This year brings new leadership to WINGS. Below is a letter to our members from Dr. Atallah Kuttab, followed by reflections from board member and previous WINGS Chairman, Fernando Rossetti. In January, Kuttab became the new Chairman of the WINGS Board. Founding member of both the Arab Human Rights Fund and the Arab Foundations Forum, Kuttab holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering. We're excited about this new chapter and we look forward to continuing our work with Kuttab in 2013.
It is a great pleasure to be elected by my colleagues to serve as Chairperson of the WINGS Board of Directors for 2013.
I first became involved with WINGS in 2006. Since then I’ve actively sought to refine the role of WINGS in a global context, including having more representation from the Arab region, ensuring a strong voice from the "South” in shaping global philanthropy, and helping to incorporate WINGS in the U.S. and, more recently, in Brazil.
I will work with WINGS members and its Board of Directors on the following tracks:
- Revisit the strategic plan to ensure that it reflects our mission: "WINGS is a global network of grantmaker associations and philanthropic support organizations. WINGS strengthens, promotes and provides leadership on the development of philanthropy and social investment around the world. WINGS gives voice to the many cultures of giving and provides its members and other participants with information, knowledge, and peer exchange”—as well as emphasise the role of grantmakers and grantmaking practices.
- Ensure that we provide clear measures on member benefits through WINGS programs.
- Continue working to develop and consolidate WINGS global membership and increase revenue from membership fees and contributions from supporters.
- Implement recommendations related to our governance structure to ensure that our organisation follows best practices and that the board fulfills its legal, ethical and functional responsibilities.
- Ensure smooth planning for WINGSForum 2014, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, during the last week of March 2014.
All of this can be achieved, but only with the effort of all our members. Your engagement in the various task forces and activities of WINGS is crucial. With it we can learn from experiences in various regions, and your contributions will help develop the global philanthropy discourse by providing relevant data. Together we can collaborate and build towards social and economic justice in our regions and globally. The success of WINGS depends on all of our efforts, and I am sure that together we can make a difference.
I look forward to meeting you in the coming year, in various global philanthropy spaces, especially during activities organised by WINGS.
photo of Atallah Kuttab courtesy The American University in Cairo
Fernando Rossetti is the Executive Director of Grupo de Institutos Fundações e Empresas (GIFE) in Brazil. He served as WINGS Chairman from 2008 to 2012. Here, Rossetti reflects on his time as Chairman.
WINGS: What are you most proud of from your time as WINGS Chairman?
Fernando Rossetti: The most important achievement of WINGS during my time as Chairman of the Board was to incorporate in the US and move the secretariat to Brazil. Before that, WINGS was an informal network, hosted by members. From 2011 onwards, WINGS became a formal network with its own office, which brought new responsibilities and results for the organisation.
Another achievement I am proud of is the 2010 WINGSForum, in Como. It took place in a moment of great fragility for the organisation, when WINGS had only one funder, the Mott Foundation. It was difficult to show members what we added in value to the philanthropic sector. I believe the success of the 2010 WINGSForum generated the energy we needed to incorporate, relocate and build a new sustainability model.
WINGS: What were your greatest challenges during that time?
FR: The greatest challenge for WINGS is similar to that of most global organisations, which is to deal with different cultures and expectations across different time zones and so on. During my chairmanship, WINGS went through important changes incorporating, relocating and building a new sustainability model. To do this in only one country, one culture, one language, would already be complex. To do this in a global environment was extremely challenging. So I believe one of my main jobs during this period was keeping people calm and engaged in the path we chose for WINGS—although I ended up with high blood pressure during this period.
WINGS: Your advice for Dr. Kuttab as he steps into the leadership role?
FR: Anything you do in a global environment takes much more time than if you do it on a national level. WINGS is a very long term vision. To build a truly global infrastructure for philanthropy is a very long term project.
photo of Fernando Rossetti via synergos.org