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Feds’ overseas-funding matrix challenged

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A group of grantmakers supporting international social change is criticizing a set of funding guidelines released by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Grantmakers Without Borders, a coalition of 130 philanthropic organizations, has written a letter to the Treasury detailing what it sees as shortcomings of the department’s “Risk Matrix for the Charitable Sector.”

The matrix is intended to provide international funders with a set of risk factors associated with international grantmaking, with the goal of minimizing the flow of resources to terrorist groups.

Grantmakers Without Borders is recommending the matrix be withdrawn, saying it stigmatizes international grantmaking and could slow the flow of critical funds to highly vulnerable parts of the world.

Existing  processes for due diligence are effective in minimizing the diversion of grant dollars, the letter says, and the Treasury’s “ambiguous” risk factors can detract from proven methods.

“Grantmakers Without Borders does not want to support terrorist activities,” the letter says.  “However, the Risk Matrix is another voluntary tool that inhibits legitimate philanthropic work, while ignoring the realities of international grantmaking.”

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