Giving by U.S. foundations to international causes reached a record-high $5.4 billion in 2007, and is likely to increase in 2008, says a study by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations.
"International grantmaking is here to stay," Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center, says in a statement. "More U.S. foundations are spending more resources on international problems, challenges and opportunities than at any time in history."
International giving grew by more than 50 percent between 2002 and 2007, after adjusting for inflation, much faster than overall giving, which grew by 22.3 percent, says the study, "International Grantmaking IV."
Only seven in 100 foundations expected to reduce their international support in 2008, while close to half expected to increase their giving.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation accounted for more than half the increase in funding between 2002 and 2006.
During that time period, international support by community foundations more than doubled, jumping to $81 million from $29 million.
Giving related to health issues attracted the most international grant dollars, while funding for international development saw the greatest increase from 2002 to 2006.
The Foundation Center provides resources and training for nonprofits and foundations throughout the U.S. The Council on Foundations is a nonprofit membership association of more than 2,100 foundations worldwide.