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Partnering with Intentionality: Supporting Beirut

August 20, 2020  |  Digital

11:00 am EDT – 11:45 am EDT

“Partnerships are more important than ever before in their ability to respond not only to disasters but also to resiliency and long-term needs.”

– Scott Jackson, President and CEO of Global Impact


Moderated by Scott Jackson, President and CEO of Global Impact, this webinar discussed partnerships created with intentionality, focusing specifically on the response to the Beirut explosion. Panelists Claudine Zukowski, Global Disaster Relief Program Director at Procter & Gamble (P&G), and Erica Tavares, Vice President of Institutional Partnerships & Philanthropy at International Medical Corps (IMC), discussed the trust built between their organizations during their seven-year partnership. Both panelists highlighted the value of working together in advance of crises and collaborating with partners who are committed to the long-term process of recovery and building resiliency. By partnering with intentionality and establishing a foundation ahead of time, P&G and IMC were able to rapidly deploy supplies and have people on the ground in response to the Beirut explosion. Similarly, panelist Carlos Sanvee, Secretary-General of the World YMCA, emphasized the importance of building trust with the communities that organizations are working in. Following the Beirut explosion, YMCA Lebanon volunteers were already on the ground and mobilizing water and medical supplies before the incident hit international news.

When developing partnerships, donation and implementation partners are equally important to organizations. For example, many of IMC’s partnerships in Lebanon were with health clinics as implementation partners that could effectively mobilize and use the medical supplies provided by donation partners. For organizations struggling to identify their role or looking to increase their impact, panelists highlighted the value of thinking creatively and looking beyond the core business for organizational strengths. For instance, YMCA Lebanon was able to expand its impact in Beirut by providing psychosocial support in addition to material supplies for those affected. Another example comes from IMC, which noted the value that a partner with strong global human resource experience would provide as IMC juggles differing guidelines, such as health regulations, across countries for its many workers.

The webinar also served to announce the Concordia Action Alliance, dedicated programming and member engagement track to support new partnerships addressing natural disaster and pandemic preparedness, response, recovery, and resiliency on a year-round basis. This initiative leverages Concordia’s convening power and partnership know-how to create a forum for the ongoing alignment of resources, open sharing of challenges, and collective action. A key aspect of the Alliance is the creation of an Action Fund, which offers small-scale, catalytic grant funding aimed at turning ideas into action.

Panelists were excited about the Alliance, with Zukowski commenting that many of P&G’s partnerships have been developed through the power of convening. According to Zukowski, “It can be hard for the private sector to come into the disaster response space, so having expertise put together in one place really helps guide companies that are interested in getting involved.” In response to the Action Fund, Tavares noted that partnerships often take 12-18 months to get off the ground, and funding can take anywhere from weeks to years to obtain. Through the Action Fund, new partnerships can rapidly acquire seed capital, allowing them to reduce the lives lost and increase their impact through quick response following crises. Sanvee also commented that the Alliance would provide organizations with a “family” to rely on and work collaboratively with to develop concrete action plans in support of those in need.

For Concordia Patron Members interested in being a part of the Alliance, please visit our webpage or contact partnerships@concordia.net.