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Education and

Philanthropy

Key message

Contributions from philanthropic resources are needed on top of government spending to ensure that every child is in school and learning.


Although investments in education underpin outcomes across all sectors, philanthropic giving has been disproportionately allocated to health and, more recently, issues like racial justice and equity. Given the multiplier effect investing in education can have in these areas, increasing philanthropic investment in education serves as the most effective way to realise and maintain sweeping cross-sectoral progress.
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  • Education anchors investments in all sectors, but corporate giving to global health is 16 times what it is to education. US foundations decreased their share of funding for education by 3% between 2005 and 2015, while increasing their financing for health by 5%
    GBCE, 2013  International Commission for Financing Global Education Opportunity, 2017
  • Private philanthropy can have transformational societal change with an increased focus on education. Polio, smallpox, and hookworm have been eliminated or virtually eliminated largely due to philanthropic efforts
    (Keiper, 2012).
  • Private giving in the form of remittances can have a substantive impact on education – and lowering the cost can significantly increase resources for education. Remittances increased education spending by up to 35% across 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Lowering the cost of remitting by 4% would provide households with an extra US$1 billion a year to spend on education
    (GEM, 2019).
  • New innovations in finance can multiply philanthropic investments. The new International Finance Facility for Education leverages donor funding, unlocking four US dollars of additional investment for every dollar contributed
    (Education Commission, 2018)
  • New, innovative platforms and channels are needed to increase philanthropic giving to education – and there is appetite from investors. There is growing interest in expanding the use of innovative financing mechanisms, which can mobilise and leverage new and additional sources of finance for education and improve effectiveness and accountability. Just 2% of all impact investments are in education, but 22% of investors plan to increase their investments in the sector
    Global Development Incubator
  • Education has the potential to tap into innovative financing and impact investing. The health sector has successfully utilised these channels, raising US$7 billion through innovative financing since 2000, in comparison to US$500 million in education funding
    Global Development Incubator, 2014  Bellinger et al., 2016
  • High net worth individuals can be powerful catalysts of change in education. Key figures in global health have been instrumental in restructuring aid and building coalitions to leverage funds at scale
    (KFF, 2020).
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