How to Be a Game Changer:
A pioneer in transformative philanthropy, Ise Bosch, is awarded the German Donor Award 2018
This year, the Association of German Foundations presents its highest award to Ise Bosch. The award ceremony will be held on May 16th, 2018 in Nuremberg during the annual meeting of foundations. Ise Bosch will be honored for the interdisciplinarity of her donor activities, amongst other reasons. Michael Göring, Chairperson of the Association of German Foundations: “Ise Bosch uses the different ways of philanthropic tools with virtuosity, from funds, to community foundations, the not-for-profit LLC, and the network for women with inherited wealth. She embodies a generation of donors whose work reaches beyond the traditional foundation.”
While a traditional foundation has to invest its capital in restricted ways and may only use the earnings for its grantmaking, a not-for-profit LLC (gemeinnützige GmbH) can use its capital more creatively. All capital, both grants and financial investments, can be utilized for social impact, such as gender equality and gender diversity. This is the model Dreilinden gGmbH uses.
Ise Bosch’s work offers a new view on philanthropy and its possibilities for impact.
“I would like to see more people working together, including those with more and with less power. I would like there to be more bridges, and hopefully once again more egalitarian societies,” Ise Bosch describes her vision. “This is why I say ‘yes’ to the power that is available to me – while I am not saying ‘yes’ to the exclusion of others from power.”
Ise Bosch grew up privileged and learned early on that money and power are connected to responsibility. To motivate other wealthy people to take their own philanthropic steps, Ise Bosch paints a picture for giving well in her book ‘Better giving’ (‘Besser Spenden!’). She describes how to find out which topics are closest to one’s heart. In her point of view, such a strong personal motivation is necessary to trust in the development of one’s philanthropic field.
Ise Bosch, a member of the LGBTQI community, knows about the struggles and lived realities in this field from personal experience. She has an insider’s view. “Why the strict distinction between ‘men’ and ‘women’,” she asks, “why the inequality? This forces power structures upon us, and is a main source of violence and poverty in the world.”
The creation of a society where people of diverse genders, identities and attractions can live together, and where power is distributed more equally is what Ise Bosch is aiming for. She uses Dreilinden to bring private capital to these charitable causes. “Societies are more humane and stronger when gender roles are less fixed, and less hierarchically ordered”.
As early as 1996, Ise Bosch became the founding donor to the International Fund for Sexual Minorities at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (New York, USA), worldwide the only community foundation focusing explicitly on lesbian issues. Today, Astraea is one of the leading LGBTQI human rights funders, supporting more than 500 groups in 99 countries internationally.
Together with eight other women, Ise Bosch founded the German women’s community foundation, filia.die frauenstiftung. Here, money, ideas, and projects with a feminist focus are pooled under the premise of “Change not Charity”. “It is an easy and direct way to invest money in the women’s movement,” says Ise Bosch.
Even today, women experience a major inheritance quite differently from men. The Pecunia network for women with inherited wealth, co-initiated by Ise Bosch in 2003, provides a platform to connect personally, and to support each other in finding meaningful ways to use their inheritance. The book ‘Women inheritors taking responsibility’ (‘Wir Erbinnen – Frauen übernehmen Verantwortung’) was published in this context in 2016.
At the moment, Ise Bosch is working on her new book, which will be published on the occasion of the German Foundation Award. Together with co-authors Justus Eisfeld and Claudia Bollwinkel, she reflects on ten years of holistic grantmaking and investments by Dreilinden gGmbH and defines her method of ‘transformative philanthropy’. According to a recent impact analysis, 86 percent of projects supported by Dreilinden indicate a sustainable strengthening of their structures and resulting power shifts in favor of the communities served locally. 82 percent state that Dreilinden supports new lines of work that previously did not exist.
How does this come about? Transformative philanthropy turns the power of money into creative and decision-making power for many. It questions mechanisms of inequality and respects the expertise of people in the field. The donors are part of the process in direct exchange with the supported groups. Transformative philanthropy specifically supports young projects, it invests in organizational structures, offers flexibility in the way the money is used, commits to the long term, and keeps paperwork to a minimum. The power of money thus operates in favor of the local groups’ social innovation. Their actions take center stage, not the capital provided. This way, assets are invested in a more equal and more humane world with a special kind of efficiency.
How to get started? “Find one topic. Mine came to me from life experience - and everyone has life experiences. Once you have your topic, go out and find one or two or three or four organizations working on it. Get to know them well, stick with the ones you like best for the long term. If you keep doing that for a while, there’s a fair chance that there will be some successes, that you’ve learned lots and found friends. And that you’ve truly been of help.“, advises Ise Bosch in her forthcoming book.
„To give means to have influence“- filia.die frauenstiftung invites you to visit a disussion about philanthropy for a just and diverse society on May 17th, 2018 during the annual conference of German Foundations. Ise Bosch – one of the founding donors of the German women’s foundation filia.die frauenstiftung, Dr. Wilfried Vyslozil – managing director and executive chairperson of SOS children’s villages international, and Sonja Schelper – executive director of filia.die Frauenstiftung are panelists, the discussion is moderated by Anja Paehlke.Printable photos and further information
Astraea honored Ise Bosch with a Transformative Philanthropy Award at their 40th Anniversary Gala in New York. Pictured is Ise Bosch with Astraea's Executive Director, J. Bob Alotta. On November 13, 2017
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