INTERPHIL, the International Standing Conference on Philanthropy, is an international umbrella organization for the voluntary sector. It was founded in 1969 in Evian, France and currently has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. There are two Canadian directors, Donald Rickerd, president of the Donner Canadian Foundation, who is the present chairman, and Colin Graham, a partner of Clarkson Gordon, Toronto. There are also a number of Canadian members. INTERPHIL has received strong support from United Way International and from the Charities Aid Foundation of the United Kingdom.
In its recent Annual Report, INTERPHIL notes that like business, philanthropy is beginning to operate in many countries. Fund raising for some causes is taking place in scores of countries simultaneously and this is likely to be a pronounced trend in the future. Funds originating in a single country may be deployed across many others. It is only through understanding, sensitivity, and experience that such undertakings can be brought to a successful conclusion. Problems must be identified and solved in advance, so as to avoid the ad hoc solutions that can often lead to misunderstanding and grief. It is the aim of
INTERPHIL to ensure that a careful, reasoned approach is taken to problem solving and for this reason every effort is made to provide the proper forum in which problems can be tackled.
INTERPHIL carries out is mission in several ways. First, through conferences where experiences are shared and networking takes place. Secondly, through research and the co-ordination and dissemination of information. For example it recently published A Comparative Study of the Tax Treatment of Donors to Charity in 35 Countries by Derek Allen. (See “Bookshelf’, The Philanthropist, Volume VII, No.2, p. 43.) INTERPHIL also publishes Philanthropy International which aims to reflect world-wide developments and activities in the field of philanthropy. It is circulated to some 1,000 people and organizations.
Chairman Donald Rickerd has pointed out that the concept of philanthropy is bound to differ from one country to another and that is as it should be. Increasingly, however, observers are impressed by the number of common threads that run through the diverse and rich patterns of philanthropy in various parts of the world. As well, they have noted the benefits that can be derived from careful examination of experience in other countries. Excellent ideas that have been thoroughly tested in other settings may serve as useful domestic models and unsuccessful approaches can be analyzed at a distance to determine what pitfalls may lie ahead.
INTERPHIL endeavours to play a significant and catalytic role in the resolution of the problems facing the world of philanthropy.
Further information about INTERPHIL can be obtained from the Secretariat, Interphil House, Yalding, Kent, England ME18 6HU-Telephone (44) (622) 812373.
Clarkson Gordon, Chartered Accountants, Toronto