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The Foundation Review

2015

Alignment

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A Foundation's Theory Of Philanthropy: What It Is, What It Provides, How To Do It, Michael Quinn Patton, Nathaniel Foote, James Radner Dec 2015

A Foundation's Theory Of Philanthropy: What It Is, What It Provides, How To Do It, Michael Quinn Patton, Nathaniel Foote, James Radner

The Foundation Review

This article argues that philanthropic endeavors should be undergirded by a theory of philanthropy. Articulating a theory of philanthropy is a way for a foundation to make explicit what is often only implicit, thereby enabling internal and external actors to pose and resolve significant questions, understand and play important roles more fully and effectively, and improve performance by enhancing alignment across complex systems.

A theory of philanthropy articulates how and why a foundation will use its resources to achieve its mission and vision. The theory-of-philanthropy approach is designed to help foundations align their strategies, governance, operating and accountability procedures, and …