Foreign Aid

In his book The Rise of Global Civil Society, former Sagamore fellow Don Eberly makes the case that compassion is America’s greatest export.  With government contributions to the developing world totaling $20 billion and private giving literally four times that amount,  America is undoubtedly a generous nation.  But mounting research proves that our help sometimes hurts.  Sagamore is at the leading edge of the reform effort to shift old-style, top-down aid to strategic philanthropy and expanded trade.

Over the past two years, Sagamore has been building the Bradley Commission on Africa, a joint effort between Sagamore Institute and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation that is working to mobilize African and American leaders to encourage development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Related, Sagamore was recently tapped to serve as a strategic partner for ISOKO Institute, a Kigali-based free-market think tank. ISOKO (“marketplace” in Kinyarwanda) serves as a catalyst for entrepreneurs and investors to launch new businesses and to test their innovations in Africa’s marketplace. With Sagamore president Jay Hein at the helm as ISOKO’s managing director, Sagamore is helping transform the international development debate to emphasize trade over aid.

Another unconventional approach to foreign aid is illustrated by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Philanthropy Secretariat. Senior Fellow Donald Cassell recently completed a case study on President Sirleaf’s efforts to strengthen philanthropist-sponsored contributions to Liberia.

Explore these efforts below.

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Rethinking Foreign Aid

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