There is an improved understanding of the interrelated nature of global social, economic, and environmental issues, and cross-border philanthropy has increased in response. International giving from US foundations increased 29 percent between 2011 and 2015, and it continues to rise. Recognizing that issues that cross national borders are among the most critical issues of our time, funders are often giving both in their local communities and abroad.
Philanthropy is rising in countries outside of the US as well. Institutional philanthropy and the number of foundations are increasing in every region of the world, alongside a steady rise in individual and community-based philanthropy worldwide. While data on the philanthropic sector in countries outside of North America and Europe are scarce, a recent study identified a total of 260,358 foundations in 38 countries, representing assets that exceed $1.5 trillion.
Understanding the interconnected factors at play in addressing critical global issues can help funders identify effective philanthropic approaches at home and abroad, and funders can learn by sharing both successes and failures in addressing complex challenges. Whether giving locally or globally, funders want to have an impact and to know their philanthropy is making a meaningful difference. Some common questions that funders of all types and sizes often ask when trying to increase the impact of their philanthropy include:
- How can we give effectively and responsibly in cultures and geographies that are not our own?
- How can our philanthropy or foundation make a difference on such a huge issue?
- What is the best entry point or strategy to tackle an issue?
- How are other funders approaching this issue and what are the opportunities to collaborate?
- What are the most effective ways to work with grantees as true partners?
- How can we leverage our philanthropic resources further to catalyze significant and sustainable change?
With this report, The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) set out to share knowledge and to equip donors of all types and sizes, from the private and corporate sectors, to determine how they might use philanthropy to address three issue areas currently affecting millions of people around the world:
- Increasing access to clean, safe water
- Addressing the global refugee response crisis
- Improving conditions for women and girls