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Philanthropy & the SDGs


Philanthropic organizations are playing an increasingly prominent role in supporting the international sustainable development agenda. Many are early embracers who have been aligning their planning and grant strategies to the SDGs. According to the Foundation Centre, the total foundation SDG Funding worldwide in 2016 has reached over USD $112 billion. Philanthropic organizations can contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in many ways. As advocates, they can support awareness raising through the integration of SDGs into their programming efforts and through thought leadership of collective platforms; as impact drivers, they can catalyze change and generate impact through big bets, collective action, cross-SDG partnerships; and as innovators, they exhibit a great willingness to test new ideas, adopt innovative approaches, forge new coalitions3 and help de-risk investments. Yet, there is significant potential to further scale up philanthropic engagement in SDG implementation.

To review and discuss ways to strengthen partnerships with philanthropic organizations to accelerate SDG implementation, the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) at the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP), in collaboration with the SDG Philanthropy Platform, the European Foundation Centre, Synergos and the United Nations Foundation, will host, on 16 July 2019, a special event during the ministerial segment of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of ECOSOC.

The main objective of the special event is to create a dedicated space at the margins of the 2019 HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC to discuss current models of philanthropic engagement to implement the 2030 Agenda and identify opportunities to scale up philanthropic leadership and transformational action to further accelerate SDG implementation. The event will also serve as an opportunity to gather momentum from the philanthropic sector in the lead up to the SDG Summit in September 2019, where Heads of State and Government will meet for the first time under the auspices of the General Assembly after the first four-year cycle of HLPF to assess progress in SDG implementation.


All stakeholders who wish to attend the special event must register through the following link by 5 pm EDT on Monday, 8 July 2019 (NY time): If you DO NOT hold a valid UN Grounds Pass, please make sure to mark this in question 12 below, so the Secretariat can make arrangements to obtain a Special Event Ticket (SET) for you in accordance with the rules and regulations of UN HQ security. Details on when/where to collect your SET will be announced closer to the event.

Philanthropy & the SDGs: Practical Workshop

16 July 2019, 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Conference Room A

Co-hosted by UNDESA and the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the session will target participants attending the special event on Philanthropy & the SDGs in the morning and focus on how philanthropy can utilize the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for their philanthropic activities.

The session will include both presentation of materials and group work. New tools for participants in the session include two forthcoming guides from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors – Foundation Guides to Using the SDGs.

Expected outcomes include: 1) greater awareness for participants about the SDGs; 2) greater capacity in introducing them and using them with association and network members; and 3) new partnerships in taking forward the work of philanthropy on the SDGs through the SDG Philanthropy Platform or other mechanisms.

Space is limited. Interested participants are invited to submit application before 28 June 2019:

Organizers will send out confirmations to selected participants during the week 1-5 July 2019.
United Nations