Global Regulation of Philanthropy

The Council develops substantive policy positions on behalf of its members; submits regulatory comments and letters to U.S. policymakers, foreign governments, and intergovernmental bodies; and advocates before domestic and international bodies that set policies impacting cross-border philanthropy.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, many grantmakers are looking to serve a broader community through their philanthropy. However, there are both current and proposed laws that restrict the flow of important charitable funds across borders. These regulations make it difficult for you as Council members to support communities abroad in need of disaster assistance, humanitarian aid, or developmental support. U.S. counterterrorism laws are considered overly restrictive by many nonprofits and can deter philanthropic activity in high-risk—but also high-need—regions. The domestic laws in other countries can also create undue burdens for U.S.-based grantmakers doing work in the country, and unfortunately, we see this trend increasing.

The Council is dedicated to ensuring that barriers to cross-border philanthropy are minimized.

Regulatory Analysis:

Council Comments:


Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA):

FARA, which is a disclosure statute, requires that any person acting as foreign principal—in a political capacity—must make public periodic disclosures to the U.S. Department of Justice of their relationship with foreign principals. FARA was enacted in 1938. After foreign interference in the past presidential election in the United States, there have been several bills introduced in the U.S. Congress that would strengthen the enforcement capacity of FARA.

The Council has participated in several coalition meetings with Interaction and the International Center for Not-for Profit Law (ICNL) to discuss with congressional staffers the need to target the broad language of FARA. Otherwise, the legal and legitimate work that non-profits and foundations do could be caught within FARA, bringing negative consequences to civil society.

The Council, along with humanitarian and other non-profit organizations, signed an open letter addressed to Congress expressing concern about strengthening the enforcement of FARA - April, 23 2018.



Connect with Council Staff