“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected” – an inspiring thought on how we will achieve the formidable Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This is how Natalia Kanem, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), ended her keynote presentation for the MicroEdge Day at bbcon.

Though we are still in the “morning” part of our journey towards the SDGs, Dr. Kanem painted a picture of how we will keep the clock ticking to get to the “afternoon”.  Namely, Dr. Kanem highlighted how the SDGs are goals for everybody – developed and developing countries alike – and that success depends on global involvement. By increasing understanding globally, turning information into knowledge and hopefully wisdom, a true dialogue can be had regardless of where people are sitting around the table.

Dr. Kanem reflected on how the SDGs must encompass development in all its forms – economic, social, environmental, political – so that new knowledge can influence and inform new ways of changing the world for the betterment of all. She reminded us that, ultimately fulfilling these ambitions is part of what philanthropy has stood for all along. Business and philanthropy have roles to play above and beyond just acting as funders, but also in advancing partnerships and the marketplace of ideas to turn programs into policy. Philanthropy’s ability to innovate can make great contributions toward the basic need for impact and change measurement within the SDGs.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” While we don’t yet know the exact ways in which the SDGs will be accomplished over the next 14 years, we do know that the dedication of philanthropic organizations from Toledo to Tanzania will be key to the end results.


Christine Newman is the senior manager of communications in the MicroEdge division of Blackbaud. Through this role, Christine combines her passions for communications and social good, managing internal and external communications, including public relations, social media, customer communications and stakeholder relationships. Christine believes that effective communication is an essential aspect to achieving social impact, whether an organization is a funder, nonprofit or technology company.

Prior to joining Blackbaud, Christine worked for eight years in the corporate philanthropy sector, where she managed global health grant programs, product donations, disaster response and program communications. She was also a UNA-USA Blogger Fellow to the 2015 Social Good Summit. You can find her (way too often) on Twitter at @newman_ca.

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