The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) examined the perspectives of foundation CEOs and learned that there is much agreement on the audiences for their transparency efforts. Foundation CEOs also agree about what they believe is the most important information to share with those audiences.
Foundation CEOs’ views on transparency, which largely match those of grantees, focus on the substance of their work, as opposed to financial disclosures or governance practices. However, foundation practice lags behind CEOs’ beliefs, especially in the area of sharing information about what works.
Those who view transparency as unequivocally positive argue that transparency allows foundations to gain public trust. Enhanced credibility is seen as a potential benefit of sharing information, especially if foundations talk about their failures and not just their successes. Sharing information can also enable foundations working on the same issues to learn from one another, resulting in fewer mistakes and less waste.
Some argue that by not being more transparent about lessons learned, “Foundations collectively are missing an important opportunity to improve the design and implementation of their social investments.”
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What are the main takeaways or key points from this resource?:
By not being more transparent about lessons learned, “Foundations collectively are missing an important opportunity to improve the design and implementation of their social investments."
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Ellie Buteau, Ph.D., Jennifer Glickman, Matthew Leiwant, and Charis Loh
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