Philanthropy in Emerging Markets: Russia as a Case Study

Thursday, May 2, 2013 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm EDT
Philanthropy New York, 79 Fifth Ave., 4th floor, NYC
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Whether you are an experienced funder in Russia or another “BRICS” country (or in any emerging-market country or the global south), or if you’re just starting to consider such grantmaking, make plans to join this exceptional panel of experts for a discussion that will give all funders cutting-edge ideas and critical context for international work.
Russia provides us an exceptionally rich case study as it shares much in common with many other emerging-market countries.  The country has a complex and complicated political and economic landscape, a vast and resource-rich (but climatically unfavorable) geography, and a heterogeneous, variegated society that is rich both in culture and conflict. All of these factors make Russia a key site for international grantmakers who want to understand both the challenges to as well as the opportunities for global philanthropic impact.
At the same time, Russia is now the world’s sixth largest economy and has the third-highest growth rate of all leading economic powers.  Its explosive economy has led to a sharp growth in the country’s wealthy population: in the past year, the number of billionaires in Russia increased by two-thirds, and Moscow is now home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. These emerging wealthy entrepreneurs have the potential to transform the scale and character of philanthropy in Russia in the coming decade.  Many of them, like their counterparts in other BRICS countries, look to U.S. foundations to understand how philanthropy works.
In this briefing, the first in an occasional series on the BRICS countries, seasoned funders and business leaders will discuss their experiences with philanthropy in Russia, how they have navigated a host of obstacles, and forecast the emerging opportunities and challenges they see for philanthropy in the country’s future.


  • How to measure and evaluate the impact of international grantmaking programs, particularly in local or national environments where accountability and transparency are difficult or even dangerous to achieve
  • How growing wealth — and mounting wealth disparities — in emerging economies like Russia will alter philanthropy both locally and globally
  • How the distinctive political, social, cultural and economic conditions in Russia create opportunities and challenges for U.S. funders
  • Insights from experienced practitioners on the climate for nonprofits and how funders in Russia can best support the NGO sector
A Philanthropy New York Member Service Co-sponsored by Philanthropy New York’s International Grantmakers Network. This program is "Partially Open."
This program is generously supported by the Renova Group, a Philanthropy New York member.


  • Deana Arsenian, Vice President, International Program and Program Director, Russia and Eurasia, Carnegie Corporation
  • Vincent McGee, Trustee, The Gagarin Trust; Member, Board of Overseers of Smolny College, State University of St. Petersburg, Russia; Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Elizabeth McKeon, former Representative for Russia, Ford Foundation
  • Edward Verona, President & CEO, U.S.-Russia Business Council

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All interested funders.
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