A word from FGM, August 2022

In 2022, according to the World Bank, about 630 billion U.S. dollars[1] will be transferred by members of various diasporas across the planet back to their countries of origin. If that estimate turns out to be accurate, this cross-border aggregate will have made a 30% leap just since 2018. That year, in Canada, these monetary transfers totalled nearly 25B$, which is more than five times the amount of foreign aid allocated by Canada to foreign countries[2].

In fact, in terms of financial flows to other countries, Canada ranks, depending on the measurement, third in the world (in dollars) or fourth (in percentage of gross national income). Therefore, we are talking about a substantial economic activity with a large impact. These amounts are often, as well, a significant part of GDP for the recipient countries. The World Bank estimates for example that in 2022, 54% of Lebanon’s economy will be sustained by transfers coming from abroad. Elsewhere, in Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, this proportion can reach a quarter or even a third of GDP.[3]

Of course, the bulk of these amounts is directed to the families and loved ones of those who have emigrated, to bolster their incomes and help them provide for essential needs. Nonetheless, we are also talking about a type of philanthropy here, one that indirectly funds – more often than we realize – health, education or community and social development services in the recipient countries. One way or another, these funds ultimately help meet a multitude of societal challenges, both locally and globally. And this is happening more and more often.

A culture of giving in evolution

Many researchers say these financial flows – which correspond to migratory flows around the world – will continue to steadily increase. New technologies make such exchanges much easier and cheaper than they were just a few decades ago. As well, in most of the wealthy countries where the members of these diasporas have settled, buying power and disposable income tend to increase over time. Last but not least, new types of organizations and updated giving structures have come into being, often driven by young people and second-generation immigrants. These vehicles blend their creators’ desire to help and their know-how with a culture of giving passed down by their parents and their communities of origin.

We also know, thanks to a recent survey carried out by the firm Épisode, that the percentage of immigrants who make donations in Canada equals that of native Canadians, and that their average annual gifts are actually higher[4]. Despite that, their contributions are often overlooked. Why is that?

Read the next part of this post, “Rethinking philanthropy within racialized communities”.

Linda Tchombé
Director of Philanthropic Development
Foundation of Greater Montréal

[1] Migration and Development Brief #36, World Bank Group, May 2022.
[2] Global Philanthropy Tracker, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 2020.
[3] Migration and Development Brief #36, World Bank Group, May 2022.
[4] Mise au point philanthropique au Québec, Épisode philanthropie & investissement communautaire, 2021.

FGM’s Stories of the Month

August 2022

Rethinking philanthropy within racialized communities

Read the next part of this post from the Foundation’s Director of Philanthropic Development, Linda Tchombé, to learn more about philanthropy within immigrant and racialized communities.

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