Progress Under Foreign Assistance Cuts – Can private philanthropy rescue innovation?


By Colleen Gregerson, Managing Director, Maverick Collective/PSI

The President’s 2018 budget to Congress proposed a 28.5% reduction in funding to the foreign aid. The impact of such cuts will result in lives lost, security compromised and reduced diplomatic clout.

I am also worried about the impact on innovation.

When sequestration took hold in the U.S. in 2013, the impact on innovation as federal budgets were cut led to historic lows in global health research and development.  Some examples of innovation on the chopping block included 1300 fewer research grants made by the National Institutes of Health and a permanent stop on an Ebola vaccine candidate, which meant we did not have this tool on hand when the disease broke out in 2014 killing more than 11,000 people.

Last September, the global community agreed to the most ambitious development targets we’ve seen: the Sustainable Development Goals. Many of these goals require innovation to solve social issues sustainably and to empower markets, communities and governments, reducing their dependency on aid.

Business as usual simply won’t work.


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