Foundations Bring Philanthropy, Know-How, Vision — World Bank Org

Photos: The World Bank


  • More than 80 foundations partner with the World Bank Group on initiatives ranging from tuberculosis treatment to preserving the Amazon.
  • Foundations contributed $1 billion — about 2% of the total budget — to Bank-managed trust funds between FY08 and FY13, and their impact goes well beyond funding.
  • The Bank Group wants to work closely with foundations on climate change, social accountability, and other issues.

The topic: climate change. Around the table: representatives of some of the world’s top philanthropic foundations and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

They met at the World Bank in Washington earlier this month to look for ways to work together on one of today’s most pressing issues – how to stop the Earth from warming to the point where millions of people, rich and poor, will be threatened by extreme weather, rising seas, and declining agricultural yields.

Despite the scale of the problem, no global plan exists that is equal to the task, said Kim. The level of scientific research needed for solutions is “not even close.” There is a “tremendous lack” of financing.

“Something is not quite clicking … What will it take to rise to the challenge?” he asked.

The question brought a flurry of comments and ideas, some already in play. Among them, helping cities, where 75% of the world’s population will live, and which will produce 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

This month, the Rockefeller Foundation announced its 100 Resilient Cities initiative, a $100 million effort to build disaster resilience in cities around the world.  The foundation, celebrating its centennial anniversary, helped New Orleans recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and led the New York resilience commission after Superstorm Sandy. Its Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network addresses climate change vulnerabilities and urban issues. The new initiative will give 100 cities access to the latest best practices and help them develop and implement a disaster resilience strategy.


More than 80 foundations partner with the Bank on initiatives, such as one with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation providing care to millions of tuberculosis patients, or with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to measure the quality of health and education services. Another with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has contributed to a 63% increase in protected area of the Amazon forest.

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