Nexus Global Youth Summit 2014

At the end of July, Fondation d’Harcourt was present at the Nexus Global Youth Summit in New York. Nexus is a movement in which young people from around the world can exchange ideas, build a community and improve the social impact of their actions. Nexus brings together projects of youth-led social innovation, next generation impact investing and emerging philanthropic leadership.

As Member of the Board, I was invited to talk on a panel about our personal approach to giving, which is different from the “old way” of doing philanthropy.

Since 2006 we have gradually increased our level of involvement in the projects that we fund. As we gained experience from this active participation, we started investing much more than just the checkbook. It’s by meeting beneficiaries and hearing their stories, by building relationships and trust with our partners in the field that we now understand the purpose of our actions more thoroughly.

I believe that this level of engagement has contributed greatly to making us better advocates in (a) the promotion of mental health and (b) the necessity to invest in intangible needs in developing countries. It has also shaped our actions and allowed us to look at the individuals in their integrity.

During the panel, I was asked several questions regarding the fine line between “meddling” a project and macro-managing it. This is a common concern among our partners too, when we first approach them with our proactive way of giving.

What we seek with this approach is to contribute to a project’s vision and activities and to be able to re-think them with our partners if things do not go as planned. For us, it is about being able to bring challenges to the table in a transparent way that can benefit both parties. Furthermore, we work together on ways to measure the impact of our actions.

Gaia Montauti
Member of the Board

For more information on the Nexus Global Youth Summit, visit: