Trends in International Philanthropy


Submitted by Pam Kahl

Steven Gunderson, President of the Council of Foundations and former WA-state congressman and Renee Acosta, CEO of Global Impact opened Day 2 of Global Washington. Steve highlighted the growth in global philanthropy, citing statistics such 300% increase in giving by Brazilians, $5.5 billion contributed in India in 2006 and the fact 800 new foundations have been established in China in the last five years. In addition to the financial statistics, Steve noted that overall philanthropy is taking a more central role in society. Younger generations are more focused on contributing to global issues than previous generations.

In the last five years the notion of philanthropy has evolved from competitive grant making to a focus on strategic investments – most recently with a focus on integrating with public and other private entities around common goals. As a result, many now look to philanthropy to lead innovation instead of the traditional drivers such as government and corporations. During the Q&A Steve made the key point that philanthropy and charity are not the same – charity is about passive periodic giving whereas philanthropy is about making strategic investments with multi-year commitments in mind.

Renee emphasized the importance of individual donors, noting that in the last three years individual donations represent 75% of Global Impact’s revenue. Global Impact stats also indicate that individual donors are more likely to give to a variety of organizations. Global Impact recognizes the importance of the giving sector acting as a knowledge-base to help donors make giving decisions. Renee closed by emphasizing the following:

No single tactic or giving challenge is as important as the quality of message and the ability to inspire and engage hearts and minds of donors.

Steve Gunderson, President Council on Foundations
Renee Acosta, CEO Global Impact
Moderator: Bill Clapp