Guest Articles

November 11

James Militzer / Scott Anderson / Kyle Poplin

Weekly Roundup: Social Impact Sector Reacts to Trump With Fear, Uncertainty … Room for Hope?

It may be hard to believe – and even harder for some to accept – but Donald Trump is now the most powerful man in the world. And like many, the social business and global development world was, shall we say, taken aback by his victory this week. As the new reality sinks in and leaders and commentators try to make sense of his election – and determine which of his campaign promises that impact their sectors are likely to become policy – we’ve compiled a few of their more memorable reactions. 

But during this blurry week, there is one thing we are clear-eyed about: The work of development and business to improve the lives of others goes on. And we’re here, and will stay here, to highlight stories of struggle, success, respectful debate and impact in market-based strategies to fight poverty and its many symptoms. NextBillion has been a U.S.-based part of this global conversation for more than a decade. And in that time, we’ve seen once-rigid and entrenched views grow more flexible with dialogue and more productive with understanding. Indeed, the worlds of business and development, once wholly separated by commerce, geography and ideology, are closer than ever before. It’s a product of the globalized and connected world in which we live. But more importantly, it reflects the hard work of people committed to mutual respect that only comes about through both active listening and inclusion. This return on investment is not something we can just idly hope will continue to reap dividends. We must commit ourselves to work diligently toward it and defend it – regardless of the occupant of the White House.


Fight or Flight

“Here’s where we are. Those of us with the means might consider a transcontinental move. Those without means will work to survive as they always have. We have a responsibility to stay and fight for equality – in board rooms and among our employees and in society in general. We have to keep doing what we have been. It’s all we can do.”  

Jen Boynton, editor in chief,



‘Social Entrepreneurs … Have Lost Their Way’

“This week, our social entrepreneurship seems small, doesn’t it? How many social ventures will it take to balance the scales of justice when Trump’s anti-immigrant deportation force gets to work, or compensate for defunding family planning abroad, or expand economic opportunity as income and wealth gaps widen, or repair the human damage as women lose sovereignty over their reproductive organs, or restore our eco-climate when it degrades even further. … Social entrepreneurs who define their work narrowly have lost their way. Government, public policy and politics need our attention. The campaign for justice will not happen if we abandon government (with its awesome power to protect or penalize the most vulnerable) to the ‘other side.’ The marketplace alone, no matter how efficient or innovative, cannot lead us to the Promised Land.”

Jonathan C. Lewis, founder/president, Opportunity Collaboration




Common Ground on Common Problems?

“It may be foolish to think that Donald Trump actually has solutions for addressing the wave of anger he rode into the White House. … (But) there are at least a few areas where at least his rhetoric aligns with the goal of a more sustainable, inclusive economy. Infrastructure spending? Inner-city revitalization? Good jobs? Bring it on. Rather than bash Trump voters for choosing the wrong solution to their real problems, let’s showcase emerging solutions that start to address some of the dislocations caused by globalization.”

David Bank and Dennis Price, ImpactAlpha




Goodbye Cruel World … Almost

“As I lay in bed last night, I thought seriously that it might be time to shut this site down, because how do our stories about inventions and interventions to make the world better sit in light of a world that clearly isn’t interested in doing that? I don’t have anything inspirational to say about how I changed my mind, about how we must work even harder now (we always had to work as hard as possible) or how this must just inspire us (it is not at all inspiring). I can’t say anything but that there are hard days ahead for everyone, and what else is there to do but to do the work?”

Morgan Clendaniel, editor of Co.Exist




Trouble Ahead for NonProfits?

“Donald J. Trump’s stunning victory in the race for the White House, along with the Republican wins in the House and Senate, could lead to serious financial troubles for many nonprofits, experts say. They warn of steep cuts in federal support for nonprofits and a decrease in charitable giving that could persist if his policy proposals are adopted.”

Megan O’Neil and Timothy Sandoval, Chronicle of Philanthropy




‘A mix of aggression and isolationism’ in Africa

“President-elect Donald Trump isn’t particularly concerned with Africa: Over the course of his campaign, the continent was barely mentioned. But glimpses at Trump’s broader foreign policy suggest he’ll favor a mix of aggression and isolationism over increased global cooperation, and is very unlikely to be a champion of humanitarian aid. All of that is bad news for Africa.”

Lynsey Chutel, Quartz Africa




Time to Play Defense

“We start by acknowledging reality. When he assumes office, Trump will be the only head of state to deny that climate change is real. We’re going to need to do everything we can to play defense against the worst impulses of the next administration.”

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club




Protectionist Policy or Just Campaign Promises?

“A key question now facing many emerging-market countries, which rely on access to global markets for economic growth, is whether Mr. Trump will follow through on some of the protectionist rhetoric he used during the election campaign.”

Rachel Rosenthal, Wall Street Journal




No Cataclysmic Changes for Global Development (Except for Climate Change)

One thing is clear: There will likely be significant challenges for the global development agenda as a result of this election. That said, there are good reasons to think that cataclysmic change (some in the community musing on social media that U.S. Agency for International Development might be abolished for example) is highly unlikely and would only unfold slowly over time if at all. … [But] the climate agenda is one area that stands to take it on the chin from this election result. It is one of the few issue areas for which there is clarity in the form of promises made by Trump on the campaign trail.”

Raj Kumar, founding president and editor-in-chief, Devex




Weaponizing Remittances – Is it Even Feasible?

“Trump has stated that the U.S. would suspend remittances to Mexico if it did not agree to cover the estimated $10 billion cost of building the wall. … The use of remittance as a bargaining tool would take an immediate chunk out of Mexico’s economy, potentially damage U.S. companies and unintentionally rearrange how digital technology executes payments. There’s a question of whether Trump can cut off remittance to Mexico, either politically or logistically.”

John Adams, American Banker




‘A possibility for engagement’?

“There is a relatively broad recognition that, as an outsider, Trump has not developed detailed proposals on many issues. Climate change and energy are not different in this sense. In addition, others have already observed that Trump’s campaign sought to be conciliatory in his victory speech and indeed tried to message stability to the international community just ahead of the election. There is therefore a possibility for engagement as President-elect Trump and his team begin to develop their strategy.”

Brookings Institute


Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr 

Homepage photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.


Social Enterprise
financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, social enterprise