Weekly podcasts on philanthropy, sustainability and social entrepreneurship, hosted by Alberto Lidji, former Global CEO of the Novak Djokovic Foundation. Insightful interviews with the leaders who are achieving remarkable change. Be inspired!
Dr Sanford “Sandy” Greenberg shares his philanthropic ambition to end blindness. Sandy is blind, highly accomplished and talks with passion about adversity, hope and driving medical breakthroughs
Sandy lost his eyesight in 1961 from glaucoma while he was a student at Columbia. At that point, he promised God that he’d do everything he could for the rest of his life to make sure no one else should go blind — he has led a successful life full of purpose.
Just days ago, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Wilmer Eye Institute established the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Center to End Blindness.
Sandy sheds light on the Center’s drive to support the next generation of researchers who have high risk, high reward ideas but lack funding and mentorship. The Center aims to raise $100 million and they have already secured half that amount.
Sandy also shares fascinating anecdotes, including how his college roommate (music legend) Art Garfunkel would read to him when he lost his sight; his emotions as he wrote his book ‘Hello Darkness My Old Friend”; and his relentless pursuit of education at Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.
If you want to hear a touching, personal story where optimism overcomes adversity and where purpose tackles blindness, this episode is for you.
Thank you for listening to The Do One Better Podcast. Please subscribe, follow and share with others. For information on nearly 150 episodes, please visit our website at Lidji.org
Charmaine Griffiths, CEO of the British Heart Foundation, joins Alberto Lidji to talk about the challenges posed by the pandemic, the immense value of partnerships and why a sense of urgency matters
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is at the forefront of funding cardiovascular research, with £447m in active research commitments across the UK, powered by 4,000 staff and 20,000 volunteers. They are celebrating their 60th birthday in 2021.
Every year the BHF funds around £100m in new research, backing the best talent and a wide range of projects, from data science and new AI technology to genetics and regenerative medicine.
They embrace a strong sense of urgency in support of the 7.6m people who have cardiovascular disease in the UK and we hear of the pressing need to tackle patient waiting lists, which pose a real threat to many people in serious medical need.
The BHF relies on strong, diverse partnerships with key stakeholders from the private sector, government, academia, other charities and many other sectors — both nationally and locally. Partnerships are crucial to the BHF and we explore some specific partnerships during this episode.
Charmaine also provides much insight into the challenges she faced while managing the BHF during the COVID-19 pandemic. She joined as CEO in February 2020, just as the pandemic was taking off and had to close their offices shortly thereafter — facing a steep learning curve as she and her colleagues learned to operate in a digital environment. A real challenge when you need to engage with 20,000 volunteers.
The pandemic impacted every aspect of the BHF’s operations, including its 730 shops and stores, which are scattered across the whole of the UK.
During the worst moments of the pandemic, BHF was losing £10m monthly. Last summer, they reduced the operating size of the core organisation by 25% to ensure they maximised and protected their revenues from charitable work, with the aim of ensuring they didn’t have to reduce any of their research activities.
Fortunately, their stores have now reopened and their offices have embraced a hybrid working model — a new way of working they are looking to maintain for the long-term. We hear about their Flexibly Connected programme that redesigned their office environment and ensures people have what they need when they work from home and aims to encourage office use as convening spaces for collaboration.
This is a fascinating and inspiring chat with an energetic CEO who cares deeply about the British Heart Foundation and the millions of people it supports.
Visit The Do One Better Podcast website at Lidji.org for information on nearly 150 other interviews with remarkable thought leaders. Please subscribe, follow and leave a review if you enjoy the show. Thank you!
Caroline Anstey, President & CEO of Pact, explores how the NGO sector is accounting for its own carbon emissions and argues the sector isn’t always practising what it preaches
Caroline had an 18-year career at the World Bank, where she worked as Managing Director in charge of Operational Policy; Chief of Staff; and Vice President for External Affairs.
She subsequently joined UBS as Group Managing Director to spearhead the firm’s sustainability policy and investment products.
Today, despite being part of the NGO sector herself, she expresses her views candidly and notes that NGOs can improve how they manage their carbon emissions, report on their carbon footprint and provide visibility on their path to net zero.
She is cautious not to generalise and, indeed, mentions that NGOs directly working on environmental issues tend to be ahead of the curve in having robust climate commitments; but many others in the NGO sector are behind the curve.
Caroline references the United Kingdom's FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) and their recent mandate requesting to know the carbon footprint of organisations that are implementing their projects. In her view, NGOs will be under increased pressure from governments, donors and employees to present more robust commitments to net zero and provide visibility on the path they will take to get there.
Visit The Do One Better Podcast website at Lidji.org for information on nearly 150 interviews with remarkable thought leaders. Please subscribe, follow and share widely. Thank you!
Shami Nissan, Head of Responsible Investment at Actis, joins Alberto Lidji to discuss ESG investing from a practitioner’s perspective — exploring key questions and highlighting the latest trends
We start off by delving into the differences in approach and expectations between traditional investing, ESG investing and impact investing. Today, the broad view is that it is perfectly viable to seek competitive, risk-adjusted returns, while pursuing best practice in ESG (environmental, social and governance). While, on the more philanthropic side of the spectrum, there are those who are happy to accept concessionary rates of return, trading off some financial return in favour of an improvement in social good.
