Alwaleed Philanthropies Changes Gears to Build Partnerships

Alwaleed Philanthropies Changes Gears to Build Partnerships

Alwaleed Philanthropies, one of the world's largest private foundations, has announced a pivot to a new strategy that will see it more actively seek out global partnerships and projects, with a focus on women and youth empowerment, Devex reports.

Established in 1980, the Saudi Arabia-based foundation currently works with a hundred partners in a hundred and sixty countries. In the past, it has largely funded projects that were already in the works or ready for financing, including an effort led by UNICEF to combat measles and rubella; an initiative spearheaded by the END Fund to eliminate neglected tropical diseases; and a number of renewable energy initiatives spearheaded by Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

The foundation, which reviews proposals twice a year, in June and November, is expected to roll out its new strategy in the new year. According to the foundation's secretary general, Princess Lamia bint Majid Al Saud, the vast majority of the projects funded under the new strategy will continue to be so-called synergy projects that link international expertise and organizations with Saudi capabilities and skills. For example, it plans to partner with UN Women in an upcoming initiative that will see Saudi women serve as mentors to female refugees across the globe. It also expects to increase its work in Saudi Arabia, as that nation undertakes an ambitious program of economic and social reforms.

In 2016, the foundation's founder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, signed the Giving Pledge, pledging that the majority of his fortune, estimated at some $32 billion, would be directed toward charitable causes and organizations. In the almost four decades since its creation, Alwaleed Philanthropies has awarded a total of $4 billion.

"Before this [new] strategy, we were a supporting foundation — a funding source. But I wasn't satisfied [with] that," Princess Lamia told Devex. "I said, I want to create my own projects. I have the best consultants, I have the best team, I have the best researchers, so why not?"