Philanthropy and cooperation

In the last few years, it has become increasingly clear that finding solutions to complex problems requires cooperation between diverse people and organizations. To combat recent crises, people, institutions and organizations that rarely crossed paths in the past have forged unexpected collaborationsAs last week’s Philanthropy and Cooperation discussion event showed, we are seeing more and more efforts to break down barriers of mistrust and to seek shared solutions. The event, organized by Via Foundation and held under the auspices of the US Embassy in Prague, brought forth examples of fruitful cross-sectoral collaboration.

Cooperation opens opportunities for change
The event was opened by the Ambassador of the United States of America Bijan Sabet, who spoke about his own relationship to philanthropy and shared inspiring examples from the USA. This was followed by the first panel discussion, which focused on collaboration between government, philanthropists and business leaders, and foundations or non-profit organizations. The speakers spoke of joint efforts to reform early childhood care, teacher education and palliative care and shared good practices as well as recommendations for philanthropists, government and NGO leaders. Barbora Křižanová from the J&T Foundation, Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková, Government Commissioner for Human Rights, Lenka Eckertová, Director of the RSJ Foundation, Karel Valo, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Česká spořitelna Foundation, Martina Břeňová, Director of the OSF Foundation, and Petr Košt’ál from the Positive Zeroes Foundation discussed how to achieve systemic change as well as factors that help or hinder cooperation.

Trust and experience
The second discussion panel focused on cooperation at the community level. Key themes included the development of trust between non-profit organizations and local government and how supporting local philanthropists can further community development. The panel included Eva Vychodilová, Černošice Fund, Filip Kořínek, Mayor of Černošice and philanthropist, Kateřina Valešová, Director of Ústí Community Foundation, Michal Košek, CEO of eMan and philanthropist, Magdaléna Hruška, Director of Pramen Luhačovice Foundation and philanthropist František Dostálek.

Connecting the non-profit, business and government spheres and creating collaborations between these worlds is proving to be an effective way to drive systemic change even in long-unresolved problems, in legislation or in marginalized issues. Another significant path is supporting philanthropists and local business people to take an interest in their own regions and in local projects which have a meaningful impact on the development of local communities and neighborhoods.

We thank all of the event participants and guests for contributing to the thought-provoking discussion. We consider the linking of sectors, professions, people, as well as the collaboration of philanthropists, companies, NGOs, and the public sector as the basis for positive change in our country and look forward to more inspiring gatherings.