Overheard: Dilemmas of a Water Funder

"What a moment! At an April press conference, the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, held up a handwritten number and announced, '2030. This is it. This is the global target to end poverty.'  That historic moment also served to underscore some of the dilemmas that I and other WASH (clean water, sanitation, and hygiene) funders grapple with. How do we establish audacious — yet realistic — goals? How do we announce an ambitious goal — such as full water and sanitation coverage in a number of countries — and have confidence that we have a reasonable chance of achieving it?

What should our role as funders be, if not to push boundaries? If we just continue to provide incremental progress, we may never solve this problem. If the president of the World Bank can put forth aggressive goals, then foundation funders can — and should — do the same. After all, moving the needle on the world’s most pressing problems should be our moral imperative."

-David Rothschild, Principal, Portfolio Team, Skoll Foundation, in his blog post on WASHfunders.org.

Do you agree with David that funders can and should push boundaries? What examples from your own work can you share about how you push boundaries? What challenges do you face in attempting to move the needle in a specific issue area?

About the author(s)

Director of Stakeholder Engagement