Based on a survey among philanthropic foundations (N=55) from all continents with a total annual budget for charitable goals of approx. 10,2 billion USD in 2015 (N=44), this study sheds light on the relationship between foundations and official development assistance (ODA), on strategies, size and intervention principles used by these foundations and identifies barriers and common ground for building mutually empowering relationships. Results show that foundations tend to focus on vulnerable groups (women, youngsters) in the poorest regions of the world. Most support takes the form of pro-actively searching for local partners in the global South to make grants aimed towards education, health, economic and community development. However, it should be noted that a significant percentage of the budget for charitable support is spent in the country that is home to the foundations. Experience in collaborating is mostly positive, perceived benefits outweigh the downsides and this perception becomes stronger as collaboration increases. Improved scalability is the most important benefit, increased bureaucracy and loss of flexibility most cited as perceived downside. Perceived gaps in collaborations are mutual agreement on expectations and accountability, degree of commitment to the partnership, communication, and the alignment of strategy, mission, and values. Ways to improve collaboration could be to match tasks with structures, and to focus on alignment of culture and values. A suggested typology, in which foundations were classified by their founders, motives and historical background, can be used for developing relationships with foundations.
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