Creating sustainable structures to facilitate diaspora philanthropy

James Magowan, Senior Fellow. International Fellows Program ~ 2007


Abstract: In his position paper, James Magowan explores current trends in diaspora giving and explains how increasing interest in international giving facilitated by technological developments, will require new and innovative models to facilitate diaspora philanthropy. 


The author focuses his discussion on motivations for giving and the various mechanisms available.  He discusses the strategic implications and challenges for community foundations, and provides a brief description of the Irish and Ulster-Scots diaspora in the U.S. The author concludes by recommending practical steps that the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland could take to develop its role in facilitating diaspora philanthropy. 


Sufficient structures exist, as does widespread interest; what is needed, Magowan argues, is a seamless network from diaspora donor through intermediary to groups and projects in the homeland. The key to success will not only be the identification and cultivation of the diaspora but the on-going engagement of donors.  


In conclusion, Magowan posits that community foundations can counteract the dis-intermediating influence of the internet by demonstrating the value added by community foundations, in particular with respect to local knowledge and experience.  In the case of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, this is likely to mean drawing on institutional experience in relation to peace-building and conflict resolution which has extended beyond grant-making, through development and research, to policy impact.  Finally, he urges making use of local and international networks of foundations, advisory organizations, giving circles, etc. to broaden the reach of the community foundation’s work across borders.



To request the full version of the paper, please click here.