Global giving by U.S. foundations increased by 29%, to a record $9.3 billion, between 2011 and 2015, the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center reported this week.
The organizations’ analysis was based on grants data from Foundation Center’s research sample, FC 1000, which includes all grants of $10,000 or more reported by 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations. A grant in the study was considered international if it was for a non-U.S. recipient or for a U.S. recipient for international programs or programs implemented abroad.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation accounted for 50.7% of total international grantmaking during the five-year period, or $17.9 billion. Projects in sub-Saharan Africa received $6.5 billion of that total.
A quarter of all international giving by foundations in the study, $9 billion, went to sub-Saharan Africa. Asia/Pacific followed with $6.6 billion and Latin America and the Caribbean with $2.7 billion.
The health sector received 52.5% of total international grant dollars during the study period, or $18.6 billion. The Gates Foundation contributed for 80% that amount.
The report noted that U.S. foundations’ international grantmaking for reproductive health care nearly tripled in the five years after a U.S. government rule prohibiting the use of federal money to fund organizations that provide abortions or information on abortions was reversed in 2009.
Other top issue areas:
- Economic development — 12.5%, $4.4 billion
- The environment — 10.9%, $3.9 billion
- Agriculture and food security — 8.3%, $2.9 billion
The analysis showed that grants focused on climate change represented just 2.4% of international grantmaking by U.S. foundations between 2011 and 2015.