The Council on Foundations surveyed some of its leading members active in the global grantmaking sphere to learn what they see on the horizon. Here are their top 10 predictions for 2012:
1. Despite worldwide economic challenges, global philanthropy will continue its remarkable growth. While the pace of growth will slow somewhat among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, growth in emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil will be robust.
2. As more and more of their operations move overseas, U.S.-based corporations will move more of their philanthropic dollars outside the United States.
3. Women philanthropists, who according to one recent study are 95 percent more inclined to give internationally than their male counterparts, will play a more active and public role in global philanthropy.
4. There will be a wave of new partnerships and collaborations in the global arena between and among foundations, governments, nonprofits, multilaterals, and corporations that will be driven by geopolitical, financial, and strategic factors. These partnerships will be a key ingredient in confronting global challenges and leveraging philanthropic dollars for the public good.
5. U.S. philanthropy will take tentative but noteworthy steps toward greater engagement in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, with a particular focus on democracy, economic empowerment, and women’s rights.
6. An increasing number of alternative financing pools, including program-related investments, sovereign wealth funds and diaspora capital, will leverage important new resources toward economic development and social change.
7. Led by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Bolder Giving, and others, donors of all economic backgrounds will step up and donate one-half or more of their wealth to global causes. Steve Jobs’ family will announce a major philanthropic undertaking in his name.
8. With the rise of online, crowdsourced fundraising, the average citizen will become a larger part of the global philanthropic landscape, making 2012 and beyond the era of the citizen philanthropist.
9. In light of the growing concern with the ever-widening wealth gap, more philanthropy will be devoted to addressing the root causes of economic injustice globally.
10. There will be movement in philanthropy to better respond to the voices and aspirations of grassroots communities. These communities increasingly will be valued for their ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and experience and included in the design and implementation of philanthropic interventions.
What are your predictions for global philanthropy in 2012? Add them in the comments section below.
John Harvey is managing director of global philanthropy at the Council on Foundations.