Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. I. INTRODUCTION AND STATEMENT OF PROBLEM


Each year, Americans donate roughly $300 billion to charitable organizations, which supports private philanthropic work domestically and overseas (Kaplan 2007). This work supported by the private sector sometimes intentionally dovetails with United States government (USG) efforts, while at other times both public and private funds are devoted to similar tasks with little or no coordination between funders. In an environment of increasingly urgent international challenges and finite public and private resources, there is a compelling policy interest in better understanding the interactions between the two sectors efforts and learning how to promote more effective collaboration.

Responding to this compelling interest, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to undertake the study, Maximizing Federal and Private Philanthropic Spending At Home and Around the World. The study is comprised of three major tasks: (1) a review of data on domestic and international philanthropic grantmaking and USG aid spending; (2) a review of literature on the development of such initiatives by and the shape of interactions between USG agencies and philanthropic entities; and (3) case studies of up to 10 of these organizations or initiatives. The study will examine U.S.-based private philanthropic foundations and those USG agencies most involved in foreign and domestic aid initiatives, focusing primarily on health and social services efforts.

This review of literature synthesizes the current state of knowledge about USG-foundation planning and interaction and lays the groundwork for the in-depth case studies that will follow in the subsequent tasks. [1] Given the relative importance ASPE placed on international efforts, the literature review focuses heavily on international organizations and initiatives. Domestic efforts are addressed to the extent that these can enhance the understanding of a given issue or provide useful examples. Similarly, efforts in the health sector are given priority, although not to the exclusion of other social services.

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