The Pearl Initiative, a business-led nonprofit organization promoting a culture of corporate transparency and accountability for the Gulf region’s private sector, recently hosted a roundtable with experts from the UAE’s business and philanthropic community. The aim was to raise awareness on the various legal structures and mechanisms available to support the institutionalization of philanthropy within the UAE.
With family businesses in the Gulf region becoming major forces in regional philanthropy, supporting a wide range of causes, business heads learned how to increase the impact of giving in their communities by modernizing traditional philanthropic approaches.
The panel discussion revealed that the most successful global family charities use impact philanthropy, which has three aspects: Institutionalizing philanthropic activities, adopting proactive alternatives to grant making and measuring impact. The discussions helped business leaders and directors managing philanthropic capital navigate the legislative and regulatory framework guiding charitable activities across the UAE. The panel comprised presentations from David Russell QC, barrister at law, Outer Temple Chambers; Khadija Ali, chief representative, Business Development Segment, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Authority; and Taufiq Rahim, executive director, Globesight.
Yasmine Omari, executive director of the Pearl Initiative, said: “By institutionalizing philanthropic activities, companies can devise clear and coherent strategies to identify focus areas that are consistent with family values and corporate strategy. Family foundations are a great way for family businesses to be philanthropic, and while the funds and activities of private foundations serve the public, these charitable vehicles do offer significant benefits for donors as well, enabling them to leave a personal and family legacy while also engaging family, particularly the next-gen in philanthropy.”
The DIFC Foundations Law 2018 (DIFC Law No 3 of 2018) came into effect in March 2018. It allows family businesses to set up a foundation in DIFC as a separate legal entity, so that they may enjoy greater flexibility and control, all within a robust governance structure that facilitates philanthropy.