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Sarah Davies Welcomes Members back to Philanthropy Weekly for 2019

January 23rd, 2019

Welcome to the first edition of Philanthropy Weekly for 2019. I hope you are all enjoying the summer and feeling refreshed after a happy and restful break.

As we start a new year, I‘m looking forward to using our collective motivation and inspiration to pursue our philanthropic visions and goals to the next level. I’m no good at predictions, but we do know the year will be full of surprises and challenges and that our world will continue to be complex and fast-changing. Through the general focus and appetite of the media, we are pretty good at staying abreast of the trials and challenges, with the things we want to change and the uncertainties we face. But coming into the year and seeing what’s been achieved, globally and collectively, for positive change is thrilling. 

Here are just a few examples of what communities have achieved in the last year: since China’s ban on ivory in 2017, ivory demand has fallen by almost half (and having just visited an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka, that makes me smile!); UNESCO removed the Belize Barrier Reef (second largest in the world) from its endangered list following positive, deliberate action from Belize; Canada has signed a conservation deal with its First Nations people creating the largest protected boreal forest on the planet; Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma; in the US, New York and Virginia became the first states to require mental health education in schools; Tunisia became the first Arab nation to pass a law giving women and men equal inheritance; global suicide rates have fallen by 38% since 1994; 50% of the world’s population live in households with discretionary income levels above that which economists define as ‘poor or vulnerable to poverty’; the world passed 1,000 GW of cumulative installed wind and solar power in 2019 (10 years ago it was less than 8 GW); Ireland passed a bill with all-party support to divest from fossil fuels; global deaths from state based conflict continues to decline, and is now 32% lower than its peak in 2014; Malaysia abolished the death penalty. And there is so much more!

Closer to home, we see the positive results that philanthropy and its partners create all the time. A couple of personal highlights from 2018: Victoria passed the Victims and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 to ensure that child protection records are removed from the criminal record system; and the Equality Campaign which led to Australia marriage equality. Peruse the outstanding annual reports of many of our members and you’ll find countless examples of real, tangible life-changing transformation.

Philanthropy Weekly looks forward to sharing and spotlighting the 2019 stories – showcasing how change is achieved and connecting you with colleagues and peers to be inspired by and work with; and to promoting all the resources, events and activities created to help all our members advance more and better philanthropy.

Have a ripper year!

Sarah Davies

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