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The Pearl Initiative, King Khalid Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaborate work to Boost Governance in Philanthropy in Gulf Region

Wednesday, February 28, 2018/ Editor -  


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  • Pearl Initiative launches Governance in Philanthropy pilot in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • MoU signing with King Khalid Foundation
Dubai, UAE, 28 February 2018:   The Pearl Initiative, a leading Gulf-based non-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness across the region, has launched its latest programme ‘Corporate Governance in the Philanthropic Sector’, with grant support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The announcement comes amidst a rise in philanthropic initiatives in the region, demonstrated by the UAE’s declaration of 2017 as the Year of Giving and the Saudi Vision 2030 commitment to developing the non-profit sector. Notably, global consulting firm Strategy& estimates that the philanthropic donations of the 100 largest family businesses in the GCC region amount to around US$7 billion annually, and the 2017 Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index ranked the UAE among the top ten most generous nations in the world for giving  on a per capita basis.
Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative, said: “We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for partnering with us in this critical area of our region’s governance landscape. We are honoured to earn recognition for our efforts in promoting corporate governance with this grant for our new Corporate Governance in the Philanthropic Sector programme.”
He added: “Results from our recent survey in the region demonstrate that when it comes to philanthropy, greater trust and transparency bring about a multiplier effect on impact. This is the opportunity we hope to realise through the organisation’s engagement with the sector.” 
Speaking on the decision to support the Pearl Initiative’s non-profit programme, Robert Rosen, Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “The nations in the GCC are world-renowned for their generosity. There is huge potential to increase the impact of this giving with the right tools, standards and practices.” He added: “With the Pearl Initiative’s success in raising corporate governance standards across the large number of family businesses and corporates in the region, we are excited about the benefits this collaboration will bring to the Gulf Region’s philanthropic sector.” 
The Pearl Initiative is expanding its outreach under this programme across the Gulf Region. The “Excellence in Philanthropy” roundtable was held this week at the Jumeirah Mina A’Salam to raise awareness on the current governance practices in the region’s philanthropic and non-profit sector. The roundtable also served as a platform for the Pearl Initiative to commemorate its collaboration with one of the leading philanthropic institutions in the Gulf Region, King Khalid Foundation, through an MoU signing between the two parties. 
On the collaboration, H.R.H. Princess Al-Bandari A.R. AlFaisal, CEO at King Khalid Foundation, commented: “Our partnership with the Pearl Initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is based on our belief that philanthropy, if done strategically and thoughtfully, could play a much bigger role in the region. If foundations, individual and corporate donors as well as the government were more strategic about their giving, if they were willing to partner more and if they approached their giving in a more comprehensive and systematic way aimed at solving problems rather than just fixing them, we could see a huge change in our societies.” 
The roundtable brought together over 50 leaders in philanthropy, corporate giving and non-profit organisations to discuss how the effectiveness of giving can be enhanced through institutional philanthropy and improved governance practices. It also highlighted some of the key findings of research conducted as part of the programme, which will be published later this year in a regional thought leadership report. 

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