The Top Ten US Charitable Foundations

Private Foundations have been long term supporters of funding to charitable organisations around the world. In 2013, their strength is being felt more than ever as for the first time private foundations have overtaken many of the world’s governments and aid bodies as the biggest donors to the non profit sector.

These Foundations are simultaneously growing in ambition and confidence as they stretch their legs beyond their traditional markets into the developing world, creating new opportunities for small, grassroots NGOs in low income countries. All of the Foundations listed work with organisation’s based in the country of intervention making them important sources for new partnership opportunities for your NGO.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is based in the USA and is reported to hold assets valued at more than $34.6bn. The Foundation was setup by the Gates family with profits from their ownership of technology giant Microsoft and has grown to have an annual healthcare budget bigger than the World Health Organization.

The Foundation supports innovative projects around the world that are working to solve some of the worlds most pressing healthcare problems such as HIV / AIDS, Polio and Malaria. Its plans for the future include targeting 150m of the worlds poorest farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to raise themselves out of poverty. The Foundation releases regular calls for proposals that invite NGOs to collaborate and deliver interventions. For more information and check on the latest available opportunities click here.

2. Open Society Foundations fund a range of programs around the world, from public health to education to business development. Established in 1979, today the Foundations remain committed to the global struggle for open society and responding quickly to the challenges and opportunities of the future. Their stated mission is to “build vibrant and tolerant democracies where governments are accountable to citizens”.

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Over the last 30 years, the Open Society Foundations had expenditures of more than $10 billion. Much of this spending has been directed at specific priority issues and regions for the Open Society Foundations. For more information click here.

3. The Ford Foundation was established in 1936 with an initial gift of $25,000 from Edsel Ford, whose father Henry, founded the Ford Motor Company. During its early years, the foundation operated in Michigan under the leadership of Ford family members. The founding charter of the Foundation stated that resources should be used “for scientific, educational and charitable purposes” and it is in that spirit that the organisation continues.

Today, the Foundation has is based in eleven countries around the world and supports programs in more than 50 countries. The Foundation delivers three major programs in “World Peace and the establishment of law and justice”, “Freedom and democracy” and “Advancing the economic well-being for people everywhere”. For more information click here.

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4. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. In 2012 the Foundation had assets of more than $7bn and awarded grants totally$304,089,000. The Foundation’s current set of programs include global poverty, limiting the risk of climate change, improving education for students, improving reproductive health and rights worldwide and advancing the field of philanthropy.  For more information click here.

5.  The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, often known as CIFF, aims to demonstrably improve the lives of children in developing countries by achieving large-scale, sustainable impact. The Foundation applies multi-facedted stratgies to transform environments in which children live as a core strategy. CIFF also works with governments around the world to advocate change and put in place policies that will benefit children and mobilise affordable solutions. The Foundation focuses on four senior project areas: Climate, Education, Hunger Alleviation and Child Survival. Click here for more information.

6. The United Nations Foundation brings nations and sectors from around the world together to tackle the most far reaching international challenges. The Foundation exists to both make grants and as a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. The Foundation works to build partnerships, grow constituencies, mobilise resources and advocate policy changes to support the UN’s work for individual and global progress. The Foundation works with local NGOs worldwide on four key areas of focus: Energy and Climate, Global Health, the United Nations and Women and Population. The Foundation works with NGOs throughout the world and releases Calls for Proposals. For more information on the United Nations Foundation click here.

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7. The John D and Catherine T Macarthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. The Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.

The Foundation makes grants and loans to local NGOs around the world through its international program in the areas of human rights and international justice, peace and security, conservation and sustainable development girls secondary education in developing countries, migration and population and reproductive health providing grants of more than $215.2m in 2012.. The Foundation works in more than 50 countries and maintain offices in India, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia. For more information click here.

8. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is a family foundation established in 1944 by the man who started Hilton Hotels. We provide funds to nonprofit organizations working to “relieve the suffering, the distrssed and the destitute. Latest financial results showed that the Foundation has assets in excess of $2.2bn. The Foundation has awarded more than £1bn in grants over its lifetime including $83m in 2012. Its strategic vision is to work with locally based organisations to increase its impact in the following areas: Helping children affected by HIV / AIDS; Supporting older youth in foster care; Preventing substance abuse; and providing safe access to clean water in developing countries. For more information click here.

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9. The Rockefeller Foundation supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges. Operating around the world the Foundations has been active since its inception. From funding an unknown scholar named Albert Einstein to accelerating the impact investing industry, the Rockefeller Foundation has a long tradition of enhancing the impact of individuals, institutions and organizations working to change the world. The Foundation works with NGOs and governments around the world aimed at meetingg four equally important goals: Revalue Ecosystems; Advance Health; Secure Livelihoods; and Transform Cities. For more information click here.

10. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is the newest organisation on our list having been established in just 2000. The Foundation seeks to advance environmental conservation, scientific research, and patient care–around the world. The Foundation devotes some of its grantmaking to experimentation, focused innovation, and agile response to time-sensitive, high-impact opportunities in its areas of focus. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals and instead release specific calls for proposal to collaborate with NGOs and other community based organisations.  For more information click here.


  1. Avatar Kambungu Enock says

    I work for an NGO called Prison Fellowship Zambia whose mission is to upgrade social and spiritual lives in the Zambian Prisons We have five programmes Which are: Family support which deals with paying school Fees for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners children and providing food stuffs and clothing for the families; Training which deals with giving life skills to the Prisoners, Ex-Prisoners and their families; Micro Financing which gives Micro Loans to prisoners Ex-prisoners to start up small businesses; healthy which deals with treatment of all illnesses and awareness Campaigns against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases in the Prisons; Spiritual Transformation which deals with preaching counselling of Prisoners, Ex-Prisoners and their families.
    Prison Fellowship is tone of the biggest NGOs working in more than 90% of the Zambian Prisons. A grant will really go a long way in helping the vulnerable children.

  2. I always respect the U.S.A Donors as they help all the poor country of the world but the Donation are not spend properly for the needy people of the poor countries. I’m a Bangladeshi man, inspite of my having Graduation Degree and computer knowlege l’m yet unemployee, at last l hate myself, my life, my country. Like me most of educated people unemploee. Would you please help us please.

  3. We are a small local charity helping a village called Hastings, in Sierra Leone, that was virtually destroyed towards the end of the Rebel War. Our current project focuses on maternal and infant health: Sierra Leone has the second worst infant mortality rate in the world, and Hastings is worse than the national average. Malaria, cholera, dysentery are rife. We have nearly finished a self-build project to extend the tiny health centre (catchment area of 20,000), but urgently need funds to provide obstetric equipment & basic medical supplies, to improve sanitation and to pay for outreach health education work amongst the women in 10 surrounding villages.
    We raise funds painfully slowly. None of the big funders seems interested in helping small-scale grassroots voluntary organisations.

  4. Avatar Mercy Homes says

    Dear Readers,

    Greetings from the Mercy Homes, India.

    We are running an Orphanage at ELURU-534 005, Andhra Pradesh, South India with a roll of 52 kids. We have 22 applications pending admission. Due to lack of funds, we could not admit them. We also need additional accommodation for Boys. Kindly pray and try to assist us as God provides. We will submit full details of needs on hearing from you.


    Rosy John, Superintendent

  5. this is the opportunity for you to be rich and famous by joining the illuminate brotherhood, majority of the people in the world are members, and they are very rich some are business men, some are politicians and many other businesses in the world, join today so that you will be a millionaires and one of the top people in your country and the world, i want those that are interested in the brother hood to contact us.

    • Avatar K. Ampon-wireko says

      Please send me more details about this brotherhood to enable me decide whether I can join.

