Is venture philanthropy responsive enough to migrant and refugee needs?  Asks Andrew Milner when reporting on discussion at the European Venture Philanthropy Association conference.  Andrew ventures the answer ‘No’, but describes three projects that have proved successful in Rotterdam, Belgium and Paris.  [Click here to read Andrew’s article for Alliance Magazine]

The work supported by Stichting de Verre Bergen in Rotterdam is both practical and an exercise in philanthropic pragmatism.  The foundation buys houses, rents them to migrants, and re-invests the rental income in providing other essential services to migrant and refugee communities.  These services include language training and other mechanisms for re-settlement and integration.  Every effort is made to buy houses in communities where Dutch families live in order to prevent marginalization.  Sayida Goedhoop explained the work of the foundation by pointing out that fund representatives had gone round knocking on doors in the communities where houses are purchased in order to tell people about the initiative and to introduce the migrant families to their new neighbours.  There were no problems encountered when the new tenants moved in.

This initiative is a practical use of philanthropy to generate sustainable solutions, but critically it recognizes the importance of taking the time to do the initial ground work – making information available and building relationships at neighbourhood level.

 by Avila Kilmurray, November 2016