We seek to help build and broaden prosperity in the Global South. We believe that the government and business sectors are the most powerful forces in determining the quantity and quality of prosperity in a given country. So, we prioritize improving: (1) the capacity, competency, and character of government; and (2) the enabling environments for purposeful, principled, and profitable businesses.
Specifically, we target the five following areas with our investments:
Transparency and accountability– key drivers for anti-corruption – address one of our core beliefs: the lack of corruption is an essential building block for prosperous nations. An absence of corruption means public resources aren’t siphoned from areas such as public health and education; it encourages investment and trade, which in turn lowers unemployment; it reduces inequality by ensuring government resources reach the poor and marginalized.
We invest in a variety of approaches to tackle corruption, and while we recognize the importance of bottom-up pressure to prompt government reform, we prioritize efforts like those of Open Government Partnership’s and Open Contracting Partnership, which collaborate with reform-minded governments.
Government integrity must be coupled with government capacity and competence. That coupling calls for informed policy-making and implementation-– for decisions and actions to be driven by evidence, not ideology. Government interventions are much larger and more sustainable than parallel non-governmental initiatives; helping those interventions become more effective and efficient can translate into significant financial savings on billion-dollar budgets, and improve the quality of services and legislation that shape people’s lives.
Our first program partner in this area was J-PAL South Asia, an organization whose founders, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019. As we continue to explore new opportunities in this sector, we also partner with our sister institution, the Chandler Institute of Governance, which builds government capacity through training.
Businesses are crucial vehicles for building and broadening prosperity, particularly businesses that prioritize purpose and principles alongside of profits. Today’s great challenge is creating a marketplace for those businesses to flourish that’s not only vibrant, but also inclusive. We support a fair, open marketplace – one that reduces unnecessary barriers to doing business and promotes investment, but this requires thoughtful policies and institutional frameworks.
Though we have not yet invested in program partners in this sector, we are actively seeking opportunities, particularly those that partner with governments and/or the business community.
Secure and broadly available land and property rights are a key building block for prosperous and equitable societies. Most poor people on the planet depend on land for their livelihood. Land property rights are also critical for housing, businesses, accessing credit, and stewarding natural resources. Women and other marginalized groups often lack opportunity because of inequities in land laws, institutions, and norms.
Without an integrated formal property system, a modern market economy is inconceivable.
We invest in organizations that, like Landesa, engage with governments to strengthen and broaden access to land property rights. We are seeking investment opportunities where property-rights initiatives intersect with our other priority areas: anti-corruption and business enabling environment.
Digital identity systems have been called “the key to inclusive growth.” These systems, when carefully designed and faithfully operated, help connect – and protect – vulnerable groups, and they empower women and girls. A reliable identification system – one where data isn’t misused and privacy is protected – can help governments better deliver key services like healthcare and education, and become a building block for a more equitable, inclusive business environment and financial marketplace.
We are learning about this emerging sector and open to investment opportunities, particularly initiatives that intersect with our other priority areas.
We believe that breakthroughs can be achieved and failing systems redesigned by collaborating with the forces that have the largest footprints on our planet – government and business. In The Chandler Foundation Story, we share lessons learned and examine the importance of trust in government; as well as the intersections between social mobility and prosperity, social mobility and inequality; and trust and corruption (pages 18-38). By understanding the importance of trust and building systems of transparency and accountability, societies have the opportunity to flourish.