International giving jumps

Driven by mega-gifts from large funders and response to natural disasters abroad, international giving by foundations set a record last year, a new study says.

Giving by U.S. foundations to overseas charities reached $3.8 billion last year, up almost 12 percent since 2002 after adjusting for inflation, says the “International Grantmaking Update,” released by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations.

Overall giving for the same time period rose only 2 percent.

Foundations of all types posted international-giving growth rates that surpassed overall giving, the study says, but community foundations within a sampling of funders showed the highest growth rate of 35 percent.

A $750 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Vaccine Fund was a significant factor in the growth of international giving overall, and the foundation’s total international giving in 2004 was $1.2 billion.

Global health organizations received almost one in two international grant dollars, the study says, while more than two in 10 grants awarded benefited international development.

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