Philanthropy experts discuss ingredients of successful partnerships

Philanthropy experts discuss ingredients of successful partnerships

This blog post highlights information shared during Airlink’s webinar “Innovations on Disaster Philanthropy and CSR”.

The recently released Global Humanitarian Outlook 2021 starts with a dire prediction: “In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide – a significant increase from 1 in 45 at the launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview 2020, which was already the highest figure in decades”. 

The report acknowledges an increase in collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding efforts during the pandemic, and it highlights that building on this cooperation will be essential to help meet the needs of people targeted for humanitarian assistance in 2021. 

For organizations in the disaster response arena, working in partnerships has been critical to ensure people in need receive aid in a fast and effective way. The COVID-19 pandemic is making this need more evident than ever, with organizations looking for new ways to continue providing essential services to communities in crisis. 

Airlink recently hosted a panel discussion around innovative and successful partnerships for organizations working in the area of disaster response and emergencies. 

Every disaster has the duality of being a COVID-19 response. Every response is going to require a cast of collaborative partners using their expertise. Our whole framework is built on the collaborative partnerships, leveraging expertise and relationships of humanitarian experts.

Lending their expertise and insights to the panel were Megan King, Executive Director of the ISTAT Foundation; Bekah Curtis-Heald, Senior Manager at the Clinton Global Initiative; and Sarah Smith, Senior Program Officer, Refuge Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. 

Sarah Smith mentioned three key ingredients for successful partnerships: involving sectors that won’t usually work together, flexibility to adjust programs and funding based on evolving needs, and working with local community-based organizations and local actors. “Those are the organizations that not only know their communities best, but that also are physically more able to respond in a crisis” Smith said.

Bekah Curtis-Heald talked about the role of the Clinton Global Initiative to convene actors from across sectors to catalyze partnerships and take action on global challenges. She mentioned the Solar Saves Lives initiative as a successful example: bringing together the private sector, nonprofit partners, and community-based organizations to deliver energy solutions, providing immediate relief to the devastating impact that the lack of power had in health facilities throughout the Caribbean. The initiative is part of the “Action Network of Post-Disaster Recovery”, a platform supporting long-term resiliency across the region.

Megan King shared the perspective of the ISTAT Foundation, the charitable arm of the International Association of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT). The Foundation supports various education initiatives in the aviation industry, and provides funding for organizations working in humanitarian relief with an aviation angle. Airlink was formed by the ISTAT Foundation, and the two organizations have a decade-long history of collaboration to advance humanitarian goals. 

“The partnership [with Airlink] has continued not just because we are their founding body, but because they have really become a global leader in providing efficient disaster response to communities in crisis.”

Some of the main takeaways from the panel discussion included the need to provide proactive funding for preparedness efforts, and to create more avenues to share resources between responders. Head to our YouTube channel to access the recording of the session and gain more insight into disaster philanthropy.

Picture of Cindy Rocha

Cindy Rocha

Cindy Rocha is Airlink's Capabilities Development Manager. She contributes to sector-wide initiatives that build logistics capacity and improve overall support to the humanitarian community, working at the nexus of the aviation and aid delivery.

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