As in previous years, University for a Night participants called for increased understanding of pressing social issues as a first step in building commitment to address these problems. And to help channel that commitment, stronger nonprofit organizations and institutional philanthropy are needed.
Upgrade the management, administration and evaluation capacity of nonprofit organizations.
This issue was raised most pointedly with regards to the nonprofit sector in Latin America, but applies to other countries in both the developed and
developing world. Such upgraded capacity is important not only in improving the delivery of needed services but also in enabling potential partners for nonprofit groups - such as government agencies and corporations - to better identify groups with which they might work most effectively.
Examples of groups working on this issue include: CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, Independent Sector, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, National Center for Nonprofit Boards, The Synergos Institute, Texaco
Build awareness in schools about social and international issues through new curricula and student exchanges.
Experience has shown that commitment to address international poverty issues must be based on greater understanding of the situation in different countries - and similarities between countries and cultures. But too often international issues are considered only minor parts of school curricula and international exchanges are considered too expensive. Greater resources should be committed to improving international teaching and conducting student exchanges. At the same time, new technology such as the Internet should be used to build relationships between children and schools in different parts of the world.
Examples of groups working on this issue include: American Field Service, American Jewish World Service, Cross-Cultural Solutions, InterAction, World Learning
Educate various groups in society, including parents and boys, to be advocates for girls' education.
Until a broader portion of society recognizes that girls' educational achievement is essential both to social development and to economic growth, it will be difficult to mobilize sufficient resources to make such education universal. One challenge is ensuring quality education for girls in places where co-ed schooling is considered inappropriate for religious reasons.
Examples of groups working on this issue include: Ms. Foundation for Women, UNIFEM, Women's Environment and Development Organization
Increase institutional philanthropy in the US and other developed nations by increasing the minimum payout requirements and encouraging foundations to consider spending down some of their endowments.
In today's flourishing investment climate, such foundations could distribute more of their earnings. In addition, foundations working to overcome specific problems - such as particular diseases - might have more impact by spending down their endowment over a period of years.
Examples of groups working on this issue include: Capital Research Center, Council on Foundations, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Dramatically scale up microcredit, including support for microcredit as a major instrument of socially responsible investing.
The technology of microcredit delivery has matured to a point where it can be a reliable and extremely impactful tool to promote local economic development. To meet the untapped demand for microcredit, additional resources must be raised by creating stronger linkages between the microcredit providers and mainstream banks. At the same time, the institutional capacity of microcredit providers must be improved.
Examples of groups working on this issue include: ACCION, Citigroup, Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, Deustche Bank, Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), SEEP Network