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.There s a large gray area where the two kinds of motiva-tions and goals overlap.Countless foundations do immense good for soci-ety simply by writing checks to assist charities that labor day in and day outto help the poor, protect the environment, improve education, defend hu-man rights, and support other worthy goals.And this support often helpsorganizations that are working to bring about systemic social change.Thus,expressive giving may, in effect, be instrumental giving at second hand. 9781568487027-text:Layout 1 6/24/09 10:13 AM Page 85The Third Great Force: America s Civic Sector 85However, one aspect of the distinction between instrumental and ex-pressive giving is important in considering the work of foundations.When individuals make charitable donations, they are giving their ownmoney (even if we consider the donation as being partially defrayed byother taxpayers through the charitable contribution deduction).There-fore, it s enough for them that their gift expresses support for a goal orcause they admire; no further justification is required.However, a foun-dation is in a different situation, because the money distributed by its of-ficers and trustees is usually not their own money at all but wasaccumulated and provided by someone else.They cannot, therefore, re-sort to merely expressive giving with an easy conscience.If the donorhas established specific goals for the foundation (as is usually the case),the foundation s officers must think first about how to use their resourcesto make detectable progress toward those goals.They should fall back onexpressive giving only when direct impact is impossible.This logic doesn t apply only to the largest foundations.If smallerfoundations so choose, they can be just as strategic about mission andgoal selection, and can have just as great an impact through strategicguidance, business planning help, and crucial contacts.The dynamicgrowth over the past ten years of the Grantmakers for Effective Organ-izations, which is another one of the cases, is composed of representativesof those foundations particularly interested in increasing the effectivenessof foundation grants through focusing on strategy, assessment, and meas-urement.This reveals the extent to which many foundations have cometo understand the importance to nonprofits of such infrastructurestrengthening and management assistance.25Strategic impact, then, is predicated not on size but on intention anddiscipline.Many smaller foundations have proven remarkably adept atfocusing their energies and resources on creating a significant beneficialimpact on operating nonprofits and American society as a whole.THE VARIETY OF AMERICAN FOUNDATIONSIn 2007, about 72,000 foundations of all kinds existed in the UnitedStates, controlling estimated assets of nearly $670 billion and makingannual grants totaling $42.9 billion.26 Most of these foundations aresmall and unstaffed, but a few are very large and powerful by national 9781568487027-text:Layout 1 6/24/09 10:13 AM Page 8686 the foundationand global standards.In 2006, 62 foundations had assets of over $1 bil-lion, while another 208 had assets between $250 million and $1 billion.Fully 71 percent of all foundation assets were controlled by just 2 per-cent of foundations.27In addition to the private foundations, there are about seven hundredcommunity foundations holding approximately $50 billion in assets, ofwhich a significant percentage is in donor-advised funds.There are alsowhat are termed  supporting organizations, which are adjuncts to other501(c)(3) public charities or educational institutions.28 Both the donor-advised funds, whether in community foundations or financial institu-tions, and the three types of supporting organizations function verymuch like private foundations.But the differences among foundations involve much more than size.During my work with foundations in the United States and abroad overthe past forty-five years, I can t recall encountering any two foundationsthat were exactly alike.Every foundation is sui generis, each reflecting thepersonalities, values, goals, and talents of the key people behind it, in-cluding the donor, significant trustees, and the major program officers.Over time, the decisions made by these individuals shape the distinctiveculture of a foundation, just as the identity of a person is shaped by hisor her decisions over a lifetime.That culture shapes everything about a particular foundation, fromthe way it makes decisions to its relations with the external world.Evenfoundations with similar program focuses have important cultural dif-ferences that affect their behavior.For example, although several foun-dations share an historic commitment to medicine and health services,each approaches the field differently.The Kaiser Family Foundation, forexample, has a narrow focus on health coverage for the uninsured, espe-cially vulnerable populations, while the Commonwealth Fund has abroader reach toward improving the functioning of health financing forthe entire population.The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a verywide range of interests that include major efforts to counter tobacco useand obesity.Ideological differences also shape foundation cultures.Somefoundations are unabashedly liberal, others strongly conservative, stillothers resolutely centrist.Programming decisions and operationalchoices reflect these orientations. 9781568487027-text:Layout 1 6/24/09 10:13 AM Page 87The Third Great Force: America s Civic Sector 87Another variation among foundations involves risk tolerance.Whilefew foundations undertake explicit risk analyses as a formal part of theirstrategy and grantmaking processes, all have implicit risk strategies thatshape their daily decisions.Some foundations revel in their willingnessto take risks, such as the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bill and MelindaGates Foundation, as reflected in their readiness to support projects withminimal chances of success as well as projects that are likely to arousecontroversy.Others shun such risks.Foundations also have widely varying decision-making processes.Atmost foundations, the trustees take action on individual grants, while atothers, such as the Ford Foundation, the trustees simply approve over-all program budgets and leave final decisions on individual grants to thesenior managers.At some foundations, grants are always proposed bytrustees, while at most foundations, program staff take the initiative.And at many foundations, grants proposed by the staff are routinely ap-proved by trustees, while at others especially family foundationstrustee decisions are unpredictable.In short, foundations differ markedly from one another.Thus, theycontribute distinctively to that characteristically American system of di-verse polyarchy that we referred to in our introduction encouragingand supporting the growth of thousands of alternative models of socialchange and progress.Under the circumstances, generalizing about so di-verse an array of institutions is obviously dangerous [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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