In our commitment to the three principles, Giving is always placed in front and centre because it represents our principal aim as an organisation and a family. It is focused on philanthropy and the charitable use of the money that we earn. But we give in many other ways too: we give our commitment, our passion, our time. We give respect to others. We give consideration to the environment in everything we do. We give our word and, if we give a promise, we keep it.
Al-Dabbagh has always had Giving at it’s heart, since its founding days. But in more recent years, we realised that we needed a more formal way to make our giving effective.
It was clear from the beginning that we would be supporting disadvantaged children because quite simply, future of the world in their hands, but too often they are deprived of hope for the future. A child without opportunity, a child suffering, a child dying; these are all unnatural states. But more than that, a child dying is also the death of opportunities and of dreams and of hope. We want to replace that loss with achievements and memories for these children to aspire to and to have within reach as they grow up.
The four independent initiatives that make up our impact-driven giving strategy include:
Stars Foundation Awards
We founded Stars Foundation, our first strategic giving initiative, in 2001 to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally, regardless of race, creed or religion. Stars Foundation’s Award programmes support strong locally-led civil society organisations responding to the needs of underserved children. Stars offers its awardees unrestricted funding, capacity building support and helps them amplify their messages to broaden their visibility and access other sector leaders and funders.
Access to capacity building and professional development is a common challenge for NGOs and our second giving initiative focuses on filling that gap. With Philanthropy University, the goal is to provide leaders in the social sector access to training and support to deepen their impact. Philanthropy University is a free, online non-degree granting education initiative powered by Berkeley-Haas and sponsored by Philanthropy U (a non-profit entity wholly owned by Al-Dabbagh Group). The focus of Philanthropy University is on empowering organisations in the Global South (but with open courses to all), with the knowledge, resources and support they need to address social challenges faced by their communities. Philanthropy University offers courses taught by leading educators and practitioners. This initiative has a bold vision to support the lives of 100 million people worldwide by 2020 by training thousands of new and improved NGO leaders to build capacity, grow their networks and collectively change the world.
Centres of Excellence Grants
We partner and support various centres of excellence with grants that fund research in areas relevant to our interest within the philanthropic space. Our partners include think-tanks, academic institutions and fellowships amongst many more, with the key condition that the funded research delivers measurable impact that contributes to our philanthropic finish line.
In our earning platforms, we give through the Game-Changing Initiatives, which implements programmes designed to be scalable, impactful, sustainable and of a game-changing nature. These programmes invest in innovative solutions and ideas that help alleviate some of the world’s most pressing development challenges. This is done by aligning Al-Dabbagh Group companies’ individual activities with global centres of excellence and technical expertise.
We host an annual gathering, the Philanthropreneurship Forum as a convening platform and a community for networking, sharing and identifying best practices in philanthropy. The Philanthropreneurship Forum explores the dynamics of creative philanthropy, and how its practice can catalyse entrepreneurialism, innovation and cross-sector collaboration to make gains in the fight against global challenges. The annual Forum brings together global leaders from philanthropy, development, academia, government and the private sector to critically examine how to achieve social impact, ensure sustainability and deliver scalable progress for communities around the world.
Why is giving so important for Al-Dabbagh? It is our ultimate driver. To give generously is an Islamic ideal, but our projects are not selected on the basis of faith. We give without preference for religion, creed or belief. We give because we know there can be a relationship between the capacity to earn and the desire to give, and we believe in strengthening that relationship.
For us it is also a question of leadership. A good leader is effective in leading a team that share beliefs, values and objectives. We believe it is giving not earning that brings people together.
This matters to the individual but it also matters to the world. We do not see ourselves as ‘donors’ but as responsible global citizens. Our aim is to have an impact on reducing poverty and inequity worldwide.