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No Philly foundations cracked the list of top U.S. funders giving globally

Ideas to change the world. October 11, 2018 Category: FeaturedFundingShort
Philadelphia’s philanthropy scene isn’t known as for its international reach.

Foundation Center recently released a joint report with the Council on Foundations called “The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations” that tracks global giving trends from 2011 through 2015. No Pennsylvania funders cracked the list of top 20 most generous funders.

One local org did make it close, though: the Conshohocken-based John Templeton Foundation, which Foundation Center Research Analyst Inga Ingulfsen said ranked #26 by dollar amount. (This distinction isn’t included in the report itself.)

The org — which funds things like “exceptional cognitive talent and genius” and “individual freedom and free markets” — awarded 924 international grants from 2011 to 2015, totaling $128,660,737.

A few points of note:

  • International philanthropy reached an “all-time high” of $9.3 billion in 2015 alone. That was a 29 percent increase from five years earlier.
  • Global giving by community foundations increased threefold, from $103.1 million to $314.5 million.
  • The top funders by international grant dollars during the allotted timespan was, by far, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated an incredible $18 billion to international causes, including $6.5 billion going to Sub-Saharan Africa. This org was the top donor for each of the five years included in the report and accounted for just over half of all global giving from U.S. foundations.
  • The John Templeton Foundation did rank in the top funders of initiatives in Western Europe by both dollar amount (#4) and number of grants (#1): $81.8 million and 544, respectively.
Read the report

Ingulfsen said via email that the data stops at 2015 because the report’s writers “rely mostly on tax data published by the IRS,” which tends to lag by two years. (We’ve encountered this problem ourselves.)

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Foundation Center’s next data trends analysis, to be released in early 2019, will include 2016 data, and “2017 data will likely be ready to publish in late 2019 or early 2020 at the earliest,” she said.

That means we’ll have to wait a bit to see whether the 2016 presidential election impacted global giving, the way it has national philanthropy.

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