Global Philanthropy Update—April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 2:15 pm
Natalie Ross

I wanted to make sure you saw the news about transition at the Council—Vikki Spruill, our President & CEO, will be leaving on June 1st to lead the New England Aquarium. Long-time philanthropic leader Gene Cochrane will serve as interim President as we search for a new leader. Our Board Chair and President and CEO of the Miami Foundation, Javier Alberto Soto, will lead outreach to the field as we consider the future of the Council. I hope you’ll read Javier’s recent blogs on the importance of DEI as we consider the Council’s next president. If you have any thoughts or reactions, please send a message to with your thoughts or contact me at any time during this transition.

Global grantmaking and international issues remain a priority for the Council, from our leadership on the Board of WINGS, to programming and resources for global grantmakers and our continued commitment to working on the SDGs. To help lead this work, we welcomed a new Atlas Corps Global Fellow in late March—Caroline Needles—from Canada who will spend more than a year at the Council, helping lead our international program. I hope you’ll connect with her during her time here at the Council!

In the next month, I’ll be attending several conferences and meetings on the West Coast, including the Global Philanthropy Forum. Please reach out to set up side meetings if you’ll also be there!

Thank you for all the work you do to advance global philanthropy and grantmaking. If you would like to increase your impact and gain access to the resources and networks required to do so, please consider joining the Council. You can discuss the benefits of Council membership with our membership department by calling 703-879-0645 or emailing the team at

Natalie Ross
Vice President, External Relations

Upcoming Global Events

Shifting the Power: Applying Community Philanthropy to Durable Development, Here and Abroad | April 25th | In-Person Convening
The Council on Foundations, Foundation Center, and Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy are co-hosting a launch of a new GrantCraft Leadership Paper in Washington, DC on April 25th from 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. The new guide introduces the concept of community philanthropy: both as a form of, and force for, building local assets, capacities, and trust. Please email me if you would like to attend.

Conversation to Action: Preventing Sexual Harassment Through Legally Sound Policies and Practices | May 1st | In-Person Convening with Call-in Option
To help foundations and their grantees create safe and inclusive work environments for their teams and partners, the Council is co-hosting an event with ICNL, K&L Gates, Interaction, and Humentum to discuss both legal standards and practical issues that emerge for US and international nonprofits when acting on our commitment to prevent sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation.



Where and How is the Global Philanthropy Environment Changing? | May 9th | Webinar
Join us to discuss changing incentives and barriers for global grantmaking, looking at both global and regional trends, as well as diving deep into the changing context in three countries: Hungary, Nigeria, and Venezuela. We’ll discuss findings from Indiana University’s 2018 Global Philanthropy Environment Index, which measures and analyzes the incentives and barriers for philanthropy in 79 economies and 11 regions of the world.



Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)
The Council continues to partner with a coalition of organizations to discuss with lawmakers how proposed legislation around the 1938 Foreign Agent Registration Act may impact non-profits. A recent Just Security article provides a great overview of the impacts of FARA.

Although we don’t want to be alarmist, the broad definitions and scope of the current law, coupled with increased enforcement if proposed reform bills are enacted into law, would mean a majority of NGOs who work internationally will have to register as a foreign agent—both the organization (list of forms at DOJ) and individual employees (short form) who engage with the foreign agent. InterAction is collecting signatures for a sign-on letter highlighting sector concerns with proposed legislation. Please contact Brian Wanko to see and sign-on to this letter.

Recent Global Research and Reports

New Peace and Security Funding Index
A new Foundation Center and Peace and Security Funders Network report shows how foundations are investing in peace and security programs in the US and around the world. They found that in 2015, 336 foundations made 2,908 grants totaling $350.7 million on work to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict, build peace, and support stable, resilient societies.

Ariadne Forecast
Ariadne’s 2018 Forecast collects surveys and interviews from across Europe to analyze current trends and the direction of the sector. The analysis identifies both recent challenges and political changes that impact human rights funders, including challenges of closing civic space, as well as opportunities for funders working in Europe and elsewhere.

Civicus State of Civil Society Report
Civicus’ annual study highlights major events impacting and involving civil society globally, including their “Top 10 trends” from 2017 that are continuing into 2018:

  1. Globalised neo-liberalism is failing people all around the world;
  2. Polarising politics are dividing our societies;
  3. Personal rule by political leaders is undermining democratic institutions;
  4. Attacks are increasing on journalists reporting on corruption and public protests;
  5. Growing surveillance and manipulation of opinion is betraying the promise of social media;
  6. Uncivil society is claiming civil society space;
  7. Multilateralism is in the firing line;
  8. The private sector's growing role in governance demands more scrutiny;
  9. Patriarchy is now firmly under the spotlight;
  10. Civil society is fighting back and building resolute resistance.

Global Philanthropy and Development News

SDGs gain traction in the US, but with a domestic twist, via Devex
Learn about how the sustainable development goals are being applied across the United States, including highlights from the Council’s work with philanthropy on the SDGs.

Pragmatic Philanthropy: Asian Charity Explained, via Philanthropy News Digest
A new free e-book highlights 30 case studies that provide a wide overview of philanthropy in Asia, from the history of charity and philanthropy to how it has evolved today.

Making Indian Philanthropy Matter, via Stanford Social Innovation
Although domestic philanthropy is growing in India, we still lack reliable data about the philanthropic sector, which is becoming increasingly important amidst growing inequality and violence at a time with reduced foreign aid flowing into the country.

"It Takes Time." In Africa, a Test of Philanthropy's Quest to Bring Safe Water to All, via Inside Philanthropy
A deep-dive into how WASH programs funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation are taking on the challenge of bringing safe water to the millions of people who lack access.

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