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International giving saw huge jump in late '90s

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - Nov. 17, 2003) - International giving by foundations increased 131 percent between 1998 and 2001 - far greater than the 71 percent increase in overall grant dollars, according to a new report from the Foundation Center.

The report, International Grantmaking Update, published in collaboration with the Council on Foundations, was released Oct. 14.

Factors that led to the huge jump in giving include the strong economy and stock market before 2001, which increased foundation endowments, and the record number of new foundations, the report said.

'Substantial increases in grantmaking by long-standing international donors, the rise of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a widening base of donors propelled the growth of international funding through the early part of the new millennium,' said Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center and principal author of the report, in a press release.

Health programs received the largest share of dollars, due mainly to large grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. International dollars to health more than quadrupled from 1998 to 2001 to $715 million, according to the report.

'More and more foundations are rolling up their sleeves to address tough global issues from AIDS to environmental challenges to conflict resolution,' said Dorothy Ridings, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, in a press release.

The share of international dollars that went directly overseas dropped to 31 percent in 2001, from 40 percent in 1998 as more money went to U.S.-based international programs. However, funding to international-based groups still saw a huge increase of $771 million, an 80+ percent jump. Support for U.S.-based organizations more than doubled to $1.7 billion.

The report looked at international funding trends through 2001 based on an analysis of grants of $10,000 or more given by a sample of 1,000 of the United States' largest grantmaking foundations. The report includes changes in international giving by foundation type and age, geographic focus and subject area and lists the top 15 U.S international donors.

For a copy of the report, visit The Foundation Center's Researching Philanthropy webpage.

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