Foundations are an essential part of our society and our economy. They control billions in assets and award billions in grants. They are an integral part of civil society.
But foundations are also notoriously idiosyncratic, with different missions, methods, and practices. Although diversity is generally positive, in this case it creates a costly, inefficient, and unresponsive grantmaking process that blunts the philanthropic sector's total impact.
A Guide to Good Practices in Foundation Operations suggests ways foundations can eliminate inefficiencies while retaining the qualities that make them unique:
- Be transparent to the public
- Be rigorous—but remain respectful of your applicants
- Be responsive to your constituents
- Be proactive about diversity, equity, and inclusion