Looking back on one year as an EZ-Scout
So much commitment in the work of foundations!
Since June 2017, Dr Annette Kleinbrod has been an EZ-Scout (Advisor for International Cooperation) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and is seconded to the Association of German Foundations. With her support, the Association of German Foundations aims to give new impetus to international cooperation. As a development cooperation expert, Dr Kleinbrod supports the work of foundations in the area of offering effective solutions to national and global challenges.
In an interview with the newsroom of the Association of German Foundations, Dr Kleinbrod looks back on her experiences in her first year in the role.
Annette, you have reached the milestone of one year in your EZ-Scout position as an advisor for international cooperation at the Association of German Foundations. What are your impressions of the work?
It has been an absolutely fascinating time. Much is happening in the foundation and philanthropy sector: for one thing, there are the members of the Association of German Foundations, who find solutions to social challenges in various ways. And then there are always new impulses from national and global developments, which are taken up by foundations. The next generation of founders also have new focuses. This will greatly influence the international work. I see the Association of German Foundations as an organisation that is member-oriented and that, based on the experiences of the past, openly looks to the future, and takes up new topics and networks internationally for this purpose. And so I have been particularly pleased to be at the Association of German Foundations during this time and to be able help to further international cooperation.
A special feature of your function is that you work with very different organisations. What does that mean to you?
In my daily work, I am frequently in contact with the members of the association – of all sizes, small, medium and large. I still find it incredible how much commitment and heart the founders and their employees bring to their work. At the same time, the team of the Association of German Foundations is always particularly committed to the foundation and philanthropy sector and thus achieves many positive effects.
In my daily work, I am also in close contact with BMZ, GIZ and Engagement Global. In addition to their great support for the foundation work, I particularly appreciate the openness of BMZ to jointly seeking new solutions for cooperation. GIZ gives me professional support in identifying and implementing new and appropriate approaches. In my collaboration with Engagement Global, I benefit from their good knowledge of civil society.
The idea of such different organisations working together to find solutions to social challenges is something that is called for in the Sustainable Development Goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda: Filling the global partnership for sustainable development with new life. For my work as an EZ-Scout this brings many possibilities!
Have there been any surprises or tasks you did not expect?
The current four posts for EZ-Scouts for foundations are scheduled as a pilot project for the period June 2017 to December 2019. In the context of the pilot project, the first few months as EZ-Scout initially consisted of exploring how this position at the Association of German Foundations can be filled appropriately and meaningfully. The team of the Association of German Foundations made this phase very easy for me by welcoming me as an external advisor very openly and integrating me, and giving me an initially rather steep learning curve for the cooperation with the foundation sector.
Initially, the position of the EZ-Scout was intended to involve one-to-one advice for foundations in international cooperation. This has happened in individual cases. However, it turned out that this was not necessarily the main interest of foundations. Therefore, we readjusted my work. Together with the association, I am now working on providing information on international cooperation, providing new impetus, facilitating meetings and exchanges, establishing partnerships, and pointing out new approaches for project support and investments in Africa and Asia.
Is there anything that did not work out according to your original plans?
In an interview at the beginning of my work as EZ-Scout, I answered "yes" to the question of whether I would also advise on financing a project abroad. I guess I have to clarify this: this related to the financing of projects abroad implemented by foundations based in Germany and not the financing of projects abroad that have nothing to do with foundations. I can certainly point out possibilities, but I cannot act as a fundraiser within the framework of this EZ-Scout position and I am also not involved in the actual application processes. I usually therefore refer to Engagement Global and the online foundation search of the Association of German Foundations. The online foundation search shows which foundations are funding activities in which areas and are also accepting applications. The application form can then be obtained from the foundation itself or its website.
What will your next few months look like?
It will be colourful: we will continue to communicate via the Global Engagement blog. In the area of meetings and exchange, the Association of German Foundations will organise a further reflection and planning circle and a workshop on Africa and, together with GLS Bank, the Mission Investing Forum 2018, which has a focus on Africa and sustainability goals. We will establish and expand partnerships. And we will also work on how foundations can implement the sustainability goals of the 2030 Agenda. For example, there will be a workshop on this topic on the Day of Foundation Management in Hildesheim on 6 September 2018. In addition, we are including questions on the future of philanthropy in the Next Philanthropy project. I look forward to further cooperation with foundations, the Association of German Foundations, BMZ, GIZ and Engagement Global. I am confident that together we will achieve positive impacts that will contribute to a sustainable solution to society's challenges.