In proportion to its GDP, the Netherlands has more wealth in charitable foundations than any other nation in the world, according to The Global Philanthropy Report by the Harvard Kennedy School; Switzerland is #2.
By the numbers: Overall, U.S. philanthropies are the wealthiest, with $890 billion in assets. But as a share of GDP, the Netherlands and Switzerland each have substantially more invested in charities than the U.S. or anywhere else.
- On average, U.S. foundations spend a greater share of their assets than either Switzerland or the Netherlands — 9%, according to the report. This "spend rate" highlights the share of foundations' money that has the potential of making more immediate social impacts.
- American charitable foundations spend a lower percentage of their wealth than foundations in countries like Spain and France, which on average spend about a third of their philanthropic assets on their social programs, grants, administrative costs and supporting third parties.
Our thought bubble, per Axios’ Felix Salmon: In countries like Canada and Ireland that have robust social safety nets, the need for permanent philanthropic capital is lower — which could be why foundations in those nations have less in assets.
The big picture: The study found that philanthropy is on the rise around the world, thanks in part to global economic growth. And more than 90% of charitable spending worldwide comes from European and U.S. foundations.