Foundation Partnerships

" Work based on funding from foundations has defined my career. So I understand and appreciate the willingness of foundations to think outside the box; their readiness to take risks; and their ability to reach different audiences. I believe it’s critically important that the World Bank Group seeks to strengthen its relationship with foundations and other partners. "

Jim Young Kim

President, World Bank Group


For over 40 years, the World Bank Group has partnered with foundations to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. Today, we work with over 80 foundations across every region of the world to achieve our joint goals.  Our partnerships take on many different forms: consultations and exchanging knowledge; designing, implementing, and financing joint projects; pooling data; and sharing lessons learned and best practices. We work together on a diverse range of issues including: citizen engagement, climate change, early childhood development, education, financial inclusion, food security, health care, private sector investment, urban development, and women's empowerment. From 2008 to 2013, contributions from foundations to World Bank Group trust funds accounted for more than $1 billion, or 2% of the total World Bank Group budget. 

The Foundations Program works to develop strong relationships between the World Bank Group and foundations worldwide.  We serve as an entry point for foundations looking to learn more about the Bank Group’s strategies, priorities, programs, and operations, and as an institutional focal point for World Bank staff looking to engage with foundations.  For our foundation partners, we can act as a guide, helping to navigate through the complexities of the World Bank Group, and to engage and connect with appropriate people and units in the institution.  For Bank staff, we provide advice, make connections, and help integrate partnerships with foundations into the operational work of the Bank Group. 

Every year, the Foundations Program organizes a meeting of the Advisory Council on Foundations – a half day discussion between the President of the World Bank Group and the leaders of foundations from around the world.  The meeting is designed to be dynamic and action-oriented.  Priorities decided by the Council set the goals for the year and are integrated into the Foundations Program agenda.

Within the Bank Group, the Foundations Program brings together a network of key staff through the Foundations Working Group, to learn more about the work that foundations do, and to strengthen and broaden relationships with foundations. 

At the heart of the Foundations Program is a firm conviction that partnerships give our development work greater impact.  When we exchange research and expertise, share experiences and resources, we can bring more effective and lasting development solutions to poor people around the world.   



The World Bank Group recognizes the importance of partnering with foundations to deepen the impact of our work.  

Foundations bring innovation, agility, and have a structure and predisposition to pilot new and exciting ideas and to take risks.  Foundations often bring to partnerships a network of relationships at the local level, with extensive on-the-ground knowledge and experience. 

The World Bank Group brings global reach, with over 100 offices around the world, and expertise in a wide range of development topics.  Foundations benefit from the Bank Group’s strong research teams, producing world-class data and statistics, as well as the capacity to scale up pilot projects and the ability to leverage influence with governments to shape policy. 

When foundations and the World Bank Group work together and combine their strengths – exchanging research and expertise, sharing experiences and resources – we can achieve our best and most important work: effective and lasting development solutions for poor people around the world.   

Foundations work with the World Bank Group at the global, regional, and local levels. Some examples of our partnerships can be found below. 




Foundations Team

Featured Expert

Penelope Lewis

Head of Global Foundations Program