A HALF BILLION DOLLARS ADDING UP TO SMALL CHANGE: THE PROMISES AND PITFALLS OF CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY TO SUPPORT GLOBAL EDUCATION
van Fleet, Justin William
Klees, Steven J
MetadataShow full item record
At the start of the 21st century, the international community pledged an increase in volume, predictability, and coordination of external financing and monitoring for Education for All goals. Yet despite, this commitment, the global community has fallen far short of mobilizing enough resources to finance basic education for all children by 2015. Estimates support an approximate $16.2 billion in external resources needed to achieve basic education goals; the estimate increases to $25 billion if lower secondary schooling in also included. This study examines the role of U.S. corporate philanthropy to support education in developing countries. The purpose is to map the volume and focus of U.S. corporate philanthropy directed to education in developing countries, highlighting the scope and the limitations of corporate resources for realizing global education goals. The study used a mix-method design combining quantitative and qualitative survey data with qualitative interview data to answer two questions: 1. What is the volume and focus of U.S. corporate philanthropy directed toward education in developing countries? 2. How do corporate contributions to education in developing countries align with the private interests of corporations? This study finds that U.S. companies give a half billion dollars in contributions to education in developing countries annually, spanning multiple themes and targeting over 100 countries. Contributions focus heavily on emerging economies and do not target countries in most need. Additionally, U.S. companies have a variety of business motivations that drive the contributions to education in developing countries. Despite the unique assets of corporate philanthropy which make it an interesting source of financing, there are several limitations and critiques of these contributions. The contributions are typically small, short-term grants to non-profits and very few companies coordinate with governments, donors or other corporate philanthropists. There are also contradictions in the way philanthropy is conducted and tensions between the role of government and corporate resources for education. The study concludes that while corporate philanthropy in its current form may not be an effective source of sustainable financing for education in developing countries, several modifications can be made to improve its effectiveness as a global education financing partner.