By Simon Scott, Counsellor, OECD Statistics and Data Directorate
One of the compensations of growing old is that you may eventually find out what you always wanted to know.
Fifteen years ago I wrote an OECD study on Philanthropic Foundations and Development Co-operation which – despite its many glowing virtues – was decidedly thin on systematic financial and sectoral detail. Most of all, I found it almost impossible to get a handle on what the biggest development philanthropy of all, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was up to.
Now, in my dotage, my questions are answered by an excellent new study, Private Philanthropy for Development, a joint project of the OECD’s Development Centre and Development Co-operation Directorate.
How large is private philanthropy’s financial contribution to development? Answer: USD 24 billion from 2013 to 2015 inclusive, or USD 8 billion a year. What is the share of the Gates Foundation? 49%, which goes mostly to health, with agriculture next. And, by the way, the authors of these figures are not just guessing: they developed a special new data survey completed by 77 philanthropies and also gathered publically available information on many more. All the data – partly aggregated to protect confidentiality – are available here, and constitute a major new information resource.