Top USAID NGO partners: A primer

The U.S. Agency for International Agency for International Development logo. Photo by: Lance Cheung / USDAgov / CC BY

NGOs are crucial implementing partners for the U.S. Agency for International Development, which funds their field work via grants, cooperative agreements and contracts.

USAID’s nonprofit partners are classified in the United States as 501 (c)(3) or tax-exempt organizations. They include research institutes, faith-based charities and private non-governmental groups.

These implementing partners rival their for-profit counterparts in terms of staff size, range of expertise and awarded funding. However, they still account for just a fifth of the agency’s multiyear, multimillion-dollar indefinite quantity contracts (35 of 169 live IQCs).

Many NGOs don’t bid on contracts, but those who win IQCs often subcontract for goods, works and services. FHI 360, for instance, has a dedicated site for its subcontracting opportunities, particularly for U.S. small businesses.

Aside from IQCs, nonprofits may win USAID funding through grants and cooperative agreements. Both involve direct assistance but differ on the nature of the relationship between USAID and the funding recipient: Grants do not entail USAID participation in the project, while cooperative agreements will require some level of involvement from the agency.

Here are the top 20 USAID nonprofit partners based on agency data on funding obligated from Oct. 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. Note: We summated the amounts for organizations that appear multiple times in USAID’s data file.

1. FHI 360

Founded: 1971Headquarters: Durham, N.C. CEO: Albert SiemensObligated USAID funding: $804 million (includes pre-acquisition AED and FHI)

Family Health International rebranded itself as FHI 360 following its acquisition of AED in mid-2011. It offers public health-related services such as clinical research, product quality and compliance, consulting and health communication and social marketing services, and training. Its other areas of focus include education, economic development, civil society strengthening and the environment. FHI 360 has 60 offices and 4,400 employees worldwide.

2. Partnership for Supply Chain Management

Founded: 2005Headquarters: Arlington, Va. Obligated USAID funding: $590.2 million

The Partnership for Supply Chain Management is a nonprofit entity established by JSI Research and Training Institute (which separately won $104.3 million from USAID, see #16 below) and Management Sciences for Health (#6), as well as a consortium of 13 companies and nonprofits, which implement PFSCM’s projects through formal subcontract arrangements. It aims to provide reliable availability of products to developing country programs and boost national supply chains. PFSCM has been contracted by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to procure medicines and other products that are necessary to provide care and treatment to people with HIV/AIDS and related diseases in developing countries. It won the Supply Chain Innovation Award and was named the Best Value Chain Solutions Provider in the 2010 Supply Chain Distinction Awards.

3. International Relief and Development

Founded: 1998Headquarters: Arlington, Va. President and CEO: Arthur B. Keys Jr.Obligated USAID funding: $516.8 million

IRD’s relief and development programs focus on six areas: democracy, governance and community development; community stabilization; economic growth; emergency response; food and agriculture; health and hygiene; and infrastructure rebuilding. It says it extends nearly $500 million per year in development assistance to Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, and has provided more than $1.75 billion in humanitarian assistance worldwide since its inception. It currently implements or is developing aid initiatives in nearly 40 countries.

4. Catholic Relief Services

Founded: 1943Headquarters: Baltimore, Md.President: Ken HackettObligated USAID funding: $327.5 million

CRS is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Its assistance has reached more than 100 million people in at least 100 countries. CRS says it “approaches emergency relief and long-term development holistically” by focusing on six key areas of service: emergencies, hunger, education, health, peace and helping at home (by educating U.S. Catholics about the causes of injustice and to advocate social change).

5. RTI International

Founded: 1958Headquarters: Research Triangle Park, N.C.President and CEO: Victoria Franchetti HaynesObligated USAID funding: $320.7 million

RTI is an independent nonprofit organization that engages in research and development. It has more than 200 international development experts who provide advisory and training services relating to stabilization, governance and economic growth, education, environmental management, global health, and information and communication technology. RTI’s other donor clients include the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and several U.N. agencies.

6. Management Sciences for Health

Founded: 1971Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.President and CEO: Jonathan QuickObligated USAID funding: $301.2 million

Management Sciences for Health works with policymakers, health care managers and providers, as well as with the private sector to improve the delivery and management of health services in the world’s poorest countries. It employs 2,000 people in 73 countries. MSH is a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator.

7. Mercy Corps

Founded: 1979Headquarters: Portland, Ore.CEO: Neal Keny-GuyerObligated USAID funding: $212.4 million

Mercy Corps has provided nearly $2 billion in relief and development assistance — including food, shelter, health care, agriculture, water and sanitation, education and small business loans — in more than 100 countries. It says that in 2010, the donations received helped 19 million people. Mercy Corps has been recognized multiple times for its financial efficiency and accountability.

8. CHF International

Founded: 1952Headquarters: Silver Spring, Md.President and CEO: David A. Weiss Obligated USAID funding: $202.6 million

CHF International is a multiawarded nonprofit that works in post-conflict, unstable and developing countries. It undertakes projects in more than 30 countries, actively seeking out participation of communities where it works. It has expertise in economic development, micro- and middle-market finance, global health, housing and infrastructure, urban development, governance and civil society, and emergency response and recovery. It says it uses local materials and creates solutions suited for beneficiary communities, and that more than 95 percent of employees are from countries where it operates.

9. Pact

Founded: 1971Headquarters: Washington, D.C.President and CEO: Mark VisoObligated USAID funding: $201.8 million

Pact offers training, technical assistance and mentoring to build stronger grassroots organizations. Over the past two years, it has implemented more than 100 projects in at least 60 countries, focusing on democracy and governance, HIV/AIDS, livelihood, natural resource management and peace building. Pact also performs grant management, and over the past 17 years, it has managed more than $350 million in subgrants from USAID and other donors. Grant awards may be as little as $1,000 to as high as $5 million.

10. Population Services International

Founded: 1970Headquarters: Washington, D.C.President and CEO: Karl HofmannObligated USAID funding: $190 million

PSI offers lifesaving products, clinical services and behavior change communications, with a focus on malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. It has a presence in 67 countries and operates a European office in Amsterdam. In 2009, PSI, a Devex Top 40 Development Innovator, reported revenues of $524 million.

11. Save the Children

Headquarters: Westport, Conn. Obligated USAID funding: $170.9 million

12. Education Development Center

Headquarters: Newton, Mass.Obligated USAID funding: $165.7 million

13. World Vision

Headquarters: Federal Way, Wash.Obligated USAID funding: $128.5 million


Headquarters: Washington, D.C.Obligated USAID funding: $115 million

15. CARE

Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.Obligated USAID funding: $114.1 million

16. JSI Research and Training Institute

Headquarters: Boston, Mass.Obligated USAID funding: $104.3 million

17. Intrahealth International

Headquarters: Chapel Hill, N.C. Obligated USAID funding: $94.3 million

18. Pathfinder International

Headquarters: Watertown, Mass.Obligated USAID funding: $90.7 million


Headquarters: Baltimore, Md.Obligated USAID funding: $90.4 million

20. Winrock International

Headquarters: Little Rock, Ark. Obligated USAID funding: $89.7 million

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.