still it may never be enough. So we should think about other vehicles, about other approaches. The positive thing about this amount is that we see more and more people and corporations involved in charity. But again this is a reaction of the business community and the general public to a more complex social environment,” — Anna Yanchevskaya, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation.
“The state is now working on de-institutionalization of orphans. This means the transition from orphan homes to foster families. To date, Russia has practically coped with this problem; over the past three years great results have been achieved. Ten years ago, about 300,000 children lived in orphanages. Today it is 51,000, 70% of these have lived all their lives in an orphanage and would have difficulty adapting to a family. And here we utilize digital technologies: we set up a digital platform for these children that enables us to track their individual needs and socialize them to the fullest. Five years ago experts estimated that about 90% of orphanages graduates were antisocial, today we are at the mark of 1–2%. Digital education, online learning, personalized lectures, all are very effective for socialization,” — Maria Krasnikova, Director, Art, Science, and Sport Charity Foundation.
“The attitude towards social investments in Russia is changing very slowly. The most important thing is that we started talking about it. This is a progress in itself. Investors do not expect a return,” — Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-Blind Support Foundation; Chair of the Board, Donors Forum.
“We should not depend on the performance in the way we do our charity if a company is suffering economically,” — Olga Bashkirova, CEO, Renova Charity Foundation.
“The reason why it is important to talk about companies and their impact is that this particular company MasterCard, when it went public, it took 10 percent of its stock and created a completely separate foundation in a different country. The MasterCard Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. It is now valued at 18 billion dollars. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world. So we are encouraging other tech companies to do the same. Look, take 10 percent of your stock and create something that has social impact with or without you. I just say that because MasterCard has created a unique model around social impact and profitability,” — Shamina Singh, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and President of the Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard.
“This whole question of financial inclusion, of using technology to make direct cash transfers, to be able to bring marginalized people more directly into financial systems, to provide the sort of family support through direct transfers. That seems to have made huge difference to some parts of the world in terms of overcoming the inequalities of income and the real, deep issues of poverty, the opportunity for this, I think, is greater than it ever has been,” — Hilary Pearson, President, Philanthropic Foundations Canada.
“We should look at the technology issue not only from the perspective of applying a niche initiative that is right for an industry at hand: education, inclusion, but look more at its overall usability. Here comes a new term – philtech: technologies for philanthropy intended to work for public and give general access to our experience, knowledge and practices,” — Anna Yanchevskaya, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation.
“This whole question of technology. Philtech! What a great expression, whether it is used for aggregating data, the whole learning process, bringing together the best practices. We all make mistakes when we try things, let’s learn from those mistakes and make sure they are not replicated. Using block chain to move forward is going to be challenging for institutional charities that have been used to being in the middle,” — Piers Cumberlege, Board Director and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee, Global Sustainable Capital Management (GSCM).
“Despite the fact that there is social entrepreneurship, not that many entrepreneurs work specifically on technologies and solutions in philtech,” — Anna Yanchevskaya, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation.
“If you digitize a social subsidy programme, the money goes straight to the person who is supposed to get it. There is not a bunch of people who get in between to take out a little bit. The government realized that they were saving billions of dollars if they digitized,” — Shamina Singh, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and President of the Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard.
“There are things that even all of us together, having united our efforts, cannot take to a level to which digitalization could. That is why we are talking about erasing boundaries. This should work everywhere uniformly, be accessible, and have absolutely transparent criteria: how do we measure involvement and the return. It also must be self-scalable. This is something we should seriously think through, because this can really become a unique way for the charitable sector and help to transfer our practices to other countries, and would help to establish autonomous segments where people are able to self-organize and to independently implement their charitable initiatives. The development of philtech is impossible without an entrepreneurial community. This is their own will: to channel their technological and entrepreneurial experience to a charitable cause,” — Anna Yanchevskaya, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Sistema Charitable Foundation.
“There will be a trend, we can already feel it: to reduce targeted funding and to increase systemic assistance funding. Because there will be no need for an intermediary. We would be able to help a boy in Africa through block chain technology and even see how he spends this money,” — Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-Blind Support Foundation; Chair of the Board, Donors Forum.
“The ability to focus on deep research in order to be proactive is crucial,” — Piers Cumberlege, Board Director and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee, Global Sustainable Capital Management (GSCM).
“The role of new technologies is to manage charitable programmes as efficiently as possible. Our western colleagues are already utilizing predictive analysis technologies. To date, both corporate and private funds here have a long way to go to ensure that the data we collect about our beneficiaries, the results produced and the social effect is of high quality and reliable. Because new technologies can only work with high quality data and thus help us make predictions about what social effect can and should be and what is the probability of achieving it,” — Irina Efremova-Garth, Head of Corporate Citizenship, IBM Russia/CIS, board member of Donors Forum.
“It is really smart to be thinking proactively rather than reactively. Obviously if you can prevent something bad from happening that is always the best thing. It is not often the case though that the corporate social responsibility group gets to think like that. One of the things that we have been doing at the Centre is actually investing in research and supporting it on a philanthropic side. So that is an area where we have been really pushing economists, futurists, data scientists, people who are thinking about AI and machine learning to say: as these new issues are coming up, and we all know about the job situation, what else is going to happen? And then can we say: can we take these new technologies early on and build them such that they have a social impact, early, in the very beginning, rather than waiting for AI, for data, for machine learning to take off like a rocket, and then on a social side we have not had any conversation about what it mean for people, what it means for society. So that is an area that we are really focused on: to try to pre-empt any negative things that might be coming,” — Shamina Singh, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and President of the Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard.
“Today the Roscongress Foundation is launching an initiative on conducting events in the name of charity, philanthropy. Here in Russia we have created a number of very efficient high quality communication platforms, and realizing that we are frequently contacted by companies that cooperate with businessmen, regarding receiving information, if possible, to organize contacts, we [the Roscongress Foundation] have set up a directorate,” — Alexander Stuglev, CEO, The Roscongress Foundation.
“We live in such an interesting era, when we need a new language, when many of the concepts that we use eventually get a new meaning. The concept of disability, the concept of limited abilities, the notion of vulnerability, dependency is transformed and will continue to transform. Today, in Russia and in other countries of the world, the trend is similar: only 25% of blind people know how to use Braille, the rest do not use it, they listen, using screen access programmes and many other technologies that allow them to receive information about the world around them. We will inevitably come to the fact that a disabled person is not the same disabled person you and I are thinking of now,” — Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-Blind Support Foundation; Chair of the Board, Donors Forum.
“A major educational effort is required on the part of the state and philanthropists with the community of people with disabilities, because they also need to be prepared for this new way of thinking: to the fact that they are not dependents, not passive beneficiaries, but that they are people not with a disability, but extrability in the light of the new technologies that are becoming available today,” — Dmitry Polikanov, President, Con-nection Deaf-Blind Support Foundation; Chair of the Board, Donors Forum.
“The need to have a regulatory framework that is flexible, that is transparent, that is sort of fit for the 21st century is critical,” — Hilary Pearson, President, Philanthropic Foundations Canada.