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Banks are known to give loans- even micro-loans for development projects around the world. But do they also give free and flexible grants to NGOs? The answer is yes! Many international banks have full-fledged corporate philanthropy programs to financially support community welfare projects in poor and developing countries. In fact, some of these banks have also set up independent foundations that handle disbursement of grants to NGOs.
However, before trying to know more about the grant-giving programs of the banks, it is important to throw light on the existing relationship between private banks and NGOs. Environmental and human rights organizations, which have been at the forefront in protesting against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, have also often taken some of international banks to task for funding large dam projects and harmful industrial plants especially in developing countries. In fact, the Citi Bank was once declared as “The Most Destructive Bank in the World” by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
Banks have also been criticized for spending too little on charity. In December 2012, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) published a report called “Take and Give: The Crimes and Philanthropy of Banks of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.” The report analyzes the charity giving practices of four major banks of the United States and concludes that their grant-making money was less than 0.16 percent of their overall revenue. Besides, these banks consider their loans to nonprofits also as part of their charity program.
Nevertheless, it is important not to ignore banks as potential source of funding for NGOs especially when there are few choices left to raise money. We have compiled a list of these banks and their grant programs. Only those banks are listed which have full-fledged international grant programs and that are willing to consider proposals for funding from NGOs.
We have covered bank foundations such as Macquarie Group Foundation, Citi Foundation, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Barclays Support for Communities, the RBS PeopleCharity, Societe Generale Corporate Foundation for Solidarity, the Royal Bank of Canada’s Community and Sustainability Program and the American Express Corporate Social Responsibility.
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