  6. Avatar Ronald Anguma says

    We have a national called Save Uganda from HIV /AIDS based in Nest Nile -Arua district.
    We are seeking and looking for potential donors who can come to our rescues as we have have a number of activities .

  7. Avatar BRENDA CHITINDI says

    We are Heart and Stroke Foundation in Zambia, addressing the burden of heart diseases and strokes which is currently on the increase. Cardiovascular diseases are relatively new in Zambia, thereby claiming more lives than HIV/AIDS, We need to tackle the risk factors which can be mitigated by changes to behavior as there is a widespread perception that cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke is a lifestyle disease. It is therefore essential to protect the healthy of the population and efforts to prevent CVDs in our population is required to save their lives. We are therefore seeking for donors to assist by funding our programs that are lined achieve our goals.
    Thank you.
    Brenda Chitindi.
    Executive Secretary.

  8. Avatar David Chemweno says

    Save Kenya Water Towers Is an NGO operating in Kenya, Our main Objective Is environmental conservation, management and climate change mitigation. Currently we are embarking on Our flagship Project dubbed “The Green Ribbon Initiative” its a collaborative and partneship project which Is broad and includes capacity building among communities boardering forests, advocacy, purchase of Nature Project and Introduction of environmental éducation and clubs in primary schools. We are in the process of fundraising around the world for charitable organisation who Can share Our dream.


    I hereby introduce International Action Group for the Vulnerable as an NPO based in Republic of South Africa in Durban with aim of combating stereotype to solving the vulnerable community,children abused,street kids,widows and refugees and migrants vulnerable.
    The IAV would like to work in collaboration and good partnership with others NGO in world wide in exchange and in needs of support.Which it willmake us able to achieve our goal.
    Thank you
    A.Thierry Mizero
    IAV youth ambassodor

  10. Avatar Lina Kharjana says

    Our NGO,s name is Auxilium Roilang Institute for Sustainable Empowerment(ARISE). We work for the empowerment of the non-literates and School drop-outs through, morning and evening schools for the school drop-outs and providing them different Vocational trades, training them for employment and self employment, thus preparing our young people to enter again the normal stream of life, earning a sustainable income, feeling again their self worth and meaningful life and change for the better, socially, morally and socially.

  11. Avatar SOSSOUGA DOSSE says


    I’m the president of NGO: ADET(Amis des étrangers au Togo)

    We work for social development, sustainable development. Our field of activities is disable persons, older persons, migrants, indigenous peoples, youth, vulnerable women and children, agriculture, climate change, biodiversity, biotechnology, energy, education, health, tourism, water, major groups, poverty, employment, peace… Our area of expertise is Togo, Africa and after in the world. We have special consultative with ECOSOC in 2013.

    We need your Aid for the sustainable development post 2015 and for the participation of NGO: ADET members (21persons) to UN meetings.

    Best regards



    Avenue Jean Paul II

    BP: 20123 Lomé- Togo

    • We are and N.G.O in South Africa. We are in the Western Cape. The area we stay is in the Overberg in Overstrand disadvantage fish community. We working with vulnerable children and families,youth,poverty,employment and education.

      That will be pleasure if you can take our hand in this areas.

  12. Avatar Bangurambona Josephine says

    We are an organization in Burundi working with very poor people ;chidren;women and oung and elder people. We need to improve health;hygiene ; sanitation and nutrition. For this;we need to build a health center with a nutritionnal center.
    Thank you for your interest about our organization.
    Josephine BANGURAMBONA.

