How does philanthropy fit in with the established aid players?

Philanthropic donors and bilateral government agencies are increasingly adopting joint partnerships, with public private partnerships (PPPs) being the most dominant form of collaboration. After signing a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2006, AusAID pledged $25 million over a four year period to a collaborative partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation.(16) Aimed at addressing HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, the Clinton Foundation and AusAID are working together with public health
authorities in countries like PNG, China and Indonesia to scale-up treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

CASE STUDY

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:The Microsoft Of Public Health?

To say that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become the Microsoft of the public health world is not as brazen a statement as it may seem. The Gates Foundation currently rivals the incumbent global public health multilateral, the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO), in funds and global influence. As of April of this year, the Gates Foundation has committed $US16.5 billion in grants aimed at addressing health issues in developing nations since its formation in 2000.17 WHO, on the other hand,
has a total budget of around $US4.2 billion for the biennium 2008-09.(18) Bill Gates and his wife Melinda appear dedicated to eradicating malaria once and for all through their foundation. But is it enough to pour money into a global issue like malaria? A number of commentators in the public health scene have raised concerns over the perceived universal benefits wealth and a highly targeted approach can have. Dr Arata Kochi, a malaria expert and veteran of the public health scene, is one such commentator. Dr. Kochi stated that “Gates can solve problems with money – but a lot of money leads to a monopoly, and discourages smaller rivals and intellectual competition”.(19)

As with many institutions involved in aid, philanthropic foundations are to varying degrees open and democratic. Generally they do not give grant recipients or the communities in which they operate the ability to hold them to account.(20) To respond to this it is essential there be mutual accountability.
This refers to the parties within a partnership being accountable to one another for their actions and the honouring of agreements. This approach is difficult to measure, however, and requires the
philanthropic individual or body to take a degree of responsibility for how the money they give away is used.

 

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(14) L ucy Bernholz, Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. Wiley, US, 2004.
(15) Philanthropy Australia, Tax Concessions for Arts Donations: Australia, US, UK, Canada. Australia, 2001, pg.1.
(16) AusAID, AusAID-Clinton Foundation Partnership.http://www.ausaid.gov.au/keyaid/hivaids/foundation.cfm
accessed 28th May 2008.
(17) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation Fact Sheet, http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/
FactSheet/default.htm accessed 10th May 08.
(18) World Health Organisation, Programme Budget 2008-09
(19) Arata Kochi cited in The side-effects of doing good. The Economist, New York, 23/02/2008.
(20) Peter Frumkin, Trouble in Foundationland: Looking Back, Looking Ahead. Bradley Centre for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, Hudson Institute.

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