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History and Background

Synergos was founded in 1986 with the goal of bringing people together to address poverty and inequity around the globe. We’re a people-centered organization, convinced that when people come together in an open-hearted way, remarkable possibilities emerge. Since our founding, we have worked to connect people, ideas and resources to tackle the underlying causes of social injustice. Working with great partners around the world, we’ve built local capacity so that the community-based initiatives we support can be sustained. So far, we’ve worked in more than 30 countries.

Peggy Dulany, Synergos ’ Founder and Chair, and Robert H. Dunn, President and CEO In 2007, our twentieth anniversary, we took the opportunity to reflect on our work over the first two decades and plan how we could build upon it in the future. While affirming our purpose, values and goals, we conferred with a diverse group of stakeholders to learn how we might have a greater impact. The answer to this question draws heavily on the threads of our past work, and weaves them together more tightly. The new Synergos strategy involves building a global community of leaders and leading institutions, working with them to promote collaborative efforts that address the complexities of poverty and social injustice, and sharing what all of us learn for the benefit of others.

We will be growing, deepening and making stronger the links among the members of our global networks - the Synergos family. We will also be expanding our efforts to promote and facilitate inclusive partnerships that enable local communities, businesses and governments to work together; and we will be more systematically capturing and sharing the learning that emerges from our work.

One example of the kind of major projects we expect to support going forward is the Bhavishya Alliance in India. Established with UNICEF-India and Unilever to reduce child under-nutrition there, the Alliance brought together a broad coalition across all three sectors to lower the rate of under-nutrition in the country, which claims the highest number of malnourished children in the world. Last year, Synergos celebrated significant project milestones, as the Bhavishya Alliance also became an Indian charitable institution with an Indian board and staff and locally-raised resources.

During 2007 we also began work on the Aboriginal Leadership Initiative in Canada, which will identify ways to meet the needs of indigenous people in the region, who have higher rates of poverty, unemployment and suicide than other Canadians. We also launched our first major program in the Middle East and North Africa to mentor and develop the leadership skills of social innovators. We completed the planning for an early 2008 launch of a major new African public health initiative in Namibia funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We also supported the establishment of a new network of leaders serving orphans and vulnerable children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

We are happy to report that Synergos also made further progress operating as the Secretariat for the Border Philanthropy Partnership, working with community foundations, businesses, funders and others to promote collaboration on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. We are transitioning this project to local staff and a local headquarters in 2008. This will support ongoing efforts by participants to address critical issues impacting some of the poorest communities in this region.

Past Messages
Chair and President''s Welcome July 2006
Chair''s Message July 2001
Chair''s Message 1999
Our major collaborative projects often grow out of and depend on the support of our leadership networks. During 2007, we continued to increase both our Global Philanthropists Circle and our Senior Fellows Network. The Circle now includes about 200 active participants from 74 families in 25 countries. The Fellows are now a cohort of nearly 100 civil society leaders from more than 30 countries. We have also found new ways to bring these two networks closer together so they can draw on each other’s knowledge and resources to help bring about systems-changing initiatives.

We have intensified our efforts to evaluate the impacts of our activities, so we can better learn from both our successes and disappointments. We have also made a commitment to develop a Knowledge Sharing Center, which will bring the learning and experience of our partnerships, networks and collaborators to the entire development field.

To ensure ongoing support for innovation and program development, we have launched the Campaign for the Future. By the end of 2007, we raised about $12 million of our $20 million goal.

We have also continued our work to create a values-driven, high performing culture, with additional progress on the implementation of our values and the professional development of staff. At the end of the year, we were grateful to be recognized with Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating for our financial management systems, policies and practices.

Synergos can only be fully understood and appreciated through knowledge of its unique and remarkable set of human relationships that extend to almost every part of the world. Our board and staff, network affiliates, partners, funders and colleagues in the development field have all helped make 2007 a year characterized by trust-building, accomplishments, open-heartedness and collaboration. We are inspired by and grateful to all of them.



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