Philanthropic Responsiveness: An Informed Governance Model for Decision-making

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Presented at the 61st annual Western Social Science Association, (WSSA)

Link to Program: https://www.wssaweb.com/documents/archive/2019_Conference_Abstracts_Official_2019-05-31.pdf

Philanthropic organizations contribute to important work that solves complex problems to strengthen communities. Many of these organizations are moving toward engaging in public policy work, in addition to funding programs. This paper raises questions of legitimacy for organized philanthropy (i.e., philanthropic foundations in a pluralistic democracy. Philanthropic literature has focused on criticism relating to accountability and transparency in relation to the criticisms surrounding philanthropy as a legitimate actor in the public policy arena. Kraeger, in this paper expands the model to shift from accountability to responsiveness and community participation. Communities are defined and expanded beyond grant-recipients. Kraeger argues that organized philanthropy should seek be responsive to communities in developing a public policy agenda that is meaningful for community change. This paper suggests a new paradigm, called philanthropic responsiveness as governance model, which does not suggest shared governance but informed governance in decision-making. The Philanthropic Responsiveness Model can be empirically tested and used as a governance tool.


61st annual Western Social Science Association, (WSSA)


San Diego, California

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