October 1, 2006
Following a period of rapid growth, giving by U.S. foundations for international purposes declined in 2002.1 The stock market downturn, a recession, and a more difficult climate for giving in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing "war on terrorism" all contributed to this reduction in support. Since that time, several factors have heightened global economic and political instability: the uneven stock market recovery, record oil prices, an ongoing war in Iraq, and tensions with Iran and North Korea. Over the same period, the international community faced human tragedies of epic scale, from the Darfur crisis in Sudan to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. In this context of uncertainty and acute needs, how has international giving fared? This interim report, prepared by the Foundation Center in cooperation with the Council on Foundations, presents a brief update of key trends through 2005 and discusses the current outlook for giving. The study provides estimates of overall giving by private and community foundations; and an analysis of patterns of giving from 2002 to 2004 based on a sample of larger U.S. foundations (see "Sampling Base" for further details).