Global Philanthropy Update - May 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 5:18 pm
Natalie Ross

Over the last month, I’ve seen growing attention to discussions about power in philanthropy.

In early May, the Council co-hosted an event launching the new Grantcraft guide around #ShiftThePower . The packed room of attendees discussed how community philanthropy can create local leadership, both as a form of and force for building local assets, capacities, and trust. The following day, I joined a conversation hosted by Civicus at the Hilton Foundation in LA, exploring how US philanthropy can more effectively resource and sustain civil society globally and exploring why only 35% of US philanthropy flows directly to non-US NGOs.

In April, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans released the book New Power that explores how organizations of all kinds, including philanthropy, can best leverage technology to drive social movements in our modern, hyper-connected world. Henry and Jeremy will be speaking about the implications of new power ideas for foundations on an Council upcoming webinar (more information below). Just last week, NCRP also released a new guide the helps foundations evaluate their own power dynamics in order to better work towards equity and justice through their work.

I spend a lot of time hearing from members about the roadblocks they encounter in their global programs, and the closing space for cross-border giving continues to be one of the largest challenges. Cross-border grantmaking (often demonized as “foreign funding”) is increasingly regulated in many parts of the world, as foreign influence is often seen as threatening domestic government control. This is true even in the US, as more than nine bills have been proposed to strengthen enforcement of our 1938 Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

Clearly, power is a topic on many of our minds across the philanthropic sector. As you work on global issues, I’m curious whether these discussions of power – from dynamics with grantees and governments to questions about how to share it and/or give it away – are resonating with your work. Please be in touch if you have things to share or want to discuss further. And if you’ll be in Brussels for the EFC Conference at the end of May, I’d love to get together so please be in touch!

Thank you for your membership in the Council. 

Natalie Ross
Vice President, External Relations

Council Events

WEBINAR: The New Power of Philanthropy 
Tuesday May 22nd 1:00-2:00 EST

Join Council on Foundations and Henry Timms (CEO of 92nd Street Y and founder of #GivingTuesday) and his co-author Jeremy Heimans (CEO of Purpose) and confront the biggest stories of our age and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of “New Power”.


WEBINAR RECORDING: Global Philanthropy Environmental Index
On May 9th, we co-hosted a webinar with Indiana University to discuss findings within the 2018 Global Philanthropy Environmental Index. Globally, cross-border grant making is becoming increasingly more difficult. This new report tracks the changing environment for philanthropy in 79 countries and across 11 regions. Watch the webinar recording for FREE to learn more.


The Council is continuing to engage around the Foreign Agent Registration Act, given serious concerns about possible unintended consequences of strengthening enforcement capabilities of FARA without updating key terms in the 1938 law. This new FAQ from Interaction is a great primer on FARA. The Council also joined Interaction’s sign-on letter about FARA, alongside more than 40 organizations, asking Congress to safeguard an independent non-profit sector, especially as civil society continues to globalize and work in solidarity on critical issues, across national borders. 

Bank de-risking continues to be a concern for grantmakers and NGOs working globally. A new study from the European Center for Not-For-Profit Law and the Human Security Collective analyzes the drivers of de-risking and impacts on civil society, focusing on the impacts for CSOs in Mexico, Brazil and India. The Council continues to engage in sector-wide conversations around the Financial Action Task Force, as well as conversations on de-risking and financial regulations that impact cross-border grantmaking.

2018 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey

Our 2018 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey closes at 2:00PM PT on Friday May 25thFor more than 30 years, our annual survey has provided the sector with the most comprehensive data on US grantmaker staff composition and compensation at community, private and public foundations, as well as other staffed grantmaking entities. Only survey participants receive a complimentary report AND access to Benchmark Central, the Council's dynamic online benchmarking tool to run deeper salary, benefits, and demographics. Check out Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report FAQs for more information and we hope you will share your foundation’s data with the field.

Session Submissions Now Open for Leading Together 2019 (Members Only)
The Leading Together 2019 Call for Sessions is your opportunity to share your expertise and successes in tackling the some of the world’s greatest challenges with foundation leaders and big idea makers from business, government, academia, media, and beyond. Submit ideas for sessions in three tracks: Bridging Divides, Inclusive Economic Prosperity, and Climate Impacts and Vulnerability. All session submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT May 31, 2018.

Are you part of the Indian Diaspora?
Indiaspora is working with Dalburg Advisors, philanthropy, media organizations, community nonprofits and advocacy groups to conduct the first comprehensive survey regarding issues of importance to the Indian-American diaspora and the diverse ways they give back as a community, in order to better understand Indian diaspora philanthropy. Take the survey now!


Global Philanthropy Sector Is Growing Fast: Harvard Study, via Think Advisor
New research from Harvard’s Hauser Institute for Civil Society shows that there are more than 260,000 foundations in the 38 countries studied, with 72% established in the last 25 years. However, 58% of foundations don’t collaborate and half have no paid staff. Globally, more than 1/3 of foundations work on education programs. Download the full report.

New York takes lead on U.N. global goals reporting, via Reuters
New York will become the first city in the world to report to the United Nations on local progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

George Soros Group Leaves Hungary, Citing 'Hate Campaign,' via NPR
Given the increasingly difficult environment for operating in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations will be moving Budapest-based international operations and staff to Berlin. OSF will continue to support civil society in Hungary on a range of issues, from health care and education to arts, culture, and media freedom.

Dept. of Renewal: A Pharma Foundation Keeps the Money Flowing to Its Global Health Grantees, via Inside Philanthropy
The Pfizer Foundation launched the Global Health Innovation Grants program in 2016, which supports local organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and just announced 20 new grantees for 2018.

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