PtP in the News: WINGS Philanthropy in Focus Blog Highlights PtP

A new article by Project Director Lester Salamon published on the WINGS Philanthropy in Focus blog introduces a promising new route to creating endowed charitable foundations through the process we have termed “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or PtP for short. This process involves capturing for charitable endowments the proceeds of a host of non-traditional transactions under way around the world. These transactions involve assets that are “invisible in plain sight:” they are in the ground in the form of mineral deposits, in the air in the form of broadband spectrum auctions, in foreign banks in the form of stolen assets, and in legal cases imposing penalties for corporate misdeeds. The PtP Project has already identified well over 600 foundations around the world that have gained endowments from such transactions. This brief piece provides a concise overview of the PtP initiative, introduces the asset classes to which this concept has already been applied, and provides examples of the resulting foundations. We are actively involved in promoting the implementation of this concept in locales across the world and would be eager to learn of possibilities in other areas. Please contact us. Please feel free to share this article with those in your...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: Another Newly-Discovered Major PtP Foundation

As we recently reported, our list of PtP foundations continues to grow. Today, we are pleased to introduce you to our latest discovery: the roughly US$1 billion Truth Initiative (formerly the American Legacy Foundation) created in 1998 out of the same Master Settlement Agreement that brought an end to the litigation brought by a large collection of American states against the manufacturers of cigarettes. Renamed the Truth Initiative in 2014, this PtP foundation grew out of the recognition that the US$246 billion in tobacco settlement funds would largely be absorbed into state treatment programs—leaving little for the preventative programs desperately needed to avoid additional nicotine addictions, especially among youth. The signatories to the agreement thus turned to the vehicle of an endowed charitable foundation as the best channel to promote the “comprehensive, coordinated program of public education and study” that it felt to be “important to further the remedial goals” of the tobacco agreement. The result is “America’s largest nonprofit public health organization committed to making tobacco use a thing of the past.” Thanks in important part to this PtP foundation’s efforts, youth smoking rates in the U.S. have dropped from 23% in 2000 to under 4% today. Recognition...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: Number of PtP Foundations & Amount of Assets Continues to Grow

635 PtP foundations, $200 billion in assets, and counting We are pleased to let you know that the number of identified PtP foundations around the world has continued to expand, as has the amount of assets these foundations control. During the past year, an additional 100 PtP foundations have come to light, representing $65 billion in assets and a nearly 20% jump in the identified number of foundations. Included here are: The Renova Foundation in Brazil, a US$7 billion foundation that got its assets from a penalty arising from an environmental disaster; The enormous US$25 billion “la Caixa” Foundation in Spain, created from the assets of a pre-existing cooperative savings bank that underwent a transformation into a for-profit company along with a network of similar Spanish savings banks in 2014; The US$1.2 billion Lumina Foundation in the United States, established with the assets resulting from the conversion of a nonprofit student loan guarantee organization into a for-profit business in 2000; The US$3.2 billion Mother Cabrini Health Foundation in the United States, established with the assets resulting from the sale of a nonprofit hospital by a for-profit hospital chain in 2018; and The Voqal Foundation, which was the recipient of...

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PtP Highlighted at Recent World Bank Spring Meeting Session on Combatting Corruption

At the recent the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, Project Director Lester Salamon had an opportunity to introduce PtP’s potential for encouraging citizen involvement in anti-corruption efforts—a point which was highlighted as one of the “6 Takeaways From the World Bank Spring Meetings,” as excerpted below. By Sophie Edwards // 19 April 2018   WASHINGTON — Representatives from the World Bank, business, technology companies, media, and law enforcement discussed ways in which they can work together to combat corruption during the Spring Meetings….   Wednesday’s session brought together a diverse range of actors from government, the private sector, media, and academia to discuss new ways and challenges to ending corruption.     6. New models for spending seized assets “Citizens will not get serious about working on corruption unless they see a better result coming from the capture of corrupt assets than they are seeing now,” according to Lester Salamon, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Currently, these assets are put back into government agencies and flow back into corruption,”...

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“How to Apply PtP to State-Owned Enterprises” by William L. Megginson and Lester M. Salamon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chelsea Newhouse Governments around the world have recently been involved in a significant new wave of privatizations-sales of state-owned enterprises to private companies. The 48-month period between January 2013 and December 2016 saw governments raise more money through privatization sales than during any comparable previous period. Yet three times worth of government enterprises than the $3.5 trillion sold since 1977 still remain in government hands, many of them awaiting sale. What happens to the vast resources secured through such sales? Too often, it is difficult to determine. Stories of widespread corruption are rampant. Even when the proceeds are appropriately channeled into government budgets, however, their uses are hard to track. But these are the people’s assets, often the only real assets a population has. Surely a case can be made for handling them more responsibly and ensuring that citizens get a clearer benefit from their use. This is especially so given what is often the “upside-down” effects such asset sales can produce-yielding positive economic benefits for companies and citizens that are often long in coming and too dispersed to be clearly felt; while producing immediate harms in the form of lost jobs and community disruptions...

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“How to Apply PtP to Stolen or Stranded Assets” by Aaron Bornstein and Lester M. Salamon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chelsea Newhouse According to a recent UN report, close to US$4 trillion is stolen from governments or generated by bribes or other forms of corruption each year in countries around the world—an annual sum well above the total budgets of numerous developing and transition country governments. Despite often heroic efforts, however, the record of successful discovery, confiscation, and effective return for social re-use of these vast assets has been frustratingly meager. This limited success in returning such assets for effective social re-use is largely due to the complexity of the process. Also at work, however, is that so much of the attention has had to focus on the challenges of locating, documenting, freezing, and confiscating stolen assets that too little attention has been available to focus on the all-important question of what to do with these assets if and when they become available for potential return. The document being released today seeks to remedy this shortcoming by focusing on one of the most promising of the social re-use and return options available. This is the option exemplified by the case of the BOTA Foundation in Kazakhstan, and by close to 600 other foundations that have...

