First-Ever CAF America Report Shows Philanthropy’s Role

Published: Thu 31 Oct 2019 09:18 AM
Washington, D.C. – Oct. 24, 2019 – A new report released today by Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAF America), a leader in international grantmaking, finds quality education as the leading issue mobilizing the largest amount of charitable funding toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the only issue among the top five most supported SDGs in all nine global regions. The SDG Giving Landscape: An insight into philanthropic giving to the SDGs looks at giving toward the 17 universal goals and targets adopted in unanimity by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Corresponding with the upward trend in overall giving through CAF America (up 200% in 2019 from 2016), the report found giving impacted all 17 SDGs, indicating an overall commitment across individuals, corporations and foundations toward solving world issues.
“Philanthropy plays a vital role in tackling humanity’s most pressing problems worldwide, the very challenges that SDGs target,” said CAF America Founder and CEO Ted Hart. “The results of this first-ever look at CAF America’s giving data demonstrate the interconnectedness of the SDGs, and how progress on one goal translates into progress toward others. Through our work connecting donors to the international causes they champion, we’re inching the world toward the vision of a sustainable planet, peace and prosperity, and a future without poverty.”
Corporate and individual donors provided the primary support for the top five SDGs, and 69% of individual donors gave through Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) – a charitable giving vehicle to manage donations on behalf of organizations, families or individuals.
“We have seen an increase in individual cross-border giving through corporate employee matching gift programs, and partnerships with online fundraising campaigns and leading DAF-sponsoring organizations,” said CAF America Vice President of Thought Leadership and Communications Kinga Ile. “A closer look at the most supported issue-areas per industry confirms that corporations are working towards aligning their business and CSR strategy to the SDGs.”
Highlights about Top SDGs
The top five SDGs receiving the most funding between January 2016 and April 2019 are:
1. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
o 22.26% of the total SDG-aligned grants
o Remained #1 priority 3 out of the 4 years with peak giving occurring in 2018 (26.16%)
o Average grant $13,367.53
o 42.03% of funding came from individuals
o Ranked as the priority issue in Southern and Eastern Asia (29.6% within that region) and Europe (25.21% within that region)
2. Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
o 18.89% of the total SDG-aligned grants
o Average grant $10,407.45
o Nearly equally funded by corporations (48.54%) and individuals (45.24%), with the majority of corporate support coming from the technology industry
o Ranked as the priority issue in Russia and Central Asia (35.61% within that region) and North America (28.21% that region)
3. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
o 12.79% of the total SDG-aligned grants
o Average grant $17,943.57
o Nearly equally funded by corporations (48.32%) and individuals (40.54%), with the majority of corporate support coming from the financial services industry
o Ranked as the priority issue in Oceania (34.68% within that region) and Western Asia (22.61% within that region)
4. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
o 9.61% of the total SDG-aligned grants
o Average grant $16,819.85
o Majority funded by individuals (46.19%), then corporations (30.9%) – mainly from the technology industry – and foundations (22.92%)
o Ranked as the priority issue Central America and the Caribbean (86.1% within that region)
5. Life On Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
o 9.32% of the total SDG-aligned grants
o Average grant $25,577.33 – the highest of the top five SDGs
o 82.75% of funding came from individuals
o Ranked as the priority issue in Africa (49.26% within that region)
Beyond the top five SDGs, the primary sources for funding were corporations (9 of the remaining 12 SDGs) followed by individuals, with the majority of corporate support coming from the financial services industry (5 of the 12) followed by technology (2 of the 12). Funding for four SDGs (Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action and Life Below Water) remained under 1% throughout the four-year period.
Highlights of Giving by Source
Giving increased across the board for individuals, corporations and foundations.
Individuals—defined for this report as those who made single donations or opened a DAF with CAF America, or participated in online experience-based campaigns or gave through major DAF-sponsoring organizations that partner with CAF America—make up the bulk of the funding sources (48.43%) followed by corporations (41.83%).
The level of support from Employee Matching Gift Programs increased, with four of the five employee priority issue-areas matching the top 5 SDGs that received the most corporate support.
About the Sustainable Development Goals
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in unanimity by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provide a framework of universal goals and targets to be achieved by 2030.
The goals are: 1) No Poverty; 2) Zero Hunger; 3) Good Health and Well-Being; 4) Quality Education; 5) Gender Equality; 6) Clean Water and Sanitation; 7) Affordable and Clean Energy; 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth; 9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 10) Reduced Inequalities; 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities; 12) Responsible Consumption and Production; 13) Climate Action; 14) Life Below Water; 15) Life on Land; 16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and 17) Partnerships for the Goals.
The SDG Giving Landscape presents grant disbursements of CAF America donors—corporations and corporate foundations, foundations, and individuals—between January 2016 and April 2019 (the end of its fiscal year). As an intermediary 501(c)(3) public charity, CAF America makes charitable grants worldwide supporting virtually all 17 SDGs at the recommendation of its donors.
The nine global regions identified for this report are: North America; Central America and Caribbean; South America; Africa; Europe; Russia and Central Asia; Southern and Eastern Asia; Western Asia; and Oceania.
The full methodology can be found here.
About CAF America
A leader in international philanthropy, since 1992 CAF America (Charities Aid Foundation of America) has been assisting corporations, foundations, and individuals on making strategic, effective, and tax-advantaged gifts internationally and domestically. Whether supporting organizations working in developing countries, providing swift responses to major disasters, or helping build connections between global communities, CAF America turns donors' visions into impact. CAF America’s worldwide reach translates into more than $1 billion in donor funds and over 1.8 million eligible organizations in 110 countries. For more information about CAF America visit

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