The future of philanthropy for biodiversity

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For societal and biodiversity resilience and regeneration, the Luc Hoffmann Institute is exploring the possible futures of philanthropy. What paradigm shifts are occurring that will shape ways of giving in the future? What are the new paradigms and models of funding/giving and beyond that that could increase net-positive outcomes for nature and people?

For this exploration, the institute is conducting background research and interviews, and plans to use the emerging themes and questions to form a state of knowledge report and spark a conversation with a diverse range of stakeholders, including philanthropists, grantees, people at the forefront of community-led conservation, and NGOs from the Global South and North.


Now more than ever, a paradigm shift is needed in philanthropy if it hopes to contribute to more durable solutions to the world’s most complex challenges. Power dynamics – between grantors and grantees, donors and communities – have always been an inherent part of philanthropy. In the past decade, growing awareness of economic inequality and racial disparities has begun to make these often unspoken undercurrents much more visible. There are also issues that need exploring, such as human rights or siloed funding that create trade-offs and impede systemic impact.

Related SDGs

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The Future of Philanthropy begins as the seed of an idea from conversations at the Luc Hoffmann Institute in 2020.

Fokussiert / Adobe Stock
December 2021

The Future of Conservation NGOs project beginning to hone in on themes including operational and funding models; communication and narratives; interdependency and inclusivity; and legacy, power, and principles.

The Future of Conservation NGOs

Simon Rawles / WWF
January 2022

The themes from the Future of Conservation NGOs are tied back to the Future of Philanthropy seedling and the idea enters the institute innovation pipeline with an initial small ideation budget.

Chairman of the MAVA Foundation and Luc Hoffmann Institute Advisory Council member André Hoffmann calls for innovative sources of funding that better balance the needs of nature, social, and human capital.

André Hoffmann on strategic philanthropy for nature regeneration

Steve Taylor / WWF-UK
February 2022

Students (Marija Jurcevic, Nebat Kasozi, Gal Zanir, and Christina Meister) from the University of Cambridge’s Masters in Conservation Leadership programme focus their innovation challenge project on the Future of Philanthropy, and put together an initial internal report on ‘The future of philanthropy in nature conservation’, drawing from desktop research, a survey within the nature conservation sector, and interviews with a handful of people in the philanthropy sector. The report explores potential paradigm shifts that could help conservationists obtain the necessary funding to support biodiversity projects across the world. Vyn / WWF
March-April 2022

A project team is set up, consisting of Jessica Villat as Project Lead, Christy Carter as Project Management Consultant, and Nayantara Kilachand as Project Communication Consultant. Paul West from Project Drawdown also joins as Project Advisor. The institute begins conducting background research and interviews with a diverse array of leaders in the philanthropic and environmental space including donors, grantees, and conservation organisations from the Global South and North.

Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden
May 2022

A state of knowledge report, due for external release in Autumn 2022, is commissioned from lead author Benjamin Soskis, Senior Research Associate at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute.

jayzynism / AdobeStock
June 2022

Jessica Villat, Head of Communication at the Luc Hoffmann Institute, writes a thought piece on why any reimagining of philanthropic models must emerge from a wider systemic overhaul that addresses issues of equity, power, and diversity.

What is the future of philanthropy?

James Suter, Black Bean Productions / WWF-US
August 2022

Kathy Reich, director of BUILD at the Ford Foundation shares her thoughts with the Luc Hoffmann Institute on why philanthropy needs to become more humble and the mindset shift that gets us there.

“Philanthropy needs to become more humble”

September 2022

Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director at the John Ellerman Foundation asks the hard questions funders will need to answer in order to effect systems change for people and planet.

To create systems change, philanthropy first needs to change itself

November 2022

Serial entrepreneur Ndidi Nwuneli on why philanthropic resources in Africa must empower local models and partners.

Ndidi Nwuneli on pushing for a more local approach and ownership of philanthropy


Drew Beamer / Unsplash

A diverse set of stakeholders from the philanthropic and environmental sectors collectively take forward a vision for how new and radical ways of giving and thinking could lead to systems change for people and nature to flourish as one.

Timeline ends here

Related resources

André Hoffmann on strategic philanthropy for nature regeneration
In January 2022, the chairman of the MAVA Foundation makes an impassioned plea for innovative business and funding models that can address root causes of threats to both biodiversity and humanity.

Exploring possible futures for conservation NGOs
A March 2022 analysis report by Luc Hoffmann Institute authored by Barney Tallack, Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Martin Kalungu-Banda, and Marcelo Furtado that examines
several aspects of how nature conservation could be better organised, approached, and funded.

System change in philanthropy for development: a research framework for global growth markets
A May 2022 report prepared by Dr. Shonali Banerjee of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy highlights often neglected perspectives from Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

The Luc Hoffmann Institute is transitioning to become a new entity, a Geneva-based foundation, with a new brand and name, Unearthodox. You are warmly invited to continue the journey with us and are now being redirected to