Private Philanthropy for Development

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Philanthropy’s role in advancing sustainable development attracts a lot of attention. This report calls into question long-held assumptions about the volume, nature and potential of foundations’ engagement in developing countries, and the role they can play to support the SDGs. It presents ground-breaking data and analysis that capture previously non-existent global and comparable quantitative and qualitative data on how foundations support development.

The report examines philanthropic resource flows for development purposes, as well as foundations’ priorities, practices and partnering behaviours. It presents fresh perspectives and action-oriented recommendations to optimise philanthropy’s role in support of sustainable development.

This report offers practical insights for government policy makers and decision makers in civil society organisations, social enterprises and foundations. It results from close co-operation between the OECD Development Centre’s Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) and the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate.

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Consider philanthropy in action – from the combined giving of USD 14.7 billion in 2017 by the top 50 donors, to funding a new malaria vaccine, or to opening schools that give girls access to a quality education. These and many other examples of philanthropy’s role in advancing sustainable development attract a great deal of attention. But how can we optimise its role in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? By contributing both financial resources and innovative approaches, foundations demonstrate their potential to influence and impact social and economic development worldwide. As the ambitious priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals come face-to-face with limited economic resources exacerbated by the 2007 financial crisis, the time is ripe to harness the promise of philanthropy. The first step towards assessing philanthropy’s role is having reliable evidence at hand. In this context, the ground-breaking survey at the heart of this report captures previously non-existent global and comparable data of how much and in what ways foundations support development. These data and qualitative evidence allow action-oriented recommendations to optimise philanthropy’s role in support of sustainable development.

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