Re: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?

Gillian Caldwell is the Executive Director of WITNESS, an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy capaigns. Caldwell was a Co-Director of the Global Survival Network (now WildAid), where she coordinated the two-year undercover investigation into the trafficking of women in Russia that culminated in her 1997 film, Bought and Sold. She is the leader of the Witness to Truth video project in Sierra Leone that urges the government of Sierra Leone to implement TRC recommendations. Caldwell was the reipient of the 2000 Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership award and has been named one of 40 Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation, a 2003 Tech Laureate by the Tech Museum, and a Special Partner by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. Caldwell received her BA from Harvard University and her JD in human rights law from Georgetown University. Her videos have been shown as evidence in legal proceedings, such as the international war crimes investigation against Slobodan Milosevic, in the Sierra Leone Truth Commission proceedings, and at the UN. Ideas recorded on: 8/13/07

  • Transcript


Well I’d have to . . . I’d have to say that I’m really interested multisectorial approaches to problems. And I think that one of the problems we have is that we tend to compartmentalize. And of course, you know, one of the biggest in challenges in philanthropic terms, is anybody who’s giving any money away – whether it’s, you know, whether it’s me tithing myself, or a foundation trying to decide how to disperse its resources needs to be strategic in terms of its investment. So the tendency is to try to focus your investments very thoughtfully and strategically in given areas. And I understand that, but at the same time part of the problem we face, as I said earlier, is compartmentalization. So for example, I think what Larry Brilliant is talking about at is very interesting. And if you haven’t spoken to him I think you ought to, because they’re looking at poverty, health and the environment. And they’re looking at the intersections between those three problems which are, of course, inextricably intertwined. And I think it would be a big mistake to focus exclusively on health without look at poverty and the environment. So what I would say is that if I . . . You know for some reason I did decide and was offered the opportunity to think about how to spend a lot of the philanthropic dollars, I would want to be looking at intersectionality. And I would want to be looking at comprehensive solutions to some of the most pressing problems we’re facing. Recorded on: 8/13/07