Foundations in Europe outpace U.S.

Europe’s largest corporate foundations give more than their counterparts in the U.S. and have a more focused approach to international charity, a new study says.

Philanthropy in Europe magazine ranked the 25 largest corporate funders in Europe and compared them to the top 25 in the U.S. and found the European firms outgave the American group by $680 million.

Together, the European funders gave $2.08 billion, led by La Caixa Foundation in Spain, which gave $384 million in 2005.

The U.S. group gave $1.4 billion, the study says, with the Wal-Mart Foundation topping the list at $153 million in 2004.

Europe’s largest funders are more willing to fund beyond their borders, the study says, with six in 10 of the top 25 making international grants, compared to fewer than half of U.S. corporate foundations.

Corporate foundations in Europe also tend to have more structured international grants programs, the study says, while American funders tend to give in response to disasters in the foreign communities in which they operate.

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