by Mario Morino, Co-founder of VPP
As many of you know, I have just returned from a trip to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, where I was representing General Atlantic Partners in my role as Special Partner. I attended numerous sessions on a wide range of topics including philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, both of which were emerging themes of the meeting, and areas in which we were well positioned as a result of our work with VPP.
Prior to the meeting, we sent advance copies of the Venture Philanthropy 2001: The Changing Landscape report to over 45 select participants, including international thought leaders in the field of philanthropy and various corporate executives. 200 additional copies were available for general distribution at the meeting. Feedback about the report was overwhelmingly positive. A number of participants had brought their copies with them to Davos…that’s a statement considering how heavy the reports are!
I participated in two sessions on philanthropy at the meeting, including a dinner discussion on Philanthropy: Where Can Partnerships Make the Difference, and a private luncheon on advancing global social investing and in a score of individual meetings with thought leaders in the field. Kathy Bushkin, President of the AOL Time Warner Foundation and a founding investor in VPP, participated in both of these sessions and it was clear that the AOL Time Warner Foundation is poised to take a prominent role in global philanthropy and social investing.
These sessions were both inspiring and gratifying. Inspiring to see the scope of world problems and some of the truly significant philanthropic efforts underway, and gratifying because the more I learned about the work of others and shared about
VPP, the more that the approach that we are taking with Venture Philanthropy Partners was confirmed.
Nothing emerged out of these many discussions and meetings that would disavow us of our course of action with VPP, and in fact, the feedback was resoundingly clear that we are on target with the quality of our founding investors, the strategic investment approach to build great institutions and the building of a first-class investment team.