Study Profiles UK Foundations' International Development Spending

U.K.-based charitable foundations donated some 290 million pounds ($457.82 million) to international development causes and activities in 2010, according to a recently released study. The report also looked at where these charities spent most of the funds and identified emerging trends in these foundations’ engagement in the international development scene. 

According to the study, the funds donated by the foundations to international development causes accounted for 9 percent of the total spending of all U.K. independent foundations, which dole out an average 3 billion pounds in grants annually. The bulk of the 290 million pounds were given as grants to civil society organizations in the United Kingdom and in developing countries, the study notes, according to

Africa attracted the most funding, followed by Asia. Meanwhile, the top supported sectors were health and formal education. Sustainable economic development, agriculture development, and children and youth causes wereamong the priority sectors of U.K. foundations as well.

The study also looked at emerging trends on how U.K. foundations are shaping their engagement in the international development scene. In general, the study notes there is growing interest among local foundations in funding projects and campaigns abroad. Specific trends on how  U.K. foundations spend their money on interaction development causes include:

  • Investments in education, health and sustainable development following the recognition of these sectors are key to global development goals.

  • Support for programs to address inequalities in education and health in India.

  • Set up new programs in “emerging areas of need,” including neglected tropical disease and climate change.

  • Partnerships with other development funders such as the government and international aid agencies.

  • Investments in sustainable agriculture and enterprise development to help tackle root causes of poverty.

The study, entitled “Global Grantmaking: A Review of U.K. Foundations’ Funding for International Development,” was conducted by the Cass Business School for The Nuffield Foundation, The Baring Foundation, and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.