  13. Avatar Sritharan Nagarasa says

    skills india foundation is a local NGO working for the cause of ensuring meaningful education and better livelihood opportunities for the marginalized and disadvantage section of the Society. Support our Bala Shiksha project “Child Creative Learning Centre” which aims at developing creativity of a children. The child development project of Skills India Foundation believes that “Every Child is born Creative”. The basic purpose of the system is to develop the child’s intrinsic learning processes. Based on the information processing model of learning, it attempts to develop seven basic competencies called Core Creative Competencies (C3): concentration, power of observation, memory, thinking, imagination, emotional management, and communication/expression power. The content of learning is selected specifically for each child, taking into account the child’s personality, family, and social environment. Through the use of monitoring and evaluation, the materials are regularly adapted to the child’s strengths and weaknesses. By widen the horizons of students who are gifted and talented, by conducting periodic workshops on creativity and analytical thinking. We address child Memory: Individual capacity of memorizing facts and figures. Child Understanding: He does not follow what he reads. Presentation skills : Difficulty in expressing views-vocabulary is not sufficient. Knowledge Gap: Concentration difficulties or absenteeism. Parental attitude: Indifference of parents towards studies or over-expectation. Medium of instruction: Language problem. Physical factors: Poor eyesight; poor audibility; illness etc…Individual factors: Good in oral tests; very anxious but is unable to concentrate; lacks self-confidence; inferiority feeling; fear of failure; emotional instability.

  14. Avatar Irene Wairimu says

    Looking for partnership in fighting malnutrition in children and women in Kenya through a nutrition project am interested in.
    Please have a look on my organisation

  15. Avatar Women & Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (WAGEP) says

    We are a group of Liberian working with very poor women and less fortunate adolescent girls
    to improve their lives.
    We would like to propose the Charity Home program for our girls.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Barpaye
    Executive Director

  16. Avatar Ashish K Bardhan says

    Re: Request for joint venture for the INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, specially for WOMEN and CHILDREN, in vulnerable situations.
    Dear Donor,
    We take the opportunity to introduce ourselves as an NGO, whose aim is to fight against poverty and injustice. Since 2002, we are trying to work with the poor and marginalized tribal people of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa of eastern part of India, almost without any fund. We are working with local communities to address collectively the people’s movements, poverty, inequity and injustice.
    We are reaching out with the target groups, through SHGs (Self-Help Groups) of which, mostly are poor and marginalized, belong to tribal communities, supporting them in their struggle to access their rights to food, shelter, work, education, healthcare and human security and helping them to have their voice in the development decisions affecting their livelihood.
    The people we work with include the dalit and tribal people, other sections of the rural poor, women, children, and minorities. Within these groups, our focus is on people in vulnerable situations such as people living with chronic hunger, ill health, migrant and bonded workers, children out of education, homeless people, trafficked persons, persons with disability, displaced people and refugees, and people affected by natural and human-made disasters.
    As we are working with the Tribal and other backward communities at the Purulia, Balasore and East Singhbhum districts, under the State of West Bengal, Orissa & Jharkhand respectively, that are why, we would like to propose the welfare program for the children and the women of Tribal and other backward communities for said areas.

    We look forward to hear from your end.

    Thank you,

    Ashish K Bardhan
    Member Secretary, SPREAD/India

    • Narconon is an independent in property, and operates through the license given by ABLE (Association for the Better Living and Education.
      This Organization works for a better future for our children and Community.
      Narconon Albania too, is a non-profit organization whichis working hard to educate people to control themselves and helps others to skip from the habit of taking drugs.
      Narconon Albania through the activities has reached success in this field. Our projects will create good bases for the implementation of human rights in Albanian democratic system, especially the right to live a drug free life.We hope such project will influence the national strategy to realize the Millennium goals of the Albanian Government too.
      Our working group is made of parents, ex drug users, doctors, social workers, psychologists.
      Narconon Albania and the staff ha has done many activities on their own. No support from the government, no donors.
      The number of drug users in Albania has reached alarming figures, 35.000 drug users, not including here women, because of stigma. There is an urgent need to better prevent drug use than rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is much expensive than education and prevention.
      Narconon Albania needs support and help in order to go on working and achieving succes in this difficult innitiative.
      Thank you
      Vitore Lelaj
      Executive Director
      Narconon Albania( Drug prevention, education and regabilitation organization in Albania)