US signs up to SDG Platform

The US has become the first high-income country to pilot the SDG Philanthropy Platform, a forum whose aim is to help coordinate the contribution philanthropy can make to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The announcement, made by the Platform and the Council on Foundations, follows a publicity campaign in the US led by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Foundation Center and Council on Foundations, with gatherings in Little Rock, San Francisco and New York, and a report showing how US funders can integrate the SDGs into their domestic grantmaking.

‘At the heart of the SDGs is the idea that all countries – including the US – are in need of development.’

The contribution made by philanthropy to the SDGs is likely to be significant, with a recent estimate putting it at around $364 billion. According to its press release: ‘the US will take a leading role in shaping how the philanthropic sectors in wealthy countries support the SDGs’ as well as helping domestic funders in the US to use the goals to learn from programmes addressing the same problems abroad.

This also marks the recognition of a crucial difference between the SDGs and their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were focused on the developing world. The SDGs acknowledge that there is some work for developed countries to do to set their own houses in order too. As Council on Foundations president and CEO, Vikki Spruill, puts it: ‘At the heart of the SDGs is the idea that all countries – including the US – are in need of development.’ A recent article in Alliance on this subject by Lauren Bradford of the Foundation Center and Natalie Ross of the Council on Foundations noted, for instance, that Arkansas has a poverty rate of 20 per cent, while the US as a whole has 3.5 million children living on less than $2 a day.

The US joins Kenya, Colombia, Indonesia and Ghana who have signed up as pilot countries in the SDG Philanthropy Platform.

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