The U.S. Agency for International Development awards billions in grants each year, mostly to nonprofit organizations. In fiscal 2012, USAID contributed $8.9 billion in grants, 51 percent of which were awarded under cooperative agreements. Cooperative agreements allow USAID limited participation in the recipient’s project.
In line with the USAID Forward reform agenda’s goal of broadening the agency’s partner base, USAID has opened a number of new grant-making channels in recent years. For instance, through its Development Innovation Ventures program alone, USAID is currently supporting development projects in 19 countries. Aimed at identifying and scaling up innovative development interventions, the program has received more than 3,000 applications since its launch in October 2010.
USAID has also committed to award more of its grants to local organizations, again in keeping with USAID Forward. In fiscal 2012, groups based outside the United States received only 14 percent of the agency’s grant funding. USAID has set a target of channeling 30 percent of its overall assistance to governments, local businesses and local nongovernmental organizations by 2015.
Here are the top USAID-funded grant implementers, based on data from USASpending.gov for fiscal 2012. In addition to implementing organizations, multilateral agencies including the World Bank and the World Food Program also receive grants from USAID.
Drawing on its expertise in health, education, environment, economic development and civil society, FHI 360 provides services including capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, research and social marketing. Now working in more than 60 countries, FHI 360 was known as Family Health International or FHI until its 2011 acquisition of AED.
The official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community, Catholic Relief Services has worked in more than 100 countries since its founding. CRS focuses its work on six areas: emergencies, hunger, education, health, peace-building and U.S. advocacy for social change.
With experience working in more than 155 countries, Jhpiego designs and implements solutions to improve the health of women and their families. Jhpiego’s work focuses on areas including maternal and family health, family planning and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS prevention and care, and malaria prevention and treatment. Jhpiego’s parent organization, the Johns Hopkins University, is ranked 11th on this list.
4. Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening
With a staff exceeding 3,700, RTI International provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries. Governance and economic development, international education, global health, and information and communication technology are among RTI International’s areas of expertise in its international development practice.
Serving more than more than 78 million children in 2012, Save the Children USA’s programs worldwide include emergency response, child protection, education, health and nutrition, and hunger and livelihoods. Save the Children USA is one of 30 member organizations of Save the Children International. Save the Children was named a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator in 2011.
Since its founding, Mercy Corps has provided $2.2 billion in relief and development assistance to people in 114 countries. Mercy Corps’ programming spans a wide range of sectors including agriculture, education, emergency response, health, and women and gender.
Specializing in conflict and post-conflict environments, International Relief and Development has delivered $3 billion in development assistance over the past 15 years. With a presence in 42 countries, IRD implements programming in six areas: infrastructure, civil society and governance, conflict mitigation, emergency response, food and agriculture, and health and hygiene.
Operating in more than 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, Pact works with its 1,000 local partners to empower communities, effective governments and responsible private institutions. Pact’s programs focus on governance, health, economic development and natural resource management.
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Lorenzo is a Devex senior analyst based in Manila. Our resident budget cruncher, Lorenzo spearheads Devex's in-depth reporting and analysis on global development finance and policy. He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut on the Freeman Asian Scholarship, earning degrees in Government and Social Studies.