Program Manager, Philanthropy Secretariat
Centers of Government
donor relations, Philanthropy Secretariat, Philanthropic Foundations, donors, aid effectiveness, Liberia, donor coordination, government ministries, Liberia Reconstruction and Development Committee
Fri Mar 2 2012
In this interview, Dan Hymowitz discusses the creation of Liberia’s Philanthropy Secretariat, a unit in the Office of the President designed to attract and coordinate philanthropic funding across sectors in Liberia. Hymowitz notes that the idea for a Philanthropy Secretariat took root in the wake of a prolonged civil war, in which Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, eager to rebuild, sought to match foundation funding with local organizations that were addressing her top priorities. Hymowitz discusses the critical steps that ensured the early success of the Philanthropy Secretariat: namely, support from the President, a dedicated staff led by a high level civil servant who won the respect of donors, and a group of funders eager to support the President’s efforts to rebuild.
From 2008 to 2009, Hymowitz was Special Assistant to Mr. Natty Davis, then Minister of State without Portfolio, through the Scott Family Fellows Program. Hymowitz’s position gave him access to the discussions between the government and foundations and the opportunity to develop the Philanthropy Secretariat as both sides brainstormed the creation of a government office dedicated to working with foundations. From 2009 to 2011 he was the program manager for Liberia’s Philanthropy Secretariat. In these positions, he played a central role in planning Liberia’s 2008 Partners’ Forum, which raised nearly $300 million in foreign assistance. Dan Hymowitz holds a master’s degree of Public Policy from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.