Research Outline

Silicon Valley Community Foundation - International Giving


To determine what percentage of Silicon Valley Community Foundation's giving goes to international charities and NGOs. Also, you will like to know how much it costs SVCF to perform equivalency determinations per case and their total outlay on EDs per year.

Early Findings

  • In 2019, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) donated $82 million in international grants to 72 countries around the world.
  • In the same year, SVCF gave charities and NGOs in the United States grants totaling $620 million; this is excluding charities in California.
  • Charities in California - excluding charities in the Bay Area - received $80.7 million in 2019, while Bay Area charities - excluding San Mateo and Santa Clara charities - received $302 million in grants.
  • Lastly, charities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties received grants totaling $177 million in 2019.
  • This puts the total grants disbursed by SVCF at $1.262 billion (sum of the above grants). Therefore, the percentage of giving that is international is 6.5% (($82 million/$1.262 billion) * 100).
  • According to the 2018 IRS Form 990 filing (the latest available), the "total number of recipient organizations listed above that are recognized as charities by the foreign country, recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS, or for which the grantee or counsel has provided a section 501(c)(3) equivalency letter" were 10.
  • According to NGOsource, the " traditional equivalency determination (ED) process is often costly and inconsistent. Differences from grantmaker to grantmaker can result in incompatible or subjective results; costs can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per ED if the grantmaker uses outside counsel."
  • Therefore, even if SVCF uses an outside counsel for the ED, it spent at most $100,000 and at least $50,000 on equivalency determination in 2018 using the number of international organizations that SVCF received an equivalency letter from.

Summary of Findings

The preliminary research has provided answers to the percentage of SVCF's giving that is international. Our perusal of SVCF's website, IRS Form 990, and the annual report shows that details on the charity's costs or donors estimated costs per equivalency determination (ED) and the total spend on ED per year may not be publicly available. However, using separate data points and industry ED costs estimates, the research team provided an estimated figure for SVCF's spend on equivalency determination.