Philanthropy, a matter of trust

Philanthropy, a matter of trust

A new report reveals that global philanthropy is booming, however, most foundations still work in isolation.

Philanthropy around the world is growing rapidly, but resources are very concentrated in certain sectors and coordination among philanthropic foundations is limited.

These are the key findings of the Global Philanthropy Report, the first study of its kind, which was conducted by researchers from the Hauser Institute of the Harvard Kennedy School with funds from UBS, a financial advisor company.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a promising change. People, families and wealthy corporations seek to give more, do it strategically and increase the impact of their social investments. An increasing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice and expand these investments.

As the world fails to raise between 5 and 7 trillion dollars of the annual investment needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, UBS believes that the report’s findings are a call for philanthropists to work together to increase their impact.

Some key findings in the study:

  • The Global Philanthropy Report, conducted by researchers from the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at the Harvard Kennedy School with funds from UBS, is the most comprehensive analysis to date of global philanthropic practices and trends.


  • The global philanthropic sector is young and growing rapidly, with 72% of the foundations established in the last 25 years.


  • Foundations are highly concentrated geographically, with 60% of the more than 260,000 identified by the report based in Europe and 35% in North America.


  • Although the combined assets of the global bases are estimated at around USD 1.5 billion, half do not have paid staff and have small budgets of less than USD 1 million. In fact, 90% of the foundations identified have less than USD 10 million.


  • Resources are highly concentrated in certain sectors, and education is the most popular area for investment.


  • Despite this, 58% of the foundations identified do not collaborate with other foundations.

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