The total amount of private U.S. charitable assistance to the developing world is more than a three and a half times larger than U.S. government foreign aid, a new report from the D.C.-based Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity finds.
The newly launched Index of Global Philanthropy found that U.S. private charitable aid — in the form of money, volunteer time, goods, and expertise — to the developing world in 2004 totaled more than $71 billion, compared with $21.3 billion in U.S. foreign aid and $6.5 billion in private lending and investment. Moreover, in response to the South Asian tsunami and the earthquake in Kashmir, U.S. corporations in 2005 exceeded $100 million in donations to international disaster relief efforts for the first time ever.
The report is designed, said Carol Adelman, the center's director, to counter the "outdated and incomplete measure" of foreign assistance used by the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development — a measure that only considers government foreign aid, thereby dramatically underestimating the amount and impact of U.S. overseas assistance.
"[And] it's not just about numbers," said Adelman, "it's about the remarkable stories of private philanthropy. The traditional foundations, such as Ford and Rockefeller, spawned higher education and the green revolution in poor countries. [Today, a] new breed of philanthropists is bringing business techniques, accountability, transparency, and results to remote villages in need."