Development finance statistics

The role of philanthropy in financing for development


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Private philanthropy is reshaping the development landscape like never before. In order to better understand philanthropy’s contributions to development finance OECD carried out a data survey aimed at better understanding who the main philanthropic actors active in development are.

Private philanthropy for development

Philanthropy’s role in advancing sustainable development attracts a lot of attention. 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

Private Foundations’ Giving for Development in 2013-2015

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

This working paper highlights the main findings of the 2016-17 data survey on Private Philanthropy for Development and describes how this exercise relates to the ongoing OECD efforts to improve its statistics on development finance beyond ODA. The survey results are based on activity-level data collected on 143 foundations from all over the world.


Key findings:

  • Collecting activity-level data from philanthropic foundations according to the DAC statistical standards is feasible.
  • Philanthropic giving for development amounted to USD 23.9 billion in 2013-15
  • Philanthropic giving predominantly targeted the health and reproductive health & population sectors which together accounted for 54% of the total over 2013-15.
  • 28% of the total giving was targeted to Africa during the three-year period, followed by Asia (17%), America (8%) and Europe (2%).
  • India was the largest recipient country of foundations’ giving over 2013-15.
  • Large share of the philanthropic giving was channelled through third parties: 68% through NGOs, research institutes, think tanks, universities,networks, PPPs or private enterprises.

Full publication             


Private Philanthropy for Development - data visualisation 

Interactive data visualisation tool 

  • This data visualisation tool allows to browse the survey results per year by origin of philanthropic funds, beneficiary country/territory, income group, sectoral allocation, channel of delivery and modality of giving and other.
  • Download dataset (xls)



Regular data reporting to OECD by foundations

The availability of a comparable and reliable data on development funding is recognised as a critical driver of international aid coordination. Almost 100 governments, multilateral organisations and philanthropic foundations regularly report to the OECD on their development finance flows.

In 2009 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the first philanthropic foundation to report at the activity level on its development grants and program-related investments (PRIs). In 2017 the United Postcode Lotteries (Dutch Postcode Lottery, Swedish postcode Lottery and People’s Postcode Lottery) followed. Datasets reported by these actors are fully comparable with ODA and other development finance flows collected by the OECD, and can be downloaded through the International Development Statistics (IDS) online databases.

OECD invites philanthropic foundations active in development to start reporting on a regular basis using the OECD-DAC statistical standards, thus contribute to better aid coordination at a global level.


ODA and philanthropy 2013-2015

Source: OECD (2018), International Development Statistics


Data on top 10 donors in the health and population/reproductive health sectors (2013-15)

Even though the magnitude of foundations' giving may seem relatively modest, data collected through regular reporting and the 2016-17 survey reveal that foundations' support to the health and population and reproductive health sectors was the third largest source of funding in 2013-15, following the United States and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Focusing on the health sector only, private foundations were the most significant source of finance.




Further resources




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