Development finance standards

The role of philanthropy in financing for development



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Private philanthropy is reshaping the development landscape like never before. Alongside its statistics on Official Development Assistance (ODA), the OECD collects and publishes data on private philanthropy for development, thus contributes to providing the broader picture of resource flows to developing countries. This information is expected to inform evidence-based development co-operation policies and promote better partnerships between the different actors.

Statistics on private philanthropy for development

The OECD DAC statistics includes project-level information from 33 of the largest foundations working for development. These foundations report data on their grant making and programme-related investments (PRIs) for development following the same statistical standards and definitions as ODA. Until 2017, only the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was sharing this information with the OECD. This makes the OECD DAC statistics a unique source of information on private philanthropy for development. They are also a key source of information for the OECD Centre on Philanthropy. This brochure highlights some of the main statistical trends over 2017-18. 

 How to access the data?

Activity-level data on private philanthropy for development are now available – and can be downloaded – through the International Development Statistics (IDS) online databases using the links below:

  • Private Philanthropy for Development (CRS), as specific dataset focusing on activities from philanthropic foundations engaged in regular reporting;
  • Creditor Reporting System (CRS), the comprehensive dataset on resource flows to developing countries from official bilateral and multilateral organisations – including ODA – as well as from private philanthropic foundations. Data on activities from foundations can be found under the flow category “Private Development Finance”. This database excludes core/assessed contributions to multilateral organisations.

The CRS is a multi-dimensional and activity-level database which includes information on resource flows by provider, partner country, socio-economic sector, financial instrument, flow type, aid type, amount type and others. Filters and dimensions can be personalised through “Customise” > “Layout”. Activity-level information is accessible by clicking on any of the underlined figure in the result table.

Foundations’ immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, philanthropy has been put to the test to show its reactivity to a global crisis of an unprecedented scale. To better understand private foundations’ immediate response to the global challenges posed by the crisis, a survey was conducted with almost 70 of the largest private foundations working for development. The survey collected unique insights as of mid-May 2020 on both the financial and policy response of the international philanthropic community based in OECD countries. Since the objective of the survey was to capture foundations’ response at the early stage of the pandemic, the findings are of preliminary nature.

Profiles of private philanthropic providers

The 2020 digital edition of the provider profiles offers detailed insights on financial expenditures and development programmes of a broad range of providers, including the philanthropic foundations. They include analyses and visualisations on foundations’ bilateral and multilateral allocations, sectoral distributions, SDG focus, geographic allocation as well as contributions to gender equality and global environmental objectives. The profiles are available for each foundation individually, as well as the philanthropies as a provider group.

2016-17 Survey on Private Philanthropy for Development: data on more than 140 foundations

Cover page OECD report on Private Philanthropy for Development

Private Philanthropy for Development

This report calls into question long-held assumptions about the volume, nature and potential of foundations’ engagement in developing countries, and the role they can play to support the SDGs. Chapter 2 examines the data collected through survey questionnaire.

Cover page WP 44 Private Philanthropy Foundations' Giving for Development in 2013-2015

Private Foundations' Giving for Development in 2013-15

This working paper highlights the main findings of the 2016-17 data survey on Private Philanthropy for Development and describes how this information relates to the OECD statistics on development finance beyond ODA.

Further resources


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