SVCF corporate partners contributed $41M to the Sustainable Development Goals last year

SVCF is honored to collaborate with our corporate partners to facilitate philanthropy that advances the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Making grants through corporate advised funds (CAFs) is one of the many ways that SVCF enables its corporate donors to turn this ambitious vision for global sustainable development into a reality.

As the world’s largest community foundation, SVCF is proud to make grants to local, domestic, and international organizations. We recently conducted an analysis of more than 2,300 grants made in 2015 at the recommendation of 60 companies. Our goal was to assess the extent to which grants from CAFs have, intentionally or unintentionally, aligned with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

What are the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), unveiled in 2015, are a series of 17 goals intended to enhance lives of millions of individuals around the world by ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change. Modeled off the 2000-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs are focused on addressing the root causes of poverty and outline a roadmap for sustainable development. Last year, world leaders committed to achieving these goals by the year 2030 at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.

What is a corporate advised fund?

The corporate advised fund (CAF) is a charitable vehicle utilized by corporations to manage and disburse philanthropic capital. SVCF supports our donors in their philanthropic visions by helping corporate responsibility staff with strategy, grantmaking, program design and administration. Click here to learn more. 

What questions did we seek to answer?

  • Which SDGs receive the greatest levels of support from our corporate partners? 
  • Which SDGs receive less funding through our corporate advised funds?
  • How do these trends compare to other funders investing in the SDGs?
  • What are some considerations for our corporate clients?

What was our methodology for analyzing 2,300 grants?

Most of SVCF’s grants can be categorized under multiple SDGs. For example, a grant that will be used for transporting poor mothers in India to a school could fall under Gender Equality (#5), No Poverty (#1), Quality Education (#4), and Decent Work and Economic Growth (#8), to name a few. 

For the purposes of this analysis, we have categorized each grant under a single SDG based upon the purpose of the grant. For example, a grant for a school or college is labelled under #4, Quality Education; a grant for an afterschool program for physically or mentally disabled children would fall under #10, Reduced Inequality; and a grant to close the STEM gap between boys and girls would fall under #5, Gender Equality. 

We also looked at other studies that reviewed foundation giving data. One such study was conducted by SDGfunders group in collaboration with Foundation Center, which analyzed giving data for 1,000 U.S. foundations. It should be noted that the methodology for their analysis differs from ours in that SDGfunders group has “counted” the same grant under multiple categories where applicable. Regardless of the differing methodology, the proportion of grant funding per SDG across both the SDGfunders and SVCF CAF data sets remains comparable in many instances as noted in the chart on the right and the key findings.

Key Findings


View full-size graphic

Below are some key findings from our analysis which highlight the generosity of our corporate partners and the alignment of their 2015 CAF grants with the SDGs.

Top 5 SDGs by Percentage of 2015 SVCF CAF Grants:

  • Quality Education (37.6%)
  • Good Health and Well-Being (17.6%)
  • No Poverty (16.8%)
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (5.1%)
  • Zero Hunger (5%)

Top 5 SDGs by Average Grant Amount of 2015 SVCF CAF Grants:

  • Partnership for the Goals ($50K)
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure ($39K)
  • Affordable and Clean Energy ($31K)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth ($22K)

Comparing Grants of SDGfunders Analysis and SVCF 2015 CAF Analysis


SDG Funders
Top SDG by Average % of Grants
SVCF 2015 CAF Grants
Top SDG by Average % of Grants
Quality Education (37%) Quality Education (37.6%)
Good Health and Well-Being (32%) Good Health and Well-Being (17.6%)
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (11%) No Poverty (16.8%)
Sustainable Cities and Communities (9%) Sustainable Cities and Communities (5.1%)
Gender Equality (8%) Zero Hunger (5%)

Three Goals Receiving Lowest Proportion of SVCF 2015 CAF Grants:

  • Clean Water and Sanitation (<.1%)
  • Climate Acton (<.1%)
  • Life Below Water (.2%)

Moving Forward: Considerations for Corporate Funders

  • Collaborate with likeminded funders to accelerate progress on a particular goal, such as Quality Education. SVCF has experience facilitating such working groups or funding circles, and would be pleased to assist.
  • Consider investing in issues which are not receiving a large proportion of corporate funding. Issue areas such as climate action, clean water and sanitation, and clean energy are relevant both on a local and global scale. Additionally, there is an opportunity for corporate funders to demonstrate leadership to selected stakeholders by investing in these less common areas.
  • Utilize the SDGs as an exercise to revisit the strategy, goals and indicators for your CSR program. The U.N. has outlined 230 indicators to measure success across the 17 goals. Review these in the context of your program to assess applicability.

Options to Invest: SVCF Initiatives

Please contact us at to learn more about how SVCF can assist your company in making a meaningful contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.