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The PtP Beat Goes On: A New Cache of PtP Foundations

The recent identification of stolen or stranded assets as another asset class to which the PtP concept can be applied has surfaced a number of new PtP foundations. Already, the PtP Project has issued a case study focusing on one foundation that emerged from this asset class—Kazakhstan’s BOTA Foundation—which came into being out of the confiscated proceeds of a bribe paid to the then-president of this Central Asian country.   Now, however, a new route to the capture of significant resources from illegal activity has come into view: settlements from legal cases in which corporations have been charged with improper, illegal, or negligent behavior.   While such settlements often involve penalty payments to governments, the penalty payments are also often accompanied by settlements in which the offending company agrees to commit resources to help ameliorate a problem similar to one that its behavior helped to perpetuate. Thus, for example, to offset the damage done by the explosion of their Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent leak of millions of barrels of oil into the surrounding ecosystem, oil giant BP and its drilling partner, Transocean, were required to commit US$20.8 billion for reclamation and...

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Project Director Lester Salamon presents the PtP concept in Beijing

In January 2017, Center Director Lester Salamon visited Beijing at the invitation of the Asia Foundation Beijing Office to speak to foundation leaders and students at the China Foundation Centre (CFC), China Donor Roundtable (CDR), and the China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI) about key issues facing the foundation and nonprofit sectors in China.   From a PtP perspective, this visit represented a key opportunity to bring the Philathropication thru Privatization concept to one of the most fertile fields in privatization today. In fact, as detailed by the Privatization Barometer’s PB Report for 2014-2015: “China was, by far, the leading privatizing country during both 2014 and 2015, raising $73.6 billion (€55.7 billion) during 2014, and an astonishing $133.3 billion (€123.0 billion) through August 2015.”   The massive scale of these privatization transactions present a crucial opportunity to build endowed foundations to advance social progress in the country—but only if stakeholders are aware of and advocate for PtP outcomes during the privatization process itself. With this in mind, Dr. Salamon presented the PtP project and conducted an extended conversation on the concept with students, scholars, and philanthropic leaders at CGPI on January 12, 2017. The full session is available here: Part 1 |...

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A Win-Win Route Out of the Greek Debt Crisis

A new article by Project Director Lester Salamon, published today in the May-June edition of The World Financial Review, takes a look at a novel solution to the on-going Greek debt crisis. Rooted in his work exploring a phenomenon he calls “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” this solution looks at a way that at least a portion of the staggering Greek debt might be transformed into an engine of economic development, and in turn, might help make it possible for Greece to eventually payoff the remaining portion of its debt – a possible win-win solution for both sides of the divide. Below is a brief excerpt from the article. Please click here to download the full article.     …………………………………… Excerpted from the May-June 2015 issue of The World Financial Review: Two things have become clear in the Greek debt crisis. First, Greece’s creditors cannot afford to allow Greece to default on its debt and withdraw from the Euro. But second, Greece cannot afford to fulfill its existing debt obligations. Yet, defaulting on the debt or requiring Greece to fulfill all the terms of its existing debt obligations appear to be the only two options Greece and its creditors, respectively, so...

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NEWS RELEASE | A “Win-Win” Solution for Transforming the Philanthropic Landscape of the World

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   With the resources and capabilities of governments and private charity barely growing or in decline around the world, yet the problems of poverty, ill-health, and environmental degradation ballooning daily, it is increasingly clear that new energies, and new resources, are urgently needed to address the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges.   Now a new book, Philanthropication thru Privatization: Building Permanent Endowments for the Common Good by Dr. Lester Salamon of the Johns Hopkins University and the East-West Management Institute, offers a novel solution to this increasingly urgent problem: capture all or a portion of the enormous privatization transactions under way around the world for autonomous charitable endowments serving the social and economic needs of citizens.   Far from an abstract idea, philanthropication thru privatization, or PtP, turns out to be a proven and effective approach for creating or enlarging charitable assets. But it has yet to be recognized as such: until now.   About Philanthropication thru Privatization  In this book, Salamon provides a first conceptualization of the PtP concept and then, working with an international team, documents over 500 foundations around the world that already embody it, including some of the largest and most...

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Philanthropication thru Privatization: A way to build charitable assets?

by Project Director Lester Salamon I had the good fortune to be called out by name recently by celebrated Economist Magazine columnist Matthew Bishop for having put together his “dream conference” combining his “two favorite themes: privatization and philanthrocapitalism.” The occasion for this comment was a conference hosted by the Volkswagen Foundation in Hanover, Germany on 13 September to review the results of an unlikely project I have carried out in cooperation with a superb team of colleagues. The aim is to explore the potential for capturing in charitable endowments at least some of the proceeds of the sales of state-owned enterprises or common-use resources now under way around the world — a phenomenon I have been calling “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or “PtP” for short.   ABOUT THE CONFERENCE We have so far identified over 500 foundations that have emerged from such privatization transactions around the world, and the Hanover Conference was convened to review the exposure draft of a report on how this came about, what it has achieved, and what the prospects are for using this approach to build charitable endowments in other areas, particularly in the global South. A wide representation of foundation, civil society, government,...

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