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Helping Philanthropy Align with the SDGs: New Publications

May 07, 2019

New guides help funders use the Sustainable Development Goals to increase their impact on the issues they care about

New York, NY – April 24, 2019 –  Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) today published Philanthropy and the SDGs, a two-volume guide for philanthropic funders to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)the global agenda for people and planet adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The guide gives funders practical advice on how to plan, assess, report, and act on the SDGs. It also includes examples of how other philanthropic funders are facing and resolving social and environmental challenges.

Established in 2015 with the signing of the UN agreement “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the SDGs are a set of 17 sustainable development goals designed to chart a way forward to a just, secure, and sustainable future for people and the planet.

In order for the SDGs to succeed, it is imperative that governments, the private sector and philanthropy work together. Philanthropy’s crucial role is not just in providing financing, but in serving as risk capital for innovative approaches and in making long term commitments that public and private sector actors often can’t for a variety of reasons. Depsite this important role, many philanthropists don’t know how to get started in their work with the SDGs. That is the issue these guides are meant to address.

“Virtually every cause that philanthropists and foundations support is included in the ambitious scope of the SDGs,” said Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors CEO Melissa A. Berman. “Yet there are still many philanthropic funders that are unaware of the SDGs or uncertain how to align with them. We are pleased to deliver this guide to help them see that their missions are affirmed by the SDGs and with alignment can realize greater progress.”

The first volume of RPA’s new guide, Philanthropy and the SDGs: Getting Started, provides background on the SDGs and details how philanthropy can benefit. The second volume, Philanthropy and the SDGs: Practical Tools for Alignment, presents practical steps and tools philanthropic actors can use to leverage the SDGs to enhance their impact.

The guides include also diverse examples of philanthropies that have aligned their missions with the SDGs. Among the examples is Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which by coupling its existing assessment framework with SDG 4 Education; SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG 13 Climate Action and others, was able to place its local work in a global context.

“The environmental, social, and economic fabric we depend on is at risk of unraveling. We face a moral choice between the status quo and building a sustainable world of peace and prosperity for all,” said Skoll Foundation analyst Gurpreet Singh. “Fortunately, the SDGs can help us chart a course through converging crises. This guide shows funders how we can answer the call of the SDGs, such as by engaging board members and building learning systems to inform action.”

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