Council on Foundations: Supporting an enabling environment for cross-border philanthropy

As the global regulatory requirements around cross-border philanthropy continue to increase in complexity, national and regional philanthropy associations play a key role in advocating for an enabling environment that facilitates global philanthropy.

Earlier this year, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) published an analysis showing more than 90 new restrictions on civil society since 2012, many of which affect cross-border philanthropy. For example, some new laws require burdensome reporting by donors and grantees, establish complex bureaucratic registration systems for foreign funders, and/or limit the amount of foreign funding local NGOs can receive.

The Council on Foundation’s global philanthropy programme tracks changes to the regulatory environment of cross-border philanthropy. We not only engage with US government agencies about policies that impact the outflow of charitable funds, but also advocate about legislation in other countries that restricts the inflow of philanthropy. In May, we worked with partners like ICNL to submit comments about a draft Chinese law that would affect foreign funders and civil society organisations. We have also worked closely with our members to share experiences responding to new anti-money laundering requirements in Mexico.

The continuing work by the Council and others on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF: is an effort to ensure that global regulatory standards do not create restrictive domestic regimes for cross-border philanthropy.

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