Vignette: The Institutions and Expressions of Philanthropy Philanthropy as boundary spanning

Reaching in and out for a Qatar-based charity

Authored by: Aisha Faleh Al-Thani

The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415783255
eBook ISBN: 9781315740324
Adobe ISBN: 9781317579717


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Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) is a Qatar-based education and development charity. It engages in transnational philanthropy in regions where external philanthropic attention has been relatively limited and where negotiating philanthropic legitimacy can be challenging. Celebrating its first full decade of work in 2015, ROTA is a beyond-borders initiative that has also found itself strongly engaged in youth community service at home. Operating as a fundraising charity and working with a variety of partners, ROTA’s mission is ‘to ensure that people affected by crises across Asia and around the world have continuous access to relevant and high-quality primary and secondary school education’. With the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010 and early 2011, ROTA’s geographic funding reach experienced re-interpreted flexibility; its work has also been constrained by difficult and deteriorating security settings – in precisely the areas where its vision of access for youth to education and training is most critical. Its success has depended on an ability to navigate these difficult spaces and connect its work and profile beyond borders with its engagement at home. To this end, ROTA’s strategy has been to integrate ‘in-reach’ with its ‘out-reach’ purposes, and it does so in two main ways. First, it advances its educational vision and programs in the context of particular humanitarian need and donors and recipients, while not itself offering immediate humanitarian relief. Second, it helps develop capacity while retaining sole hold of the concept of youth service within its home community of Qatar.

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