Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this Town and Country story, Maureen Dowd talks with Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, about government and philanthropy.
• What lessons can philanthropists learn from the IMF and Lagarde’s examples?
• Learn more about how the IMF is tackling gender inequality here.
[Christine] Lagarde, a Paris native and a former member of the French national synchronized swimming team, was a lawyer before joining the French government in 2005. She served as minister for foreign trade, and for agriculture and fisheries, before becoming finance and economy minister. [She is now the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.]
Government vs. Philanthropy: Whose Money Is More Effective?
… Lagarde has a unique perch from which to observe the impact of private philanthropy. Are there areas in which it’s more effective? And what does she think are the best opportunities for private-public partnerships?
“Governments are generally in a position to move a lot of money around—as long as they are accountable to their taxpayers, voters, and parliamentary institutions—if they have it,” she says. “So the capacity to mobilize money is very important… Not to say that philanthropies don’t do a good job. When I look at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for instance, focusing on three particular diseases around the world that they want to eradicate, they are pretty damn efficient as well.”
People don’t think of the IMF as a philanthropic organization … Lagarde doesn’t blame them. “I think they are right and they are wrong,” she says. “They’re right in that we’re not investing in projects, for instance. And they’re wrong in that when we lend to low-income countries, we lend at a zero-percent interest rate. This is not pure philanthropy, because at the end of the day we expect to be reimbursed, but we charge zero interest, which very few institutions do, and certainly financial markets don’t. So by doing that we’ve taken into account the situation of the borrowers, and we try to help them.”
Read the full article about Christine Lagarde by Maureen Dowd at Town and Country
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