U.S. charitable foundations gave money away to international causes at record levels in 2007.
In a new study, The Foundation Center and its study partner, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Foundations, decided to pull the Gates Foundation dollars out of the equation. International charity still grew faster than all foundation giving during the period of the study.
"The study will show that it's not just about the Gates Foundation ... but I would be the last person to say Gates is not a huge factor," says Rob Buchanan, managing director of international programs for the Council on Foundations.
If you pull Gates out of the equation, the top international priority of all other U.S. foundations is global development, followed by the environment and health.
Buchanan said older family foundations created in the 1940s or 50s were largely focused on giving back to the community where the wealth was generated. Those foundations are now being run by a generation that has more global connections. Newer foundations were started by their contemporaries.
Asked about the economic downturn, only 7 percent of the charitable foundations that responded said they expected to reduce their international support in 2008, while close to half said they expected to increase giving.