Blog: Newsletters

Global Philanthropy Newsletter—January 2018

Happy New Year! As you start 2018, I’m excited to continue working with you to support your international grantmaking. I’m kicking off the new year with a new job here at the Council—while continuing to lead our international program, I’m now also overseeing the work of our corporate, community, and private philanthropy directors as the Council’s Vice President of External Relations.

Over the last three years, I’ve worked to mainstream our global programming across departments as we developed new resources, convenings, and programs for our members and with partners all over the globe.

In this new role, I look forward to continuing to embed our international work within the programs and services we provide to all Council members. I'm also looking forward to working even more closely with your teams to strengthen your global grantmaking, amplify the stories of your foundation’s impact, and advocate for a strong, enabling environment for cross-border giving.

Thank you for the work you do advancing global philanthropy and grantmaking. If you would like to increase your impact and gain access to the resources and network required to do so, please consider joining the Council. You can discuss the benefits of Council membership with our membership team by calling 703-879-0645 or emailing the team at

All the best,

P.S. Remember to keep checking our global program page and the global grantmaking resources for all the latest updates!

We're heading to Mexico!

With the first-ever North American Community Foundations Summit (NACF) less than one month away, we are thrilled to welcome over 175 participants to Mexico City on February 5 and 6, 2018! The summit, co-hosted with Comunalia and Community Foundations of Canada, will dive deep into discussions about the shared challenges facing communities across North America and the opportunities that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the quality of life for all.

The full Summit schedule is available at

At the Summit in Mexico City, we will be launching a new report entitled “Local Leadership, Global Impact: Community Foundations and the Sustainable Development Goals”. This report, which will be free to download once released, serves as a companion to the Summit, demonstrating how community foundations around the world can operate through the lens of the SDGs, and showing the rest of the international development community the ways in which community foundations can play a transformational role in achieving the SDGs.

Diversity of Thought: Atlas Corps Fellows Program

The Council is partnering with Atlas Corps and American Express to host a webinar on February 28th about the Atlas Corps Fellows Program. The Council’s global program has had an amazing Atlas Corps Fellow since last January and could not be happier with our experience—we hope to share with others how our fellow, Maxi, has helped strengthen our work and diversify our organization.

Atlas Corps facilitates overseas fellowships for the best of the world's rising leaders who volunteer for 12-18 months at American organizations working to social issues. During the last 12 years, Atlas Corps placed 600 leaders from 88 different countries at many of the world's leading organizations, including AirBnB, American Red Cross, Nike Foundation, Points of Light, UN Foundation, and many more.  

Join us for a discussion with Scott Beale, Founder and CEO of Atlas Corps; Richard Brown from American Express and their fellow, Abeer Pamuk (Syria), alongside myself and the Council’s own fellow, Maxsalia Salmon (Jamaica), to learn more about this exciting opportunity.


Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and Global Grantmaking

This week, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and approved the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act (H.R. 4170). If passed, this bill would expand the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) capabilities to enforce registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Since late 2017, the Council’s global program has been working with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Open Society Foundation, InterAction, and Human Rights First to engage with lawmakers and share concerns about the potential unintended consequences of FARA for nonprofits, including grantmaking organizations. Non-Profit Times wrote an article this week outlining concerns around the impact of FARA on nonprofit organizations.

FARA was signed into law in 1938 to track certain foreign lobbying activities by individuals acting on behalf of other countries—with the intent of combatting Nazi propaganda leading up to World War II. Individuals must register with and regularly report to DOJ, and clearly communicate to the public about working on behalf of a “foreign principal.”

The Council’s primary concern is that proposed legislation will expand enforcement capabilities according to the original 1938 definitions within FARA. Currently, FARA technically requires that any U.S. organization working at the request of a foreign individual, non-profit, or company to influence any section of the public within the United States to register under FARA. However, the intent behind the 1938 law was to combat propaganda—not hinder philanthropic activity. As a result, many foundations have not registered and have not faced enforcement penalties (given that the nature of this philanthropic work was never meant to be penalized).

If changes to FARA enforcement are made without specifying these key definitions, many US nonprofits and grantmakers could face penalties for failing to have registered as foreign agents.

We have also seen the impact of FARA in other countries, where governments such as Russia, Egypt, and Hungary have used the U.S. law to justify domestic laws that limit the ability of civil society to operate locally and restrict U.S. philanthropy from operating in their countries. We are therefore also concerned that strengthening FARA without limiting the definitions in the law, may have significant impact in other countries that may do the same and further restrict civil society abroad.

New DAF Regulations: Impact on Foundations

The IRS has published a notice detailing proposed new regulations for donor advised funds. On January 17, the Council's Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs, Suzanne Friday, hosted a webinar outlining the IRS notice and its effects on philanthropy, and provided updates on parts of the new tax reform law that could affect charitable foundations.

We know that a significant amount of international grantmaking comes from DAFs and corporate advised funds, and will continue to update our members of any regulatory changes that impact global grantmaking from DAFs. This webinar is free to Council members and can be viewed below.

Access Webinar

Recent Global Philanthropy Reports

Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking—Foundation Center & Human Rights Funder Network
Doing Good 2018 Index: Maximizing Asia’s PotentialCentre for Asian Philanthropy & Society
Issue 26 of Sur: Reclaiming Civic SpaceInternational Journal on Human Rights
Philanthropy & Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2018Lucy Bernholz, Stanford Center on Philanthropy & Civil Society

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