Global Giving Drops Slightly

Private giving to the developing world fell slightly in the first year of the global recession, a new study says.

Private philanthropy from all developed to developing countries, plus remittances from migrants to their families and villages back home, totaled $227 billion in 2009, down from $234 billion in 2008, while government aid fell to $120 billion from $121 billion, says the 2011 Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances, published the Center for Global Prosperity at the Hudson Institute.

U.S. philanthropy to developing countries grew slightly to $37.5 billion in 2009 from $37.3 billion in 2008, while remittances from the U.S. fell to $90.7 billion from $96.8 billion.

Remittances from the U.S. represented the largest financial flow from the U.S. to the developing world in 2009, exceeding private capital investment of $69.2 billion.

Despite their decline, U.S. remittances represent over three times the amount of official U.S. development assistance, which totaled $28.8 billion, the study says.

Remittances are expected to have grown in 2010, the study says.

“Several years into the financial slowdown that has reshaped the global economy, it is clear that private financial flows have proved their staying power in terms of international assistance,” the study says. “Philanthropy and remittances continue to provide a lifeline to poor people around the world.”

The study says there is “increasing recognition that the attributes fostered by private giving – results, transparency, grassroots involvement, and creating lasting institutions – are being embraced by the international development community.”

Developed countries provide “far more to the developing world through private actors than through government aid,” the study says. “This reflects the diverse, new world of international development where for-profits, nonprofits, churches, universities, families and individuals can and are contributing to international relief and development.”

Reprinted with permission of Philanthropy Journal.