Global Philanthropy Update—June 2019

Friday, June 21, 2019 - 3:21 pm EDT
Brian Kastner

I’ve been thinking about Sudan recently. Protests began in Sudan during December of last year, eventually leading to a military coup and arrest of Former President Omar al-Bashir. Yet, these protests continue. Some reports say more than 128 people have been killed in these protests. As this year is the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, some say the current situation in the country resembles what happened there. Although the situation is deteriorating quickly, the news isn’t covered in mainstream media here in the US.

Many of us get bombarded with news of disasters and conflict daily. School and workplace shootings, climate change, pollution, burning buildings, economic inequality, the opioid crisis…the list goes on. If we care about all these crises equally, we risk fatigue, burnout, and worse, indifference. It is indifference, in part, that led to the genocide in Rwanda becoming what it did.

As I was reading the recent issue of Alliance Magazine, I know we can do more. Peace-related philanthropy makes up only 1% of all grantmaking and as the editors of the issue put it, this “seems irresponsibly small given that armed conflict spoils lives, divides societies and ruins economies.” Can philanthropy help fix the situation in Sudan? Perhaps one way philanthropy can help, covered at length in a new publication of WINGS, is to build an enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society.

How are you working on peacebuilding? Are you responding to the situation in Sudan and want to share what you’re doing with your peers or build solidarity with others also looking to respond? How can US foundations best help in situations like these?

I don’t have these answers, but I hope some of you do, so please reach out with your thoughts and ideas.



Brian Kastner
Manager, Global Philanthropy
Phone: 202-991-0953


Webinar: FARA, FATF, and De-Risking (Oh My!)

The alphabet soup of global regulatory acronyms – FARA, FATF, and De-Risking to name a few – can lead to confusion for grantmakers. Join us for an update and discussion for how these regulations affect global grantmaking. Hear directly from global experts and ask your own questions to understand how these acronyms impact you and/or your grantee partners around the world.

Register Now


Does the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Help or Hinder Financial Inclusion? A Study of FATF Mutual Evaluation Reports

This new report by the Center for Global Development explores 33 developing countries’ mutual evaluations and the scope of financial exclusion in each country.

There’s Movement in Congress on the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for FARA to be enforced with renewed vigor.

Simultaneously, Grassley introduced a bill that would require the Justice Department to create a FARA enforcement strategy and require any individuals registered under FARA to disclose their status before meeting with Congressional staff or representatives.

Philanthropy Calendar for the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)

We’re creating a calendar of events relevant to philanthropy that are occurring alongside the HLPF. Please send any events you’d like to be featured on the calendar to


Last week, Council President and CEO Kathleen Enright issued a request to help us reimagine the Council’s vision and value to the field. We will be engaging with members and nonmembers in-person, virtually, by phone and email to discuss key questions about the Council’s role in the philanthropic ecosystem.

We are committed to listening and learning from you about your vision for the Council and how we can best support a strong, resilient and effective philanthropic field.

Learn More


Regulatory Updates

China Announces “Unreliable Entities List”

Likely in response to ongoing trade wars and Huawei's tailspin, China announced it will create an “unreliable entities list” that would include “foreign entities or individuals that do not obey market rules, deviate from the spirit of contracts, blockade or stop supplying Chinese companies for non-commercial reasons, and/or seriously damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.” While this is as much news we have on the topic, we’ll keep an eye on this list as it seeks to specifically target US companies.

Analysis of the Current Legal Framework for Civil Society in India

A comprehensive look at the environment for civil society in India, this new study summarizes the state of the sector and offers recommendations that the Indian government could take to promote a more enabling environment for nonprofits. Some recommendations of note are “consider constituting an appellate authority…to address FCRA-related grievances” and “the government should understand and accept that dissent itself is a public good in democracy.” If you need a refresher on India, check out our India Country Note.

Research and Reports

Giving USA 2019

The annual report on charitable giving in the US is out and it’s not great news. While total giving is the second highest ever, it reflects a drop from last year’s all-time high. One bright spot: there was approximately a 7% increase in giving to International Affairs.

Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box

Addressing the rise of authoritarianism across the globe, the report notes that “the threats to democracy are coming from outside of the electoral process and our response must be found there too."

The Role of Measures to Address Terrorism and Violent Extremism on Closing Civic Space

This report addresses the often-overwhelmingly negative impact that counter-terrorism efforts have on the civic space. The report includes typologies for actions taken by governments that may be helpful in thinking about how governments have reacted in the post 9/11 world.

Businesses as Bridging Leaders: A Guide on Cross-Sectoral Partnerships

With examples of ongoing partnerships, this guide provides tangible examples and advice as to how businesses can partner across sectors in today’s world.



Opinion: Government Attacks on Humanitarian Organizations and Human Rights Rising Devex

Lysa John writes in Devex about CIVICUS’s “2019 State of Civil Society Report” and how we are faced with both unprecedented challenges and inspiring opportunities in relation to civil society.

Defending Civic Space: Four Unresolved Questions – OECD

Thomas Carothers writes for the OECD about the closing space for civil society and his take on how the trend is changing.

International Currents at the Association of German Foundations Gathering in Mannheim – Alliance Magazine

Andrew Milner writes in Alliance Magazine about the Association of German Foundation’s annual meeting and the lessons that were shared from international perspectives.

The Future of Aid: How the Global Development Business is Evolving – Brookings

George Ingram explores three recent books on global development, “The Business of Changing the World”, “Global Development Discarded”, and “Lean Impact.” Pulling together key themes of each book, we see how aid is changing.

Journalism Initiative Crowdsources Feedback on Failed Foreign Aid Projects – SSIR

Abigail Higgins writes in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about What Went Wrong?, which collected 142 reports of failed aid projects in Kenya, submitted by the people said projects were intended to help.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on all
International Giving
Global Philanthropy Updates