International granting: 6 answers to questions you didn’t know you had

NCF givers have been giving to causes all around the world for years, but only through charities with offices in the US. What if you wanted to give to a charity that was based in Honduras or to a missionary team doing rescue work in Mozambique … or Yemen? Now, international granting is possible, too, through our collaboration with TrustBridge Global.

By Joanne Chen Youn, TrustBridge Global

I recently returned from a trip to the Middle East and Asia with TrustBridge Global, a network of foundations with member offices around the world. As I met with potential givers, many of them had questions about international granting. You may too. Despite the recent proliferation of quantitative and qualitative data on the topic of direct international giving, I believe that there are still a great number of givers and their families who have never considered it a viable option.

If you are new to international granting, here are six answers to questions you may not have thought to ask about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of this exciting and burgeoning area of philanthropy.

What is international granting?

Many people, perhaps through their experience with a domestic donor-advised fund (like NCF’s Giving Fund), are already familiar with the model that TrustBridge offers internationally. While it is only one method of international granting, a donor‐advised fund (DAF) provides givers with a centralized charitable account. It allows givers to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants from the fund over time. In this way, a donor-advised fund acts as a charitable savings account. Givers contribute to their funds via cash, cash equivalents, securities, or other assets, as frequently as they like, and then recommend grants to qualifying charities of their choice.

Those who already have a Giving Fund can recommend a grant to TrustBridge Global Foundation, indicate the amount, and then specify in the instructions where they would like the money to go internationally. NCF works together with TrustBridge to get the money to the charity you recommend.

In the face of a variety of legal systems and an alphabet soup of regulations from AML (Anti-Money Laundering) to SDN (Specially Designated Nationals), TrustBridge does the hard work of reviewing grant recommendations to ensure that each recommendation is in accordance with donor‐advised fund guidelines, local charity rules, and the overall purpose of the sponsoring organization. Once approved, the funds are paid via check posted through the mail, or transferred electronically, depending on the DAF, the needs of the charity, or the giver’s request.

Who can give?

One of the most exciting aspects of granting through a DAF is the fact that it allows everyday givers to engage in activities previously associated only with ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and international granting is no different in this respect. Our fee model is structured to make sense for any giver wishing to make an initial contribution of $10,000 or more.

Why give internationally?

Because global giving has traditionally been difficult and expensive, the flow of giving is a mere trickle, compared to what it could be. We believe that radically improving cross-border giving will change the world by allowing more resources to flow to the areas of the world that need it the most. By working through its large network of global members, TrustBridge can efficiently and effectively move assets around the world; and yet, it is important that it not be mistaken simply as a banking platform. TrustBridge network members serve business owners and families in their local communities, helping with their giving, nurturing their journey of generosity, and developing community and collaboration around giving – ultimately growing the volume of giving.

By growing global generosity, organizations like TrustBridge create better lives for both givers and their charitable beneficiaries. A transformational message of global generosity underlies, and is underscored throughout, all of TrustBridge’s activities.

When is the right time to consider making an international grant?

You may also be pleasantly surprised to learn that international grantmaking is not only about making international grants. There is an increasing demographic of givers who choose to use the funds allocated to the donor-advised platform to make loans or investments in private companies, venture funds, or nonprofits working toward achieving spiritual and social, as well as financial impact. This impact investing allows such funds to be fully utilized, even before they are made available as grants to qualifying charities.

Where can I give internationally?

TrustBridge is working to build a truly global charitable platform to facilitate fast, efficient, and easy giving and mission-related investing. Its growing network of like-minded charities and foundations are in countries all over the world, including the US, Canada, the U.K., South Africa, Australia, and more. As our network grows, our ability to give, locally or anywhere around the world, grows as well.

How do I get started?

Since starting in 2017, TrustBridge has given more than $50M in grants to 50 plus countries on six continents, and received even more in contributions that can be invested and grown prior to their granting.

Our team of bankers, tax specialists, legal experts, and philanthropy advisors provide an exceptional group of experienced professionals who bring together world-class expertise in finance and cross-border giving. We continue to pursue strategic partnerships with leading global banks and technology providers to deliver a seamless, end-to-end philanthropy solution. We look forward to hearing how we can help you manage and deploy your charitable giving to all corners of the world.

Read more about international granting.

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