Hybridity and philanthropy

Implications for policy and practice

Authored by: Steven Rathgeb Smith

The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415783255
eBook ISBN: 9781315740324
Adobe ISBN: 9781317579717


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Private foundations hold a highly visible and quite unique place in a country: they benefit from generous tax advantages and exemptions; they are quite diverse in mission and orientation; and they have considerable autonomy over their programs and operations, especially compared with many other types of philanthropic and public institutions (Hammack and Anheier, 2013; Leat, Chapter 18). Yet, foundations face increased competition in terms of influence and support. In many countries, the giving options for individual donors have exploded; donors can give to a proliferating array of causes and organizations and create vehicles for giving, such as donor advised funds (DAFs) in the US, that depart from the traditional foundation model. The widespread interest in social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and social enterprise has tended to focus attention on programmatic outcomes and leveraging grant funds. Many foundations also experienced steep losses in their assets due to the financial crisis, leading them to be more attentive than ever to the allocation of their scarce grant monies. With increased competition to their influence and legitimacy, many foundations are innovating in their structure, investment strategies, giving patterns, and creating new alliances and partnerships (Salamon, 2014).

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