The financial divergence wreaked by pandemic is not news. One recent event, however, has shone light on a very different and decidedly hopeful shift quietly redrawing the lines of global capital distribution. With news of her divorce, Melinda Gates has stepped away from one of the world’s most significant philanthropic partnerships to become a change-maker with an independent fortune and a distinct agenda. As the FT notes, she joins the ranks of MacKenzie Scott, already making waves with her $38bn settlement from Jeff Bezos, and other women reshaping the philanthropic agenda.
Melissa Effron Hayek (leader of the ‘women in philanthropy’ programme at the University of California) notes the fundamental shift from “transactional” donation to “trust-based” partnerships these individuals are driving, and the important long-term change it will yield. “Women give for different reasons. It’s not necessary to have their name on the building . . . They want to be engaged and feel the impact of their giving.” BCG now estimates that women control one third of global assets; a reminder that high profile names like Gates and Scott are just the tip of an iceberg of independently-wealthy women engaging with philanthropy at earlier life stages, alongside building careers and families.
This collaborative ethos is also going hand-in-hand with hard-nosed innovation. Lauren Powell Jobs and Priscilla Chan (wife of Mark Zuckerberg), for example, pioneered the use of LLCs in philanthropic giving; Scott’s radical approach to grant-making involved an accelerated four-months scan of 6,500 organisations, hundreds of interviews and a final allocation of over $5bn to 384 recipients working on everything from food banks to education.
These approaches echo and embrace the generational shift of younger philanthropists toward flexible financial vehicles to maximise outcomes. This is the way of enlightened capital, which pursues collective long-term outcomes for an interdependent world; indeed such nuanced approaches, which blend impact investing with LLCs and donor-advised funds and others in support of broader, values-based goals, are precisely why Time Philanthropy was launched.
The distinctive style emerging among female philanthropists mirrors a long-held truth in development finance: put money in the hands of women and it enriches communities across generations. This is a more important principle than ever as we look seriously at the inconceivable task ahead for the post-COVID agenda. Time Partners’ many impact-focused ventures, like school building and micro-finance charity Build Africa, have directly demonstrated the cascade impact of empowering women and girls as financial gatekeepers.
In Uganda’s remote villages, for example, experience proved that aid money distributed to men was often spent on drink and gambling. When it was put in the hands of women, money was protected and invested for the next generation. Women and girls are able to support themselves to attend school, acquire skills, become entrepreneurs, stabilise family income, improve child health, support long-term schooling for the next generation and create sustainable, intergenerational progress.
Wherever you look in the world, the message is clear. Empowering women and girls is a keystone in repairing the intersecting and systemic crises COVID lays bare. This philanthropic cohort may hold the key.
Time Philanthropy was launched at the beginning of 2021 in response to the exponential rise of philanthropy as a key driver of sustainable change. Aware of common frustrations about how giving is currently handled and managed, a unique pool of expertise has been assembled to focus on the complex needs of clients interested in giving. Oliver Hylton leads this team as Head of Philanthropy. With over 20 years of experience working with and for senior families, individuals and family foundations, he understands the sector intimately and is well placed to manage complex briefs. Having delivered strategic projects with governments, international organisations and diplomatic delegations, he also maintains exceptionally close links with institutions of state and the directors of senior cultural and third sector bodies: more than useful when planning creative, impactful giving programmes. Above all, he has a fundamental understanding of the personal, human dynamics behind philanthropy. That, alongside the imperative of fulfilling aspirations, is at the centre of Time Philanthropy’s philosophy. For more information, please contact Oliver Hylton directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.