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United States First High-Income Pilot Country of SDG Philanthropy Platform

September 21, 2016

New York, NY—Today, the United States became the first high-income nation to join Kenya, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ghana as pilot countries in the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The global SDG Philanthropy Platform, managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Foundation Center, and UNDP, brings together foundations and philanthropists across the world to build partnerships between philanthropic organizations, the United Nations, governments, civil society, and business to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs, launched in September 2015, represent a historic global consensus about the shared responsibility that all nations have in achieving global development. They tackle 17 areas of development, including eradicating hunger and poverty, advancing environmental sustainability, reducing inequality, and improving education and health. The SDGs emerged from the U.N.’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were focused on human development between 2000 and 2015. The SDGs, in contrast, cover all dimensions of development – economic, social, and environmental. They are not just intended for developing countries, but all nations, both in their domestic policymaking as well as international aid.

With the ratification of the SDGs, high-income countries formally recognized that the goals are relevant at home. Coalitions and partnerships across North America and Europe have been exploring how the SDGs can be applied domestically, often, as in the case of the United States, led by philanthropy, which the Foundation Center estimates will contribute at least $364 billion towards implementation of the SDGs by 2030.

By being the first high-income country to pilot the SDG Philanthropy Platform, the United States recognizes the importance of ensuring philanthropy’s engagement in the domestic implementation of the SDGs and takes a leading role in shaping how the philanthropic sectors in high-income countries can support the SDGs and leverage the transformative power of cross-border collaboration and exchange of ideas. The United States has much to learn from the other four pilot countries as well as its own lessons and best practices to share to the benefit of all.

The Council on Foundations, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Foundation Center are collaborating to lead this work forward in the United States. Over the last year, the platform has hosted a series of nationwide convenings to discuss how domestic philanthropy could align its work within a global development framework. These events brought together leaders from all sectors—government, business, and nonprofit— with more than 150 foundations in Little Rock, San Francisco, and New York. “From Global Goals to Local Impact” is a report released in summer 2016 that uses case studies, interviews, and extensive research to outline how the new global development framework is universally applicable to the work of U.S. foundations and presents concrete ways in which funders can integrate the SDGs into domestic grantmaking.

“At the heart of the SDGs is the idea that all countries—including the U.S.—are in need of development. These global goals provide a framework for us all to follow to address and overcome the shared challenges facing our planet,” said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on foundations. “The SDGs also provide us the opportunity to break down barriers between countries and share the responsibility of building a better world. No one country has this all figured out, but if we work together and if philanthropy leads together, we will achieve these goals by 2030.

Heather Grady, Vice President at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, highlights the importance of philanthropy: “The Sustainable Development Goals represent nothing less than the world’s grand challenges, which we must urgently tackle together, and in entirely new ways. Many of the world’s greatest experts contributed to creating the 17 goals and their targets, so they are a roadmap for all of us. Philanthropy can and must be a key stakeholder in achieving them – and we are already seeing results from collaborations our Platform has engendered.”

As a pilot country of the SDG Philanthropy Platform, initiative partners have committed to hosting additional convenings across the United States, continuing to develop resources for American philanthropy to engage in the SDGs, and building awareness of the goals across the American philanthropic sector. The Platform’s website will also document how philanthropy is investing in the SDGs across the United States, between 2015 and 2030, ensuring effective data collection on the impact of philanthropy.

Follow the discussion on Twitter: #PhilSDGs and @PhilSDGs


About The Council on Foundations
The Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grant making foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

About The SDG Philanthropy Platform
The SDG Philanthropy Platform informs and catalyzes collaboration through building awareness and connections between those working in the philanthropy sector and beyond. Launched by the United Nations Development Program, Foundation Center, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in 2014, the Platform has brought together hundreds of foundations and philanthropists across many countries to create new partnerships to increase funding and create programs that will have greater, and more sustainable, impact on people’s lives. For more information, visit:

About the United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people around the world to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

About Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is a nonprofit organization that advises on and manages more than $200 million in annual giving by individuals, families, corporations, and major foundations. Founded in 2002 and continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy, RPA remains at the forefront of philanthropic growth and innovation, with a diverse team led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across the spectrum of issue areas. It has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to nearly 70 countries.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center’s website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.


Council on Foundations
Natalie Ross
Global Philanthropy Director
[email protected]
Karolina Mzyk Callias
Project Manager
[email protected]
Foundation Center
Lauren Bradford
Global Partnerships Director
[email protected]  
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Heather Grady
Vice President
[email protected]
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