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Topical Resource Lists for Grantmakers

Transparency and Accountability: A Topical Resource List

With the recent launch of Glasspockets, the Foundation Center and its partners are working to inspire grantmakers to greater openness in their communications as well as and increase the understanding of best practices in transparency and accountability in the online world. These additional resources explore various aspects of the topic:

Bare, John. "Philanthropy, Evaluation, Accountability, and Social Change." The Foundation Review, vol. 1 (Issue 4, 2010): p. 84-104.
The author argues that reliance on typical accountability tools, such as the timely filing of 990s and other standard utilities of compliance, may overlook more robust approaches to social change.

Davies, Sarah. "The Case for Transparency in Philanthropy." Australian Philanthropy, vol. 79 (Spring 2011): p. 6-8.
Article looks at the role of openness in philanthropy, and tries to build the case for it by examining the principles of communications planning. Argues that there are a minimum of three reasons why private trusts and foundations should be transparent: to be authentic in demonstrating core values, to share knowledge and learning for public benefit, and for public accountability due to favorable tax treatment.

Exploring Transparency and Accountability Regulation of Public-Benefit Foundations in Europe. Brussels, Belgium: European Foundation Centre, 2011.
In this study, the European Foundation Centre and Donors and Foundations Networks In Europe compare and map regulatory frameworks and self-regulatory tools that shape the transparency and accountability of European foundations. It also examines the effectiveness of these mechanisms, discusses the rationale for regulation, and offers recommendations. Available online.

Fleishman, Joel L. The Foundation: a Great American Secret--How Private Wealth is Changing the World. New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2007.
Fleishman's study is based on interviews with senior officers or trustees at approximately 100 of the largest U.S. foundations. In the chapter "What Ails the Foundations: Transparency and Accountability" he turns his attention to two issues that are paramount in the field.

Foundation Communications Today: Findings From the 2011 Survey of Foundation Communications Professionals. Naperville, IL: Communications Network, 2011.
Features findings of a survey of 155 foundation communications professionals who discuss new media, strategies and planning, transparency, and communicating about failure.

"Foundations and Legitimacy." Effect, vol. 5 (Autumn 2011): p. 9-23.
Contains the following articles: "The Parameters of Legitimacy," "Embracing the Scrutiny of the Crowd," "Foundation Leaders Gather to Discuss Legitimacy," "Will Transparency Tame the Tiger?," "EFC and DAFNE Tackle Transparency and Accountability in Landmark Study," "The 'Gatesway' to Foundation Accountability," and "Legitimacy Issues Around the World." Available online.

Michaels, Marty. "Finding Their Voice: Grant Makers Seek New Ways to Share Stories." Chronicle of Philanthropy, vol. 20 (1 May 2008): p. 7, 10, 12.
Discusses how foundations are improving the ways in which they educate the public about what they do and how they operate. Some foundations have expanded their communications departments in an effort to improve outreach efforts, and many are embracing Web 2.0 technologies as a way to reach a larger audience.

Ogden, Timothy. "How Much Difference is it Making?." Alliance, vol. 16 (September 2011): p. 29-31.
Looks at how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which outstrips the resources, scope and spending of every other foundation today, is becoming the new exemplar of what a foundation is. Discusses the foundation's efforts to increase its openness and accountability.
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