This issue spans the range from reporting results of a quantitative evaluation to a discussion of broad approaches to philanthropy.
Giving days have been increasing in popularity in recent years. Bingle present the results of a rigorous evaluation of one community foundation’s role in their local giving day. Despite significant challenges with the technology, he found that the day was generally successful and that giving days are not crowding out donations at other times of the year. Research on the trade-offs involved in different approaches to fundraising for community foundations is much needed and should have direct application for community foundation development staff.
In another piece of research with direct application, Kim, Honeycutt, and Morzuch report on the evaluation of a community leadership program that provides training in collaborative leadership. They suggest that interdependent leadership skills are important in community coalitions and can be taught.
Foundations often argue that much of the important work they support cannot be evaluated.
Collado, Gerlach, Ticse, and Hempstead highlight the findings of an 18-month pilot project conducted to better understand the impact of research grants. They suggest several tools that can be used to assess the impact of policy-relevant research.
Foundations have been described as black boxes — implying that we know very little about what happens between inputs and outputs. Stewart used semi-structured interviews to explore how foun- dations approached grantmaking. Deepening the understanding the motivations and adaptations of foundation strategies helps explain the collective work of the sector.
Carpenter responds to the questions of whether philanthropy is a profession. Based on a literature review and findings from a survey of 500 members of the Council on Foundations, she offers evidence that philanthropic work requires specialized education and training to master a set of core competencies. The existence of this journal is an argument in favor of philanthropy being a profession. While she does not reach a firm conclusion, she does suggest that the stance one takes on this has implications for how people enter and progress through a career in philanthropy.
Porter, James, Medina, and Chow explore why some funder collaborations flourish and others flounder. Reflecting on their experiences, they conclude that these collaborations work best when participants recognize key milestones in a partnership and make decisions at distinguishing stages to set up success. Reflecting on the process as the collaboration develops is a key to long-term success.
As philanthropy struggles to determine its role in combatting systemic racism, understanding equity within its own institutions is a key step in the struggle. Young, Love, Csuti, and King describe the efforts of three foundations in various stages of seeing themselves through an equity lens. Their insights can help inform other foundations who have committed to working toward equity.
While acknowledging that the philanthropic sector is already replete with descriptions of different approaches, Giloth argues for embracing generative philanthropy as a collaborative, incremental, and decentralized approach to investment in communities. He offers examples of the approach related to economic opportunity, and draws lessons for future practice.
We wrap up this issue with Garton’s review of Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving by Michael Moody and Sharna Goldseker.
As we finish our ninth volume, I want to thank the many people who make this journal possible, especially the many reviewers who have given their time and talent to provide constructive feedback to the authors. We couldn’t do this without you and your service to the field is appreciated!
Teresa R. Behrens, Ph.D.
Editor in Chief, The Foundation Review
Director, Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning,
Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University