Shaping philanthropy

The report’s findings all point to a reality we've known for some time: that for philanthropists to scale their impact they need to work together. That’s why UBS created the Global Philanthropists Community


Philanthropists not only dream of a better world, they take action to make those dreams a reality. Their solutions challenge the status quo and they act as a force for innovation and change in a complex world.

At UBS, we work with preeminent philanthropists daily – more than half of the world’s billionaires bank with us, and we’ve spent over a decade working with our clients to help them create sustainable impact through their philanthropy.

But we wanted to know more. That’s why three years ago, we set out to fund the most comprehensive analysis of global philanthropic trends and practices to date. The result, the Global Philanthropy Report, authored by researchers at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University, paints a picture of global philanthropy that is growing fast – but remains very fragmented.

The report’s findings all point to a reality we've known for some time: that for philanthropists to scale their impact – and help meet the USD 5-7trillion of annual investment needed to satisfy the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – they need to work together. They need to collaborate.

That’s why, in 2014, UBS created the Global Philanthropists Community, the world’s largest private network where philanthropists can meet and exchange best practices.

The Global Philanthropy Report shows us that we are on the right track, but there is still much work to be done. We hope you find the report as eye-opening as we do, and will join us in our efforts to draw the global philanthropic community together to find innovative solutions to the world’s great challenges.

Josef Stadler,
Head Ultra High Net Worth, UBS Wealth Management

About the report

"The Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector" is the most comprehensive analysis to date of global philanthropic practices and trends. The report was authored by researchers at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University and funded by UBS.


Need for collaboration

There is a great need and a great opportunity for collaboration in private philanthropy. At UBS we have established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.


A global picture of philanthropy

Johnson P. (2018). Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector. Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.

The first ever global picture

This report represents a first step in an attempt to understand philanthropic practices and trends globally. It aims to develop a picture of the magnitude of global philanthropic investment and help create an evidence-based discussion on global philanthropy.

Johnson P. (2018). Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector. Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.

Philanthropy is young and growing

While many countries and cultures have long traditions of philanthropic giving, the current global foundation sector is growing. Nearly three quarters (72%) of identified foundations were established in the last 25 years.

Johnson P. (2018). Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector. Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.

The challenge of collaboration

Global philanthropy remains very fragmented. Informal collaboration is widespread but there are only few examples of strong collaborations over an extended time horizon. Philanthropists are best placed to encourage more strategic approaches, facilitate collaboration, serve as role models for others, and, in sum, have a greater impact on the economic and social challenges being addressed.

Johnson P. (2018). Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector. Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.

Size matters

Over 50% of foundations have no paid staff. This can cause challenges with respect to their ability to source new projects, evaluate impact, share and communicate learnings, and build partnerships with other actors.

Johnson P. (2018). Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector. Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.

Education is on top of the agenda

35% of nearly 30,000 foundations direct resources towards quality education initiatives. Education is often viewed as the key to both individual opportunity and achievement, and as an engine of national economic prosperity.

Global Philanthropists Community

The Global Philanthropists Community, hosted by UBS, is the world’s largest private network exclusively for UHNW philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices. Join now!


Challenges

58% of foundations do not collaborate with other foundations. This causes challenges with respect to their ability to source new projects, evaluate impact, share and communicate learnings, and build partnerships.