We look at the Net Zero movement and decarbonisation. And, we explore some areas of contention among those who seek a net zero world. For instance, should one divest from fossil fuels immediately or could one have more leverage by staying engaged?
By divesting immediately, some argue that you lose your voice as an investor to help those firms transition into net zero. Within public equity companies, if one divests it simply means that someone else is buying these stocks, and you are arguably not making a real world impact, in the sense that the CO2 is still being emitted. Therefore, by engaging actively as an investor across all sectors (i.e. not just renewables) you continue to wield influence to try to change the strategic direction of firms, such that companies do the transitioning to net zero themselves.
In this episode we also look at the different tools and approaches available for ESG-minded investors in public and private equity markets. We explore how Actis works with their portfolio companies to help them improve on ESG and how they aim to unlock value during the time of ownership.
This episode explores a wide range of areas from an investment professional’s perspective. Please note you may also wish to listen to our previous interviews with Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC, and Carmine Di Sibio, Global Chairman and CEO of EY, where we explore ESG and the move to standardising reporting frameworks globally.
Follow and subscribe to The Do One Better Podcast and please leave us a review if you enjoy the show. Visit our website at Lidji.org for information on nearly 150 other interviews with remarkable thought leaders. Thank you!
Philanthropists Laurence Lien, Kathlyn Tan and Dominic Scriven are all collaborating on the launch of Asia Philanthropy Circle’s new Climate Collective, which is launching now!
Asia Philanthropy Circle’s (APC) new climate collective is launching now and we hear from three philanthropists who have very different experiences and expertise — from long track-records to NextGen perspectives — who share a passion for tackling the climate crisis.
APC is about learning, exchanging ideas and collaborating. It’s about taking joint action to do more and to do better. Climate is one of their key philanthropic areas of interest; others include education, healthcare, the ageing population and mental health. By working together they can drive philanthropy on climate and have more impact. Only 2% of global philanthropy goes towards climate.
Kathlyn Tan is a next generation philanthropist and leads the environmental portfolio of her family’s philanthropy, the Rumah Foundation, in Singapore. They do impact investing, philanthropy and are also looking at how best to integrate ESG in their business interests. Kathlyn’s passion stems from the ocean and her love of diving and marine life. She’s very excited about the climate collective and it is inspiring to see more philanthropists tackling this vital issue.
Laurence Lien launched APC six years ago and is also Chairman of Lien Foundation, a family foundation established in 1980. He notes that climate is a problem too big for any single one of us to tackle alone. Importantly, we need to dispel the notion that there’s not much that philanthropy can do about the climate crisis. Laurence is keen on this partnership because the scale of the problem is just so big. The new APC Climate Collective is just a starting point — this is not just about collaboration with each other but also about collaboration with other global funders.
Dominic Scriven has been living in Vietnam for 30 years; he’s originally from the UK. He has been running Dragon Capital, a financial institution with a focus in Vietnam, for most of that time. Dominic cares deeply about the broader climate crisis and he notes that Vietnam is a victim of climate change. He’s keen to see how developing countries can deal with the climate crisis and this is very much front and centre in his thinking, both personally and in his business. Dominic is particularly interested in biodiversity economics and is focusing much of his philanthropic efforts on creating metrics to measure biodiversity improvement and degradation.
There are eight APC members joining together initially to launch this new climate collective, along with a full-time member of staff from APC to help co-ordinate this initiative. They’re approaching this with an open mind and appreciation of the many opportunities for working together and collaborating.
Visit The Do One Better Podcast website at Lidji.org for information on close to 150 other interviews with remarkable thought leaders. Please leave us a review if you enjoy the show -- thank you.
John Rendel of the Peter Cundill Foundation joins Alberto Lidji to talk about trust-based philanthropy and the value of long-term, unrestricted funding provided by grant-makers
A strong case is made by John Rendel in support of unrestricted funding, encouraging grant-makers to embrace this approach to giving and calling on recipient organisations to fight for the cause of unrestricted funding as well.
John’s advice is that if you, as a grant-maker, don’t trust the organisation you’re supporting, then don’t trust a restricted grant to that organisation. And, if you do trust them, then give them unrestricted funding.
We need to build the understanding of how restricted grants undermine impact and reduce the efficacy of the organisations grant-makers are trying to empower.
While the philanthropy sector has seen a move towards more unrestricted funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peter Cundill Foundation has been arguing for this approach since before the pandemic was a fact of life.
The Peter Cundill Foundation grants out around USD $9 million annually. They are based in Bermuda and operate internationally, including in the UK, Canada and Sub-Saharan Africa. They do much of their funding in support of charities that are improving the lives of children around the world.
Please subscribe, share and leave us a review if you enjoy the show. For more information on more than 100 interviews with remarkable thought leaders, visit The Do One Better Podcast website at Lidji.org
Great conversations on philanthropy
A superb podcast for all those interested in keeping up to date with thought leaders in philanthropy. A stellar cast of interviewees share their insights and are ably pushed by the host to produce interesting debate. A must listen for donors and development professionals alike!
Highly recommend this podcast! Very insightful in the field of Philanthropy, sustainability and entrepreneurship . Very well articulated and structured. Some great conversations and Alberto is a fantastic host!
Fantastic podcast for ESG and philanthropy
Awesome podcasts on philanthropy, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Interviews with CEOs and leaders who are transforming society.