The Philea Virtual Library

The Philea Virtual Library includes over 1,000 free-to-download publications from a range of organisations and publishers on the topics of philanthropy, the management of foundations and the areas they are involved in and support. As a Philea member you can send us your publications for inclusion in the library which will also be added to the global IssueLab network where they will be made available to an extended audience, including users of Worldcat, the global catalogue used by tens of thousands of libraries. For questions or assistance, please contact the Philea Virtual Library.
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Operating Archetypes: Philanthropy’s New Analytical Tool for Strategic Clarity

April 27, 2022

This publication is part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' multiyear Theory of the Foundation initiative, which seeks to enhance the capacity of philanthropies to effectively align their resources for the impact they envision. Operating Archetypes is a new tool for action and alignment for funders seeking to optimize their operations and impact. We hope that both established and emerging funders, as well as the broader community of grantees and partners, will find this new analytical framework enriching and beneficial in their pursuit of thoughtful and effective philanthropy. 

Administration and Management; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Learning to Let Go : Decision-making for foundations

February 1, 2022

Building on over 25 years of grant and decision-making at MAVA, this publication sheds lights on three distinct decision-making models implemented by the foundation over the last decades. It looks at the roles of board members and staff as well as the centre of gravity for decision-making. Based on the experience of the foundation, the authors provide pros and cons for each of the models. While there is no single answer to the best decision-making model question, the authors explain that collaborative processes, adaptive management, speed and trust are important factors for increasing impact and that the decision-making process needs to be build for that purpose. This report is part of a series of learning products developed by MAVA (due to close down in 2022) to reflect on and share the foundation's learnings about institution processes and ways of working, with the aim of inspiring donor strategies and best practices. Other learning products are available in this virtual library and here: https://mava-foundation.org/learning/ 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Strategic Time Horizons : A Global Snapshot of Foundation Approaches

January 1, 2020

Strategic time horizons are increasingly becoming the subject of thoughtful discussions within philanthropic organizations, causing a shift away from in-perpetuity models as the default approach. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and NORC at the University of Chicago set out to conduct a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons in institutional giving.This report includes a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons and examines strategies and operations, as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages of different philanthropic timeframes.

Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Foundation Horizon Scan: Taking the long view

November 1, 2019

This report explores the challenges foundations and grant-giving organisations will face over the next decade in order to maintain their legitimacy and impact. Nesta worked with the Centre for Public Impact on a literature review, carrying out interviews with 25 leaders in the field from the UK and internationally. Drawing on these insights, the authors isolated signals of change in the sector and focused on several 'clusters' of foundation practices. Finally, they highlighted some of the strategic choices that foundations will need to manage in the coming years. Along with the report, Nesta created a worksheet to help organisations understand where they sit on the spectrum of strategic choices described in the report, as well as a collection of seven 'provocations' on the future role of foundations over this pivotal decade.

Ethical issues and Good Practices; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Learning in Philanthropy: A Guidebook

May 12, 2019

When grantmakers focus on learning for improvement, we use evaluation and learning to generate information and insights that will help us better understand both how we're doing in our work and how to improve. A focus on taking action based on what we learn ensures that we are engaged in strategic or applied learning. Our learning should be tied directly to the strategies we are pursuing and the decisions we are making.Learning in Philanthropy: A Guidebook provides a solid basis for thinking and talking about the next steps in our organization's learning work. The guidebook is designed to serve as a resource to help grantmakers answer critical learning questions and embed learning more deeply into the day-to-day work and cultures of our organizations.

Evaluation and Learning; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Engaging Boards and Trustees in Strategic Learning: A Toolkit

January 17, 2019

Effecting social change in a rapidly changing political environment and an increasingly interconnected world requires foundations to adopt a learning orientation. Without continuous learning, grantmakers—and thus boards and trustees—are unaware about what is working where, with whom, and why, as well as what changes or refinements are needed in order to achieve the grantmakers' desired results.This toolkit provides a fresh set of resources for grantmaker CEOs, evaluation staff, and senior leaders to use to engage their boards and trustees in conversations about the importance of strategic learning in their decision-making and deliberation processes.

Governance, Boards and Strategy

Key Facts about European Philanthropy Working Internationally

January 1, 2019

The European Foundation Centre and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation surveyed a sample of Europe-based EFC members to better understand how, why and what drives their international strategy and work. This infographic lays out key findings from that survey.

Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

The Governance Gap : Examining Diversity and Equity on Nonprofit Boards of Directors

January 1, 2019

Data from BoardSource's report, Leading with Intent 2017, indicates that 27 percent of nonprofit boards do not include a single person of color, and the nondiverse boards, only 10 percent said diversity was a high priority in board recruitment.Koya's report examines how and why this gap persists, with the aim of giving leaders actionable strategies for increasing board diversity. The report explores:Obstacles to increasing diversity on boards of directorsWhat's working and what's not, from real-world experiences of nonprofit boardsConcrete steps board members can take to move toward diversity and inclusion

Ethical issues and Good Practices; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Minorities, Social Inclusion, Multiculturalism

Industrial Foundations as Long-Term Owners

March 1, 2018

Short-termism has become a serious concern for corporate governance, and this has inspired a search for institutional arrangements to promote long-term decision-making. This paper supports the hypothesis that corporate time horizons are influenced by ownership structures and particularly that industrial foundations possess characteristics that promote long-termism. Policymakers, business owners, and managers interested in promoting long-term governance models should therefore reconsider the role of ownership structure.

Corporate Philanthropy; Governance, Boards and Strategy

The Impact of Diversity : Understanding How Nonprofit Board Diversity Affects Philanthropy, Leadership, and Board Engagement

February 1, 2018

Diversity on nonprofit boards in the United States has been widely studied. A great deal of research has focused on this area, exploring topics such as the level of diversity, the motivations for increased diversity, and the benefits diversity seems to deliver. Despite such research, little is known about how increasing the diversity on nonprofit boards affects board engagement and impact. This study addresses this gap by answering two questions:which organisational attributes correlate with board diversity?How is board diversity related to organisational action?

Ethical issues and Good Practices; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Minorities, Social Inclusion, Multiculturalism

Gestion Financière des Fondations et Fonds de Dotations : Enquête 2018

January 1, 2018

The purpose of this survey is to learn about the financial management practices of foundations and funds in France.A first edition of this study was published in 2011 and a second in 2014.It was carried out at the initiative of the French Center of Funds and Foundations in partnership with Amadeis.Opinions were collected during the summer of 2018 by means of a questionnaire. 

Finance and Investment; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Family Ties: Multigenerational Family Foundation Board Engagement

June 13, 2017

Based on interviews with CEOs and family board chairs at seven large, multigenerational family foundations, this publication spotlights the governance practices and structures that these family foundations have created to maintain family involvement; select, orient, and engage family members across generations; and keep the board and foundation focused on impact.

Family Philanthropy; Governance, Boards and Strategy

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