BY LAURENCE LIEN
A year ago, it was easy to make plans, but difficult to carry them out. This year, I found it difficult to make plans, but yet a lot still seems to get done. What has replaced long term plans, are rolling short term ones, where the nimble, resilient and dynamic amongst us have thrived.
In terms of general outlook, things look more optimistic than six months ago. It has been a marvel that humankind has developed so many successful vaccines in record time. Economic outlook is better today. And many governments and companies have also stepped up.
But as we look deeper, the situation is a lot more concerning. Vaccine nationalism has reared its ugly head. Most SDGs face considerable setback; with decades of work undone in less than a year, and the carnage still continuing. And of great concern to me, is the mental health challenges that many are facing.
Hence, philanthropy is more critical now than ever. APC’s own programming has pivoted towards salient issues spotlighted by the current realities. We have fewer country-specific roundtables, and have more issue-based ones, like our recent one on COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. We have also mobilising our members to tackle mental health issues, migrant workers’ treatment and climate change.
More than ever, we are humbled, and we need to re-learn. We have therefore more learning events and discussions with experts, and are putting together a set of philanthropy toolkits that we are putting together. We are also re-doubling our efforts to build the philanthropy ecosystem—to be announced over the course of the year!
But whatever we do, we have this unique chance to be more reflective, and to ask ourselves some of the deeper questions. What is the world we are re-creating post-COVID? How are we changing philanthropy, permanently? And what boundaries must we bust to create authentic change? Not answering these and taking action would be a waste of a good crisis.