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Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

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September 4, 2010

Timely publishing: Giving to International Affairs

In the past few weeks, the world has been called upon to respond to the needs of millions of people after flooding in Pakistan. Although giving has started out slowly (NPR story)–just $25.3 million to 25 nonprofit organizations, according to internal sources here at the Center on Philanthropy, support is still flowing from those concerned about humanitarian needs. But many are asking if aid to Pakistan has been enough. A Pakistan Relief Fund has been established by the U.S. Department of State and the media has been focusing on this issue. Here is an example from the September 6, 2010 broadcast of PBS News Hour, featuring Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., executive director of the Center on Philanthropy.

Philanthropy in response to disasters across countries is not well understood, mainly due to measurement challenges. However, we do have means of differentiating responses. In comparison to giving after other disasters, here is where Pakistan stood at the 5-week point:

Hurricane Katrina 2005 – $1.9 billion
Sept. 11th 2001 – $1.1 billion
Tsunami Relief 2004/2005 – $900 million
Haiti 2010 – $900 million
Pakistan 2010 – $25 million

Total charitable donations to the Pakistan 2005 earthquake in Kashmir were approximately $150 million.

As of August 30, 2010, an American Red Cross text messaging campaign for Pakistan had yielded $10,000 vs. the $32 million collected from texting donations in the weeks after Haiti.

The Center on Philanthropy’s Director of Research, Una Okonkwo Osili, Ph.D. advises in general that donors be aware of the complexities of international grantmaking, including the necessity of performing due diligence on the organization you choose to fund. Guidestar has a robust data base of information available online. The Council on Foundations also has many fine resources about international grantmaking at this link.  You will find additional Council resources available here. In addition, you may wish to read or listen to Dr. Osili’s comments about giving to Pakistan that were broadcast on NPR this week.

Report Released on Giving to International Affairs

Giving USA 2010 has just released its newest topical digest:  Giving to International Affairs.  One of the sections in that report summarizes giving in 2009 for natural and other disasters. A major resource for that section is Interaction: A United Voice for Global Change, which posts information about its 180 member organizations and where they are working. The list of organizations working in Pakistan appears at this area of the site. A number of members of Interaction are active in China, which also is reeling after recent flooding.

International affairs giving is an area that has seen some of the fastest rates of growth of all of the subsectors tracked by Giving USA. According to the Center on Philanthropy’s continuing research, Americans have given $1.4 billion for relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. This is documented in the section now released, where grants from the Gates Foundation and increasing numbers of charities registered in this sub-sector account for the tremendous rise in international giving.

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