Putting Your Gifts and Grants to Work Overseas

by Mike Rea

May 1, 2003
In the years following September 11, international grantmaking has become more necessary than ever--and ever more difficult.Yet as the needs and reasons for international giving and grantmaking have grown, the ease of doing so has not. International financial flows of all kinds have received increased scrutiny in the aftermath of September 11. In addition to the standard challenges of accountability, oversight, due diligence, and accessibility of information on good causes and organizations, newly instituted regulations and guidelines issued by the U.S. government have further complicated international giving.
Putting Your Gifts and Grants to Work Overseas
  • Those wishing to effectively and securely direct gifts and grants overseas can give directly, give to a U.S. nonprofit or faith-based organization working overseas, or use a U.S. intermediary that can "regrant" to local organizations overseas.
  • There is no tax benefit and many complain about a lack of accountability and even the diversion or disappearance of funds when giving directly.
  • Working with U.S. intermediary organizations gives you access to local, indigenous leaders and organizations overseas. It is the best of both worlds (tax deductibility, accountability, resources of a U.S. organizations, and ability to support grants to foreign grantees).
  • Potential downsides of using a U.S. intermediary are a loss of direct, hands-on experience, and additional administrative fees, though these charges defray the costs associated with good grantmaking overseas and supporting the intermediary's overall operations and services.
  • Resources for Child Caring lacks a consensus on mission, vision, and purpose, and does not have a strategic plan to direct future growth. Its structure impedes communication and innovation, and staff do not receive support from management. RCC is also not well-known in the community, hindered by a lack of expertise in public relations and branding,
  • Resources of Child Caring is uniquely poised to play an intermediary role in Minnesota's early childhood education system because of its longevity, breadth and depth of services, financial stability, and talented staff and leadership.
  • Of the four intermediary functions (Connecting, Convening, Measuring, and Sustaining), RCC may be best suited to perform a Connecting role, as it is most similar to its current activities.
  • Although becoming an intermediary would present a great opportunity for RCC, it is equally clear that it poses significant risk for the organization. The threat is that RCC will not be able to fill this role well, and will invest significant resources that do not lead to improved outcomes for children.
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