Emirates Foundation for Youth Development participates at AFF Annual Meeting

Cairo: The Emirates Foundation for Youth Development outlined its new approach to “effective giving” by replacing grant giving with supported, sustainable projects, during the annual meeting of the Arab Foundation Forum (AFF) in Cairo this month.

At the three-day conference entitled “Maximizing Philanthropic Resources in Times of Changes and Austerity”, Arab and international leaders and scholars across the private, public and philanthropic sectors explored innovative approaches to philanthropy and the need to create long-term, sustainable change.

Speaking at the event, the Emirates Foundation’s CEO Clare Woodcraft outlined the Foundation’s recent move away from grants and cheque-writing into venture philanthropy.

“The Emirates Foundation has built a vibrant and diversified portfolio since its inception working hand in hand with the private sector and our public sector peers. However, in line with the global discourse around how ‘giving’ can be more effective, we recognised the need for change,” Woodcraft explained.

“Venture philanthropy recognises that there are no ‘quick fixes’ to creating developmental results. Instead it calls for a shift away from short-term grant making to long-term, sustainable, programme-based solutions.” She stressed the importance of the AFF conference to developing new approaches in philanthropy by giving participants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with international best practices in this sector.

The concept of venture philanthropy requires taking a risk-based approach to social investing that is based on clear, measurable targets and creates impactful, sustainable outcomes, Woodcraft said adding, “It’s about getting directly involved in supporting beneficiaries rather than simply writing a cheque.” The meetings which ran from September 16 through to 18 included interactive workshops and peer learning sessions during which participants focused on key areas related to: advocacy and self-regulation; generating results and measuring impact; and youth empowerment and employment.

For its part the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development will work in three specific areas to achieve its goals.

The first will focus on building leadership skills that equip young people in the UAE with the mind set and relevant skills for private sector employment by enhancing access to learning and skills development and providing robust career guidance and counseling.

Second, in the area of social inclusion, the Foundation will aim to address specific social issues that hinder the progress of young people. Towards this objective, it will look to better understand the key barriers that disenfranchise young people and provide long-term sustainable solutions that help them become active members of society irrespective of their background and educational level.

Under the Foundation’s third focus area of volunteering, it will help young people to empower themselves through personal achievement and constructive citizenship. A key aspect of this will be to scale up the Foundation’s volunteering programme, Takatof. Takatof has touched the lives of young Emiratis providing an opportunity for young people to support many different areas of society while developing their self-awareness, self-respect.

The Emirates Foundation was launched in April 2005 as an initiative from His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. It is chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 2012, the Emirates Foundation was re-launched under the name “Emirates Foundation for Youth Development” as an integrated national initiative that seeks to invest in UAE youth.

The Emirates Foundation works to enhance partnerships between private and public sectors, and make use of these partnerships to develop non-profit projects and initiatives across the UAE. It is funded through contributions from the Abu Dhabi government and private sector companies channelled to support its endowment fund.

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