Global Philanthropy Update—February 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 1:05 pm EST
Natalie Ross

This month, Council staff have been busy emptying filing cabinets and cleaning out closets in advance of our move back to DC. As we packed program files from our international program, I was reminded of the long history of our work to strengthen cross-border giving by US foundations.

We found meeting materials from the formation of WINGS in Oaxaca 20 years ago; documents from meetings with Treasury that led to changes in equivalency determination regulations and allowed the Council to co-create NGOSource; and years of newsletters, reports, and tools that have helped US foundations effectively support programs around the world. 

Throughout our history, the Council’s global program has succeeded because of our partners — our members, peers, and leaders around the world. Thank you for continuing to support the Council as we work to strengthen cross-border grantmaking.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Miami at our upcoming Leading Together conference. Our globally focused pre-conference, global philanthropy dinner, and conference sessions will bring together grantmakers from across the US and around the world to discuss issues including strategies for funding amidst closing space for civil society; community-level responses to climate change; growing authoritarianism in Latin America; and how philanthropy can work amidst growing division, populism, and xenophobia.


If you want to learn more about what’s happening in Miami or discuss the Council’s international work, please reach out so we can find time to connect.



Natalie Ross
Vice President, External Relations


Global Research and Reports

Yesterday, we announced two new Council resources for global grantmakers: expanded Country Notes with new resources for our 13-most-visited countries, and a new chapter in our Legal Compendium focused on international grantmaking, which provides an update to a class Council publication, Beyond Our Borders.

COF Country Notes

Country Notes are the second-most visited section of the Council’s website. Our new, members-only resources list Council members working in specific countries and in-country legal contacts and philanthropic networks. These pages also amplify the work of our members; each country page features a Council Member Highlight and our Research and Reports pages feature member and partner publications.

We’ve maintained our partnership with International Center for Not-For-Profit Law to make sure we still provide non-profit law information for 35 countries, which many grantmakers need to undertake equivalency determinations.

mastering law foundation logo

Co-Authored by Lara Kalwinski, ESQ and Suzanne S. Friday, ESQ, International Grantmaking explains the various legal and technical requirements necessary to comply with the US law and regulations, including:

  • The legal framework applicable to US charities;
  • Specific rules for private foundations and corporate philanthropy;
  • Ways for public charities to conduct international grantmaking;
  • Anti-terrorism measures, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other restrictions;
  • Essential tax codes, resources, and more.

GDPR Impacts on Foundations and Non-Profits

Over the last year, we’ve received several questions from US foundations working to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We are hoping to provide new resources on this issue in coming months — please be in touch if you’d like to help create these tools or share your experience.

As the GDPR approaches its first anniversary, Open Society Foundations and Data Protection Support & Management (DPSM) are investigating the impact that the new law has had on civil society, including grantmakers. You can support this research by completing their online survey


From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
Reimagined in America Webinar: What Can the World Teach Us about Building a Culture of Health |February 21 | 2 PM ET

Learn how communities around the world are using data to empower local leaders and residents, get inspired by successful data collection and community engagement programs from abroad that are now being used in the US, and explore what is needed to help more communities advocate for healthier solutions.


From Philanthropy New York’s International Grantmakers Network and Synergos: Capacity Building Across Borders: A Three-Part Strategy for Funders| Thursday, February 28 | 12PM ET

Learn more about Capacity Building Across Borders, a new report written by Synergos and commissioned by the Citi Foundation, that explores how funders (and their NGO partners) can build NGO capacity more effectively.





US Cities Sidestep Trump to Embrace UN’s Social Goals, via OZY

Learn how US cities like Los Angeles and New York are working to achieve the SDGs, even without federal government support in the US.

Peace and Security Philanthropy Isn’t Just About Conflict; It’s Also Key to Curbing Climate Changevia Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Peace & Security Funders’ Group outlines why funders focused on promoting peace, security, and human rights must also invest in climate solutions.

Closing Civic Space: Trends, Drivers and what Donors can do about itvia From Poverty to Power

This post highlights key challenges facing civil society actors as outlined within an 2018 ICNL report on closing space trends globally.

How Collaborative Philanthropy Efforts are Starting to Learn From One Another -via Devex

The Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth launched the Data Science for Social Impact collaborative in Davos

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