Global philanthropic support for efforts to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts totaled $357 million in 2014, up significantly from $283 million in 2013, a study by the Peace and Security Funders Group and Foundation Center finds.
According to the 2017 edition of the Peace & Security Funding Index: An Analysis of Global Foundation Grantmaking (12 pages, PDF), 290 foundations awarded nearly 2,800 grants to more than 1,800 nongovernmental organizations in 2014 in support of a range of peace and security efforts, from tackling piracy to building an "underground railroad" for women escaping ISIS. The $357 million total was just a fraction, however, of the roughly $2.7 billion that foundations awarded for human rights and less than 1 percent of total foundation giving in 2014.
The study analyzed grants in support of twenty-three issue areas in three categories — preventing and mitigating conflict, resolving conflict and building peace, and supporting stable, resilient societies — and found that the largest share of grant dollars in 2014 funded policy, advocacy, and system reform (26 percent) as a strategic approach, followed by research and evaluation (17 percent). The report also found that peace and security funders were nearly twice as likely as other grantmakers to fund policy and advocacy strategies. Other strategies supported by peace and security funders included media, publishing, and productions (8 percent), capacity building and technical assistance (7 percent), and network building and collaboration (6 percent).
The top ten funders in the field in 2014 included eight U.S. foundations — Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, Bill & Melinda Gates, Ford, and NoVo foundations. While 33 percent of the foundations in the study awarded a total of $250,000 or more in peace and security grants, 32 percent awarded $49,999 or less, while grant amounts ranged from $50 to $9 million, with a median of $36,000. And while only three-fifths of peace and security grantmaking targeted a designated population, the largest share of funding was focused on children and youth (11 percent), women and girls (10 percent), and migrants and refugees (7 percent).
"The existence of peaceful, stable societies is critical to the success of other areas of work: children cannot be educated, health care clinics cannot provide services, and economic development projects will fail if people are experiencing violent conflict in their communities," wrote report co-authors Alexandra I. Toma and Rachel LaForgia of the Peace and Security Funders Group. "In other words, peace and security funders are the 'ground zero' of the philanthropic community: their work provides a foundation upon which other interventions can blossom and grow. It is this interconnectedness with other issues that makes peace and security grantmaking ever more important."