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CREATIVE PHILANTHROPY by Helmut K. Anheier, Diana Leat

By Helmut K. Anheier, Diana Leat

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The criticism that foundations do not question or probe the system – but rather, they are the system – gains some support from analyses of patterns of foundation grant distribution. For example, one study of foundation giving in the UK found that three-quarters of religious grants go to Christian causes, and 24 per cent to Jewish causes. Muslims are specifically mentioned in only 1 per cent of grants examined by Vincent and Pharoah (2000). Three per cent of all grants specifically mention black and ethnic minority needs (it is, of course, possible that other grants addressed these needs).

Over-Emphasis on Project Funding Ask any nonprofit organization what they most need and want and the reply will be ‘more core funding and operational support’. But what mainstream foundations most often give is (short-term) project funding. Again, this is said to be one reason why mainstream foundations are less effective than they might be. Both Bothwell (2001) and Burkeman (1999) relate the apparent preference for project funding to mainstream foundations’ lack of trust in grantees and thus their reluctance to engage in the level of loss of control entailed in core funding.

Publishing skills include editing, marketing, design and, above all, the ability to recognize and encourage talented writers. But publishers do not write novels themselves (Tomei 1998). Over-Emphasis on Project Funding Ask any nonprofit organization what they most need and want and the reply will be ‘more core funding and operational support’. But what mainstream foundations most often give is (short-term) project funding. Again, this is said to be one reason why mainstream foundations are less effective than they might be.

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