About the Project: The Critique PDF Print E-mail

Caring to Change encountered wide sentiment that philanthropy, for many reasons, is more limited in its impact than it need be.

Too many foundations expect to achieve solutions to longstanding challenges through a focus on short-term objectives, and innovations of the moment are often prized over approaches that are proven to work and those which require sustained effort over time. Support is reliably supplied for one, two or three year grant cycles – often just long enough to begin efforts that could eventually bear fruit.

Attention tends to be project-based and narrowly tailored to problem areas that are seen in isolation from one another. Further, a competitive atmosphere often prevents grantees and grantmakers from combining their strength, as well as communicating frankly with one another. Too often, grantmaking programs miss the interconnections between societal concerns and globalized problems that grow more complex daily, while diversity in philanthropy is often insufficiently valued for its potential to help foundations reach their goals.

In these economically challenging times, the wide gaps between the actual and potential impacts of philanthropy are of greater consequence. As governmental funding for community needs shrinks, as foundation endowments contract, and as people feel increasingly challenged by lack of access to capital, the need for greater effectiveness in the philanthropic sector becomes more pressing.


Material on this site is based on the report Foundations for the Common Good. You are invited to download a complimentary copy or purchase the printed report.

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