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The Global Role of U.S. Foundations

The Global Role of U.S. Foundations

Although foundations have become important global actors, surprisingly little is known about their international policies and practices and the nature of their impact and influence.

In this study, Joan Spero draws upon her experiences as President of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; interviews with foundation presidents, program officers, and philanthropic experts; and Foundation Center data to paint a detailed historical picture of significant international work done by U.S. foundations from the beginnings of the Cold War to the present.

The study focuses in particular on how foundations have addressed five major global challenges: health disparities, poverty, climate change, democracy and civil society, and peace and security—and raises important questions regarding the assessment of foundation impact, the role of foundations in global governance, and institutional accountability.

May 2010
44 pages

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