I’m delighted to announce the publication of a new report, a joint effort by the Kettering Foundation and Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE), of which I am the author. Philanthropy and the Limits of Accountability: A Relationship of Respect and Clarity explores how the field of organized philanthropy might think about responding to a growing movement for accountability and transparency.
The report is available as a free PDF download from PACE, where the paper is described like this: “The paper grew out of a conversation we began with PACE members over year ago about how the issues of transparency and accountability might soon impact the field of philanthropy. PACE and Kettering convened three roundtables of philanthropic and non-profit leaders, and talked to dozens more one-on-one. This report is a distillation of what we heard and the issues that were raised.”
I am proud to have worked on this important research. An early preview of our findings, published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy a few weeks ago in an article by me and PACE executive director Chris Gates, outlines the main points:
- Philanthropy is at a crossroads as it experiences increased pressure from all sides to solve public problems and to be more accountable for outcomes.
- Transparency may be a necessary component of accountability, but it is not sufficient and too often may be obfuscating.
- Strategic philanthropy may paradoxically tend to make philanthropic organizations seem less accountable and more risk averse.
- Accountability isn’t just about data transparency. It’s also about relationships.