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.

English Also available in: French

Foundations as funders

According to the results of the OECD survey (data questionnaire) foundations gave USD 23.9 billion for development in 2013-15.While these contributions remain relatively modest compared to ODA (5% of the three‑year total) and financing for development more broadly, foundations were major partners in some specific areas such as the health and reproductive health sectors (foundations’ support was the third-largest source of financing for developing countries). In general, over the period surveyed, health was the main sector targeted by philanthropic giving – far ahead of the other sectors – with 53% of the total in 2013-15 (or USD 12.6 billion).This chapter examines the data collected through the survey questionnaire and provides an in-depth analysis of private philanthropy distribution by recipient, income group and sector. It also describes the main modalities of giving used by the philanthropic foundations, in particular the institutions through which they channel most of their funding.

English Also available in: French


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