netFWD at Two Years


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netFWD at Two Years: A letter from Mario Pezzini and Bathylle Missika

Dear netFWD members, associates, partners and colleagues,

Together, we have come a long way! Today, the OECD Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) celebrates its two-year anniversary. In October 2012, the OECD Development Centre launched netFWD to provide foundations with a facilitated access to governments, as well as a platform for the exchange of best practices and to collectively reflect on how to improve philanthropy effectiveness. netFWD was also a way to put foundations on the OECD's development agenda.

This anniversary gives us the chance to take stock, reflect on our achievements and offer insights on how netFWD can build on its success to keep adding value for its members and for the OECD in the future.


Many foundations, including netFWD members, share similar development goals with national governments, development co-operation agencies and civil society on issues ranging from health to youth empowerment, education and entrepreneurship. In the meantime, a number of them have become more visible and engaged in the global development debate and are increasingly sharing their perspectives, as demonstrated at an event on foundations and the post-2015 agenda on the margins of last week's UN General Assembly. However, limited time and human resources do not allow most foundations to engage in this debate as much as they would like to. While recognising the trends and constraints specific to philanthropic actors, netFWD has allowed foundations to make their voices heard in the international development community on key issues ranging from the post-2015 agenda to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation ("Global Partnership").

How did this happen?

  • netFWD gave foundations a voice within the Global Partnership by helping them secure a seat on the Steering Committee. Foundations have enjoyed 'permanent' representation there since July, which reflects the eagerness of member governments to dialogue and co-operate with the philanthropic sector.
  • Foundations were central to plenary discussions at the first High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership, in Mexico last April. A netFWD member directly addressed ministers and senior officials alongside the event's 500 participants and highlighted the strong resonance between the development effectiveness agenda and foundations’ endeavours to deliver more impact.
  • netFWD took the lead in developing a set of Guidelines for Effective Philanthropic Engagement, which were discussed at the High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership and "welcomed" in the final communiqué (§17). Built on three pillars (dialogue, data and partnering), the Guidelines foster mutual recognition between philanthropic actors, governments and development agencies on the basis of their respective comparative advantages, as well as by drawing the contours of how best to work together at the global, regional and national levels. They are about to be piloted at the country-level. Mexico will host the first pilot, and consultations are currently in progress with other countries such as Colombia, Haiti and Myanmar.


In line with netFWD’s mission to foster the sharing of experiences and lessons learned, the Network has developed, together with its members, two OECD studies focused on foundations’ efforts to innovate and enhance their impact. The studies, both released in 2014, analyse past experiences and identify best practices that can be replicated by other foundations, with the ultimate goal to increase the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector as a whole. These studies were presented and discussed in Abu Dhabi, Geneva, New York, Singapore, Nairobi and Paris. They generated great interest and triggered inspiring discussions across sectors and regions.


Because we believe that we all benefit from different approaches and the many philosophies that underpin philanthropy, we strive to bring on board members and associates from around the world that focus on innovative philanthropy for development and share an interest in making the whole sector more effective and innovative. netFWD will keep working to enhance this diversity while allowing foundations from OECD countries to partner with innovative foundations from the Global South and inviting them to join the Network.


netFWD members have unanimously identified netFWD’s access to policy makers and its ability to provide an advocacy platform for more impactful and effective philanthropy as its unique comparative advantages. Starting in 2015, the Network will keep focusing on how foundations can demonstrate impact on the ground, add value within the development galaxy and position themselves at the nexus of the global policy debate. This will materialise through the development of new netFWD products and studies as well as building on the policy dialogues in Mexico City and New York. Most importantly and as mentioned above, netFWD will 'glocalise' these discussions through its country pilots. The latter will serve as a guide to enhance collaboration between foundations and governments in support of development effectiveness, applied to each national context. They will bring together national government, domestic and international foundations, bilateral donors as well as implementing partners (e.g. NGOs and social entrepreneurs).

Finally, allow us to extend our deepest gratitude to netFWD members and associates. Building a vivid and relevant network based at the OECD Development Centre has only been possible thanks to their continued trust and support.

We look forward to further strengthening our co-operation and to reflecting on how to optimise the impact of philanthropy for development.

With warm regards,

OECD Development Centre
Bathylle MISSIKA
Head of netFWD

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Our Members Reflect on Two Years of netFWD

“We believe that solutions to such complex [development] challenges must involve a mix of actors that involve governments, foundations, civil society and the business sector, interacting in new ways. That’s why we are honoured to be part of netFWD.”

The Rockefeller Foundation

“netFWD allowed us to reconfirm our focus on results, on partnership with government and on advocating for philanthropy as a driver of global development. Thanks to this community of like-minded foundations, we no longer perceive ourselves as isolated contributors to development, and now recognise our collective value as one ‘piece’ of the development puzzle.”

Tatiana Filgueiras
Head, Evaluation and Development, Instituto Ayrton Senna

“I recall that many of the earliest conversations around this Network of foundations centred on one rather uneasy question: “Can We Do Better?”. We agreed that we can and we must – yet working out how is not easy. OECD netWFD has helped to chart these waters. We needed others to assess our performance. We needed evidence for new models and practices that make more effective use of philanthropy. We needed traction to show how productive partnerships – with governments, with investors, with businesses – can drive innovation and inclusive growth in developing countries. By starting to meet these needs and by making a strong case for more effective philanthropy on a global stage, the Network has sown the seeds for far greater collective impact from the sector in years to come.”

Chris West
CEO, Shell Foundation


“OECD netFWD has enabled us to engage in the global debate around how philanthropy needs to change. Emirates Foundation uses Venture Philanthropy as a model for creating long-term social impact having undergone a transition from traditional short-term grant making to long-term strategic investments. This allowed us to radically improve our impact. netFWD has allowed us to share our ‘lessons learned’ with other global foundations, learn from like-minded ones but also reach the international development community where these principles also resonate. This is unique to netFWD and provides a strong value proposition.”

Clare Woodcraft
CEO, Emirates Foundation



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