Private philanthropy is a growing source of funding for middle- and low-income countries – supporting global public health, education, agriculture, gender equality or clean energy. However, reliable, comparable and publicly available information on philanthropic funding, priorities and behaviours is surprisingly scarce. This lack of data and evidence has limited philanthropy’s potential to engage, collaborate or co-fund key issues outlined in Agenda 2030, together with other actors working in developing countries and emerging economies. The OECD Centre on Philanthropy contributes to the global demand for more and better data and analysis on global philanthropy for development.

This second edition of the OECD’s flagship report Private Philanthropy for Development provides open, reliable and comparable data on philanthropic giving. It unpacks new data and updated analyses of private philanthropic flows towards developing countries to offer a more comprehensive picture of philanthropy’s role in sustainable development. It analyses philanthropic flows by geography, sector and thematic area, explores how these flows are implemented and compares their scope to official development assistance (ODA).

Compared to the first edition, this second report collected more data from large foundations and other organisations based in developing countries, particularly in India and the People's Republic of China, to have a more comprehensive understanding of cross-border financing and domestic giving. The report dives deeper into foundations’ strategies for investing their assets and philanthropic capital to mobilise additional resources; their engagement in advocacy to amplify and sustain their impact; and their approaches to learning and knowledge production through monitoring and evaluation to better inform programming and policy.

The report summarises data collected from 205 philanthropic organisations for the period 2016-19 and includes organisational data on foundations’ strategies from 103 organisations. The format and definitions used in the questionnaire were compliant with OECD-DAC statistical standards and classifications, which makes the data comparable with ODA.

The expression “private philanthropy for development” refers to transactions from the private or non-profit sector that promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries as their main objective, and that originate from foundations’ own sources, notably endowment, donations from companies and individuals, legacies and income from royalties, investments, dividends and lotteries.

COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the existing development challenges. Developing countries that entered the crisis with large and pre-existing vulnerabilities have now limited fiscal space to support recovery actions. Private Philanthropy for Development unpacks unprecedented data on philanthropy’s contribution to developing countries, which will be critical for development actors, including governments, ODA providers and foundations, to better co-ordinate their actions, exploit synergies and play to their best comparative advantage en route to a sustainable recovery.

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