CAF America Report: The SDG Giving Landscape

Content Manager • 25 October 2019

     In 2015, the world agreed to work towards peace and prosperity, a sustainable planet, and a future without poverty. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in unanimity by all United Nations Member States, provide a framework of universal goals to be achieved by 2030.

      Philanthropy plays a critical role in tackling humanity’s most pressing problems, the great majority of which are at the epicenter of the SDGs. This report aims to provide an insight into the work of the philanthropic sector towards the 17 goals and 169 SDG targets.

     CAF America’s SDG Giving Report explores the SDG landscape that has emerged based on its donors’ philanthropic giving since the goals came into effect on January 1st, 2016. It looks at the SDGs that rose to the top based on the level of support received and provides a window into how priorities have shifted year-by-year. In a regional and source-based setting, the report tracks the charitable giving of corporate, foundation, and individual donors through CAF America.

Key findings of the report are: 

  • The funding provided over the time period covered in this report impacted all 17 SDGs.
  • Education is the issue area that mobilized the largest amount of charitable funding overall, as well as on an annual basis (only coming second in 2017 after SDG 3, Good Health and Well- Being).
  • The primary support for the top 5 SDGs receiving the most funding between January 2016 and April 2019 was provided by corporate and individual donors. The level of individual support reached above 40% for each of the top 5 SDGs. Corporate funding followed closely with 39.77% provided to Quality Education (SDG 4), 48.54% to Good Health and Well Being (SDG 3), and 48.32% to Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11). The most significant level of foundation support was directed to No Poverty (SDG 1) and Quality Education (SDG 4).
  • Quality Education (SDG 4) is the only issue area that appears among the top 5 most supported SDGs in all nine regions explored by the report. Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10) rose to the top based on the level of funding received on a regional scale.
  • A closer look at the most supported issue-areas per industry confirms that corporations are working towards aligning their business and CSR strategy to the SDGs.
  • The level of support from employee matching gift programs increased between January 2016 and April 2019. As a result, corporate funding spanned across a growing number of SDGs. Moreover, the core issue areas funded through employee matching gift programs closely align with the SDGs guiding corporate philanthropic strategies.
  • CAF America’s donors demonstrate an evolving trend in giving over the years. We experienced an increase in individual cross-border giving through the expansion of partnerships with online fundraising campaigns and leading DAF sponsoring organizations. Due to this expansion, we have seen a growing diversity in our donor base which has resulted in broader giving across all 17 SDGs over time.


For more information, please see the full report attached below. 

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Photo Credit: Unicef Ethiopia


The views expressed in the blog and the report attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.