Global Philanthropy Update - April 2024

Thursday, April 4, 2024 - 1:49 pm
Brian Kastner
Community Philanthropy Update

Greetings Friend,

2024 has already seen significant shifts in global philanthropy and development, especially as related to locally led development efforts by bilateral aid agencies, who are shifting their ways of operating and working more closely with philanthropy and local partners.

Our President and CEO Kathleen Enright recently wrote an op-ed for Devex providing examples of foundations who are already moving from talk to action on shifting more funds directly to local organizations globally. You can read more in Devex’s Roots of Change feature, and reach out to Natalie Ross if you want to be involved in the Council’s work to advance locally led development.

USAID is also advancing commitments to locally led development. Its expanding relationships with philanthropy include recently signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Hilton and Skoll Foundations. You can learn more about these agreements on the Council’s new How Foundations Can Partner with USAID page, which also includes information about the agency’s approach to this work.

  • Meanwhile in Congress, The Locally Led Development and Humanitarian Response Act was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 20. The bipartisan bill, which has also been introduced in the Senate, would remove some of the red tape that prevents smaller local organizations from successfully applying for USAID funding. 
  • The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) announced it will be terminating existing contracts with Swedish NGOs to now allow global (and local) organizations to compete for funds. The pushback domestically demonstrates the tension bilateral donors face when shifting funds from domestic organizations to support more local partners.

Below you will find additional updates on:

We expect there will be plenty more news to share as the year progresses and look forward to advancing this work with all of you.

All the best,

Natalie Ross
Vice President of Membership, Development and Finance

Brian Kastner
Director of Engagement

natalie-ross-2023 Brian Kastner

cof-icon-book-open-59x50Global Resources from the Council

October Dates Now Open for Global Grantmaking Essentials

Our Global Grantmaking Essentials training in April has sold out! Registration is now open for the next offering of the training which will occur on the afternoons of October 9, 10, and 16. Learn more and register today. 

Country Notes

The following countries nonprofit law profiles have been recently updated:

View all Country Notes.

Global Legal and Regulatory Updates

The Status of Foreign Aid in 2024

In the United States, President Biden’s supplemental request for Ukraine support is still languishing on the Hill. The package, which recently passed the Senate, includes $60 billion for Ukraine as well as Israel and Taiwan, will likely come to the forefront again in April. A delayed package means a very short time frame for federal agencies such as USAID and State to get funds out the door. 

Meanwhile the 2024 budget, which passed in late March, saw a 6% cut to foreign aid, though experts note the cuts could have been much higher. In an interview with Devex, Keifer Buckingham, advocacy director at Open Society Foundations, said, “It’s definitely not as bad as it could have been, I think people are looking at this bill and saying, okay, take a little sigh of relief, but we have a lot of work to do for 2025.”

Globally, debates about foreign aid are faring little better:

Foreign Agent Laws

A new bill in Kyrgyzstan is the latest in a growing list of legislative efforts to place constraints on NGOs receiving foreign funding. In short, if NGOs receive foreign funds they will be labeled as “performing the functions of a foreign representative” and will be required to submit onerous financial, governance, and operational activities.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) in the U.S. is expected to see a widespread overhaul in enforcement this year from the Department of Justice, which has steadily ramped up FARA activities in the past few years. Top on DOJ’s agenda appears to be either removal or retooling of the “commercial exemption” within FARA. The Council has been actively working with a coalition of partners to advocate for FARA reform and we expect more news as early as April this year. We'll keep you updated.

The UK’s foreign agent law, Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS), went into effect last year and the UK government released a factsheet earlier this year. FIRS is relatively similar to FARA and imposes criminal penalties for noncompliance. 

News & Resources

  • CIVICUS released its 2024 State of Civil Society report, noting that 118 countries have civic space restrictions and only 2.1% of people live in open civic space.
  • India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has yet again extended the FCRA deadline till June 30, 2024.
  • Venezuela continues its crackdown on NGOs, closing UN human rights offices, and is still considering a draft law that poses an existential threat to NGO operations in the country.
  • Hungary passed its Defense of National Sovereignty Law in December 2023, which follows the Foreign Agent style of law described above and has warranted the EU to act notifying Budapest that it’s in violation of EU law.
  • The embattled agency UNRWA has seen the U.S. cut off funding while other countries who had suspended funding are releasing previously held funds. Japan, Sweden, Canada, France, and Finland have recently resumed funding.

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