Global Philanthropy Update - August 2023

Thursday, August 31, 2023 - 5:00 pm
Brian Kastner
Community Philanthropy Update

Greetings Friend,

There has been a lot of activity related to global grantmaking regulation and the enabling environment for civil society in 2023.

Bright Spots for Global Regulation

In a new Council blog, we highlight several bright spots in the global regulation of philanthropy, including US Treasury’s first-ever De-Risking Strategy, a new report and recommendations from the UN Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, and a public consultation with the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) on combating the abuse of nonprofits. Despite continued trends of closing space for civil society globally, these positive developments are the result of advocacy by global civil society networks working on these issues for decades.

A Growing Initiative on Localization

At the Council, we’ve been expanding our work supporting US foundations to meet global commitments on localization. This has included work on data and research about the state of the field, as well as work to convene and connect funders and share resources.

One of the key takeaways from our The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations: 2022 Edition report was that direct global giving was only 13% between 2016 and 2019, which is a minimal increase of 1% for comparable data between 2012 and 2016. We wanted to know more about the 13% of direct global grants - who is making direct grants? Who receives them? What issues do they support? Where are they flowing globally? Later this fall, we’re releasing a follow-up report that goes deeper on direct giving by US foundations and starts to answer some of these questions.

While insights into grantmaking data are helpful, it’s often not enough to shift practices within foundations. To that end, we are also convening and connecting foundations committed to localization, as well as gathering and sharing resources to help foundations who want to do more. Our work includes:

  • Convening leading global funders in our Leadership Circle on Localization, co-chaired by Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
  • Launching a new Localization Hub that provides opportunities for funders to get engaged in this work, dig into data about localization, and learn more from curated resources.
  • Relaunching a global grantmaking training next year, which will provide an overview of the legal and regulatory environment for global funders and help grantmakers have the capacity and resources you need to make direct global grants.

Locally-led development is on the agenda of many UNGA events next month, as you’ll see in the calendar below. Council staff will be in New York City for UNGA so reach out if you'd like to connect in person or connect on any of these updates.

All the best,

Brian Kastner
Director of Engagement


Upcoming Events


UNGA 2023 Event Calendar

Each year, the Council compiles a calendar of philanthropic side-events occurring during the UN General Assembly in New York. We will continue to update this page until UNGA.

If you have an event you’d like featured, please email Jessica Chaparro.

RINGO Funder Action Pod – September 19, 2023 from 10:00-11:30am ET

RINGO, or Re-Imagining the International NGO, is a systems-change initiative that seeks to transform global civil society to respond to today’s challenges. The Council partners with RINGO to host their Funder Action Pod, a convening of funders from the United States and Europe who meet quarterly to discuss issues related to advancing localization in their work and across the sector.

Please reach out to Zainab Arain to join the Funder Action Pod.

Philanthropy Supporting Ukraine – September 28, 2023 from 2:00-3:00pm ET

How can philanthropy apply lessons from the war in Ukraine and support education systems during and after a crisis and in conflict zones across the globe? Join us to discuss the current state of education in Ukraine and the potential for strategic partnerships and innovative programs that address educational challenges brought on by Russia’s war. Speakers include:

  • Anna Novosad, a Former Minister of Education and co-founder of SavEd, will share strategies for rebuilding the destroyed schools,
  • Oksana Matiiash, CEO of Teach for Ukraine, will speak on ways to support rural and frontline schools, and
  • Katerina Manoff, founder of the US-based ENGin program, will discuss educational engagement between thousands of Americans and Ukrainians for online English conversations.

Register now to join the conversation.

cof-icon-book-open-59x50Legal and Regulatory Updates

U.S. Treasury Discontinues Syria Global License 23

Treasury has recently stated that it will not renew Global License 23, which authorized earthquake relief efforts in Syria for the last six months. Our partner, Charity & Security Network, “recommends that all NGOs transferring funds into Syria cite GL 22, the Compliance Communiqué, FAQ 937, and additional Syria GLs – such as the Syria NGO license and accompanying FAQs – when facilitating transactions into Syria through a financial institution, and to specifically reference which authorized activity within the OFAC authorizations the transaction falls under.”

Britain and the EU Target “Foreign Interference”

A new law in the United Kingdom, the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS), follows the model of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a US law that the Council has long advocated for narrowing in scope and modernizing since its creation in 1938. The UK law however, could be a model for updated FARA as FIRS is much more limited in who is targeted for foreign interference, namely FIRS is limited to work for non-UK government entities and political parties.

Meanwhile, the European Union is considering its own directive on foreign-funded organizations that would require registration across the EU. In response, more than 200 NGOs have decried the potential directive and called for an impact assessment and a clearer legal basis for the law.

Both of these efforts serve as a reminder that FARA continues to need updating in the US and that the battle over transparency, protecting democratic sovereignty, and the free flow of resources globally will likely continue in the years ahead.

India’s FCRA Law Continues its Disruption

The Indian government, since amending the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in October 2020, has continued extend deadlines for registration and offer very little in guidance to domestic civil society or foreign funders. While we’ve covered the impact this law has had on philanthropy over the years, this article outlines the impacts of FCRA on Indian nonprofits, their employees, and the communities they serve. 

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Global Philanthropy Updates