Cindy Laquidara is a lawyer based in Jacksonville, Florida. She is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County & Local Government Law.

Peace Philanthropy: Giving For The Sake of Keeping The Peace

peace-1325162_960_720Much of charity is centered around the idea of giving money to those without. Helping those in need, who are often suffering homelessness, joblessness, disease, and other issues which require attention and assistance. Thankfully, there are millions who are willing to meet these challenges and who do offer help to provide everything from medication to clean water to people around the world. However, there is another issue which affects us all that is getting the much deserved attention it so needs: peace.

Of course, that might sound odd at first. How exactly does one give money, time and/or resources to create peace? Well, the Peace and Security Funders Group, which encompasses 288 foundations, per the most recent estimates, is doing so by providing grants and making investments to “prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict, and to rebuild after conflict,” as listed in a recent article from The Diplomatic Courier. And it’s not as ambiguous as it may seem. These organizations direct their money toward things like research and funding local activists whose focus is preventing terrorism, genocide, and promoting diplomacy.

In 2013, peace and security funders granted close to $300 million in funds dedicated to these causes, with promising results. One such funder, Ploughshares, is credited with having laid the foundation for diplomacy which enabled the United States to reach the Iran nuclear agreement just last year. Yet before that, some five years prior, Ploughshares fund had been working with grassroots organizers on both advocacy and consultation for peaceful solutions. The organization was effective in creating a climate for negotiation.

This area of philanthropy is of the utmost importance, given the realities of suffering around the globe resulting from conflict. Tragedies in Europe and all around the continent of Africa continue to create unrest and tear away at our cultural fabric. When a pediatrician in is killed along with dozens of others, when a hospital was bombed as a result of civil war, we need more action. I’m sure if you were to ask, people across cultures believe that peace is something most people want and believe is important, but are uncertain about affecting. While the sum of money donated to these efforts is rather large, remarkably it is result of many not a few who made it possible.

Hence, peace and security funding is not off limits for the average person. In fact, because it is rooted in activism, the reality is that much of these efforts are led by groups of people desiring to create safe spaces for all; simply put, collaboration. Such is necessary given the challenges ahead the need for preventing conflict as well as resolutions.

To be clear, however, such efforts are not easily handled and don’t happen quickly.  Affecting something as complex as peace takes time, but, is it not worth it?