• Description

This paper, by Elizabeth McKeon, takes stock of three areas where philanthropy's "license to operate" is questioned: 1) its authority as a non-state actor to influence norms and outcomes in society; 2) matters related to its financial capital; and3) the composition of its governance and staffing. It is suggested that academic research might probe themes of competitive performance, useful scope and unique contribution to help shape a clearer understanding of philanthropy's value in Europe, in relation to government and the private sector.

The paper concludes with a caution that research studies will be especially meaningful when developed with careful consideration of the complex taxonomy of philanthropic institutions, whose variations in size, style and mandate defy easy comparisons or one-size-fits-all prescriptions.