Foundation Transparency: Opacity — It’s Complicated

FavoriteThis article examines transparent and opaque practice in private philanthropy, studying the literature as well as findings from interviews with foundation staff, trustees, and grantees that sought answers to two relevant questions: Does opacity exist in private philanthropy? Have foundations and grantees developed strategies for overcoming challenges related to opacity? 

Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency

FavoriteCEP analyzed survey data from 145 foundation CEOs and more than 15,000 grantees and systematically reviewed more than 70 foundation websites. This report reveals that funders see grantees as the primary audiences for their transparency efforts, and both foundations and grantees believe transparency about the substance of foundation work, rather than about financial disclosures or governance, matters most to effectiveness.

When is transparency a really bad idea?

FavoriteFashions in philanthropy can be every bit as startling as the catwalk: evaluation methods and grantmaking approaches change as fast as hemlines. But one fashion that is probably here to stay (a bit like men’s suits) is transparency, which makes it worth taking a longer look at. Transparency for funders is a helpful idea, but it’s not a panacea. If private foundations and grantmakers think it is, then their attempts to bring a measure of sunlight to a sector shrouded in mist are likely to fail or, much worse, do damage. We need to recognize that glass-pocket principles need to be Read more

Assessing and Advancing Foundation Transparency: Corporate Foundations as a Case Study

FavoriteThis article explores the mix of forces, such as a six-drivers framework, a tool for assessing foundation transparency internationally, and implications for foundation practitioners follow, which explain variability in good-governance standards and practices by charitable foundations.  

Achieving Foundation Accountability and Transparency: Lessons From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scorecard

FavoriteThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shares what they learned from developing their Scorecard. Comparative and quantitative measures were found to be the most powerful forces to motivate change.