Enabling Environment
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Enabling Environment for Philanthropy

Worldwide, philanthropy is facing a concerning trend as civil society organizations deal with heightened control and excessive, unwarranted restrictions on funding, both locally and internationally. In the domestic arena, barriers on the ability of civil society organizations to incorporate, operate and receive funding are pervasive in far too many locations. With respect to the international context, over the past several years, dozens of countries have adopted new laws and regulations that hinder cross-border funding, often under the guise of protecting security or preserving sovereignty. As a consequence, grantmakers and the groups they seek to support are faced with additional, onerous obstacles and administrative requirements or, worse yet, outright bans on the receipt of foreign funding by civil society organizations (or other non-profit groups). Indeed, as grantmakers face increasing impediments to supporting civil society, this growing trend has profound implications for philanthropy infrastructure organizations.

Latest News

China passes law imposing security controls on foreign NGOs, The Guardian, April 28th, 2016.

China Development Brief provides a translation on China's new laws on overseas NGO, China Development Brief, May 3rd, 2016.

Our Background Paper

Make sure you download our background paper on the enabling environment here.

Recommended Reading

Ariadne and EFC, Challenging the Closing Space for Civil Society. View here. 

Civicus, The State of Civil Society Report Executive Summary. View here.


Civicus, The Year in Review - State of Civil Society Report. View here.


Hudson Institute, The Index of Philanthropic Freedom - Selected Country Reports. View here. 


Further Reading

1) Breen, Dr, Oonagh B., Allies or Adversaries? Foundation Responses to Government Policing of Cross-Border Charity. View here.

2) Carothers, Thomas and Brechenmacher, Saskia, Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire. View here.

3) Council on Foundations, Legal Framework for Global Philanthropy: Barriers and Opportunities. View here.

4) Hudson Institute, The Index of Philanthropic Freedom 2015. View here.

5) Ibrahim, Barbara. State, Public Space, and Cross-Border Philanthropy: Observations from the Arab Transitions. View here. 

6) Philanthropy Impact Magazine, International Giving: Issues Related to Cross Border Giving. View here. 

7) Piechota, Dr. Grazyna, Legislation on Financing Public Benefit Activities from Tax Designation in Poland. View here. 

8) Protection International, Criminalisation of Human Rights Defenders. View here. 

9) Rutzen, Douglas, Aid Barriers and the Rise of Philanthropic Protectionism. View here.

10) Rutzen, Douglas. Civil Society Under Assault. View here.

11) UNDP, Unleasing the Potential of Philanthropy in China. View here.

12) UN General Assembly, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of assocation. View here.

From the WINGS Network

Karolina Mzyk Callias, UNDP's Project Manager for the SDG Philanthropy Forum shared her thoughts on the International Meeting on the Enabling Environment for Philanthropy in Lisbon, which you can find here:


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