In response to increasing skepticism of philanthropy's effectiveness in meeting its objectives, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has released a report that proposes guidelines for foundations and nonprofits designed to help them regain the public's trust and strengthen the sector.
Funded by the Ford Foundation, the report, Building Solid Foundations: New Approaches to Substantive Philanthropic Accountability, addresses two fundamental questions: What is the substantive value of philanthropy, and to whom are foundations substantially accountable? According to the report, which was written by former NCRP executive director Rick Cohen, recent attempts to create a more accountable sector have been hindered by an inability to prioritize next steps and the narrowing of the debate to an "either/or" framework that limits the scope of possible solutions. The report provides examples that support a short list of suggestions which foundations, government, and nonprofits can implement together to improve the effectiveness of American philanthropy.
"This is prime time for a report that provides [these groups] with effective solutions for a more accountable and transparent sector," said Mary M. Lassen, interim NCRP executive director. "Building Solid Foundations will be of use to anyone who is concerned with the proper use of philanthropic dollars to affect social justice in our society."