Private foundations and their global health grant-making patterns

A rapid analysis of the Rockefeller Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Private foundations play an increasingly important and influential role in global health; however, this role has been poorly monitored and largely unevaluated, prompting calls for greater accountability. At a minimum level, clear information should be provided about their grant-making activities. We describe the global health granting patterns of three private foundations: the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), the Wellcome Trust (WT), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), using data publicly available on their websites, for the years 2018 – 2020.

The BMGF is the largest private funder of global health; the RF is a pioneer foundation  that played a dominant role in global health between the two world wars; and the WT is one of the largest philanthropic funders of clinical research. For each foundation we describe the amount of money granted, which organisation types received funding and their locations, the top-twenty biggest grants and the top-twenty biggest recipients of grant funding.

By Emer Breen and Ramya Kumar

Published by Global Policy Forum Europe

Bonn, October 2023