This paper by the Council on Foundations, BNY Mellon, and Give2Asia explores the opportunities and challenges that face global families as they seek to conduct cross-border philanthropy. From coordinating family strategy to navigating complex tax regimes, global family philanthropy is not a simple feat. However, due to generational change and technological advancements, it’s becoming far more common. This paper equips global families with key considerations and offers recommendations on how to proceed with global family philanthropy in an effective manner.
These resources are for U.S. foundations and grantmakers wishing to make grants abroad. The resources on this page focus on global grantmaking in general. For more specific topics, follow one of the links below. For information managing grants, see the Council’s resources on grant management.
In-Depth Topics Under Global Grantmaking:
In-Depth knowledge on Global Grantmaking
The Global Goals Mapping Tool is a comprehensive resource that maps giving and volunteerism using both the IRS National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) codes and the United Nations International Classification of Nonprofit Organizations (ICNPO) codes to classify the activity and programs of charities and connect them to the SDGs.
Making grants to institutions outside the United States is challenging and rewarding.This chapter of Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources focuses on the various legal and technical requirements necessary to comply with the U.S. law and regulations concerning grants to non-U.S. organizations.
The Council on Foundations and Foundation Center analyzed how US foundations supported international communities, non-profits, and programs between 2011 and 2015 for our report, The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations: 2011-2015. In addition to a detailed analysis of trends by issue area, geographic region, population group, and donor strategy, this analysis also relates these trends to key events and developments, including the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and the increasing legal restrictions faced by civil society in countries around the world.
The Council, in collaboration with the Foundation Center, created this first-ever analysis of international grantmaking by U.S. community foundations. Beyond statistics on global grantmaking trends, the report also includes interviews with five community foundations - The Boston Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Seattle Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation - who each approach international engagement in diverse ways.
On September 25, 2015, 193 countries formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations. The Council is committed to connecting our members with resources to learn more about the SDGs and understand how these global goals are relevant to their existing programs and strategies, globally and in the US, and provide an opportunity for philanthropy to lead together towards 2030. Get started here.
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Understanding the challenges of currency fluctuations on international grantmaking, and taking action to minimize their impact can ensure that this natural process does not become an added barrier to overseas giving. This resource focuses on some of the challenges foundations and giving programs and their grantees face as a result of fluctuating currency exchange rates, and highlights various ways that U.S. grantmakers are dealing with them in their international grantmaking activities. It offers insights from the field that may be useful to grantmakers considering starting an international giving program and to more seasoned ones wishing to improve their practices.
While philanthropy that crosses national borders has much in common with its domestic counterpart, it also differs in significant and challenging ways. Language differences, communication across vast distances, unfamiliar cultural values and perspectives, multiple legal systems, and disparate accounting practices are a few of the factors that distinguish international from local or national philanthropy and contribute to its complexity. Moreover, international philanthropy takes place against a complex backdrop of international politics, geo-power dynamics, government stipulations, and cultural and religious traditions, with a potentially greater degree of uncertainty and unpredictability. However, with the high level of need and the cross-border nature of many of the challenges the world faces today, there is also a greater sense of responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to make a difference with even modest contributions. In view of these challenges, how can independent funders ensure that their international philanthropy is carried out in an accountable and responsible manner?
Developed by the Treasury Guidelines Working Group of Charitable Sector Organizations and Advisors