Congratulations to our August FIN of the Month: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) for successfully implementing the first FIN program in Switzerland and for their continued enthusiasm in their role as international ambassadors for Foundation Center resources! We recently asked Anna Fink, Head of Resource Mobilization and Marketing and FIN supervisor to share more about the work of GCSP and their journey to becoming a FIN partner.
Currently there are twelve FIN partners located outside of the United States, representing ten different countries. GCSP is our latest addition in Europe, joining Asociación Española de Fundaciones (AEF) in Spain, and Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen e. V. in Germany. GCSP is an international foundation focusing on executive education that facilitates collaboration in support of peace, security and international cooperation. Established by the Swiss Confederation in 1995, the Centre equips a diverse range of experts, leaders and practitioners with the knowledge, skills and community they need to help their organizations thrive in today’s ever-changing security landscape.
GCSP provides executive education, dialogue opportunities, policy analysis and forward-thinking solutions to an array of individuals and institutions. Each year they host 1,100 participants, including government officials (diplomats, military, etc.), international organizations, NGOs, business executives, and politicians from 140 nations and have an ever-growing alumni community of over 5,500 international professionals that is vibrant, global and known for its policy influence. In light of this, it’s also important to note that the GCSP is an incubator – of ideas, concepts and actions, thereby offering a safe and innovative space for professionals to come and work on projects either alone or in groups. The close collaborations garnered in such an environment feed news ideas and facilitate fresh ways of thinking.
GCSP inaugurated their FIN space in December 2016 and widely promoted the event to international organizations and nonprofit institutions potentially interested in access to fundraising data. They also maintain a strong web and social media presence, continuing to market the addition of Foundation Center resources to those they serve. GCSP staff has been busy providing both internal and external database instruction and have recently organized a “refresh” to ensure that everyone is adequately trained.
GCSP ultimately decided to become a FIN partner to help local non-profit organizations gain access to a wealth of information on grants and grant-makers around the world, and training on how to use this information. We understand that our global partners have unique needs, live in countries with different nonprofit reporting laws, and work with cross-international funders that may have varying giving priorities. Anna notes, “In Switzerland the funding for the sectors such as military, security, healthcare, aging-induced expenses, is on the rise, as opposed to culture, education, social, international development and cooperation, as well as humanitarian aid for which funding is decreasing, thus making these areas ‘preferred’ areas for philanthropy.” Our international partners do often share that our databases predominantly focus on the U.S.-based foundations and as Anna points out, “the challenge is to explain the pertinence and usefulness of the tools for the grant seekers who are not eligible for the donations coming from the U.S. due to fiscal reasons.” Foundation Center does have a Global Partnerships team that works to increase funder transparency across the world with the hopes of making giving data easily accessible. Learn more about our international work, including SDGFunders.
So far, GCSP has been able to organize and offer a workshop and as Anna mentions, “We have a growing interest from various organizations, recently someone came to consult the database from as far as Basel (over 250 km away).” Looking to the coming year, in 2018 GCSP is planning to increase both the number of courses (including online ones) and events, as well as publications and research. Like many of our partners, they are regularly searching for funds to realize additional initiatives – in particular, GCSP would like to focus more on donor mapping in relation to their diverse themes and prioritize geographic areas.
Once again, kudos to GCSP for being a pioneer FIN in Switzerland – we look forward to following their progress and creating a strong collaboration that expands access of grants data across the global social sector.