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New CEP Research on Foundation Transparency Out Today!
Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)

February, 2016

Perhaps no buzzword has been more ubiquitous in philanthropy lately than transparency. But what does transparency really mean? 

What do foundations and grantees feel are the most important things for funders to be transparent about? And how does that stack up against what is actually being shared openly?

New research released today by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) reveals that both foundations and grantees alike believe transparency about the substance of a foundation’s work, rather than about financial disclosures or governance, matters most to effectiveness. The new report, entitled Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency, also finds that foundations are doing well in certain areas when it comes to transparency, such as with their grantmaking processes and goals and strategies. But when it comes to sharing about performance assessment and lessons learned, foundations are less transparent, despite a belief that it’d be beneficial to do so — meaning both funders and grantees are missing opportunities to learn and improve.

The report’s findings are based off analysis of survey data from 145 foundation CEOs and more than 15,000 grantees, as well as systematic reviews of more than 70 foundation websites. This research initiative received support from the Fund for Shared Insight, and the report is co-authored by members of CEP’s research team.

Download the full report for free here.

Interested in learning more and joining in the conversation? CEP is hosting a webinar about the report’s findings and its implications for the field on Wednesday, March 23rd from 1-2pm EST. CEP President Phil Buchanan and Vice President, Research, Ellie Buteau, one of the report’s co-authors, will be joined for a discussion by Cathy Self, president and CEO of Baptist Healing Trust, Peter Dunn, president and CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation, and John Tyler, general counsel for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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