Nine per cent of all spending by independent foundations in the UK went to international development causes in 2009/10, according to new research by Cass Business School.
Global Grantmaking: A Review of UK Foundations' Funding for International Development, which will be published in November, analyses the spending of 90 independent UK foundations that gave more than £50,000 each to international development and related causes in 2009/10.
Their overall charitable spending accounted for 74 per cent of the spending of all independent UK foundations.
The report says that independent foundations gave £290m to international development and related causes in 2009/10. This was 9 per cent of the spending of all independent UK foundations, which spent just over £3bn each year in grants.
It says that 37 per cent of foundations funded causes in Africa, the highest proportion, followed by Asia with 23 per cent and the Americas with 13 per cent.
No comparable figures for previous years are available.
Cathy Pharoah, author of the report, said its findings showed that UK foundations were playing an increasing role in shaping civil society in developing countries.
"But the research highlights the big questions facing independent foundations too – how much of their relatively limited resources should be devoted to international need?" she said. "What is their role within the bigger picture of governmental and private aid to developing countries?"