Academic journal article The Foundation Review

Editorial

Academic journal article The Foundation Review

Editorial

Article excerpt

DEAR READERS

Although this is an unthemed issue, many of the articles carry through on the collaboration theme of our Grantmakers for Effective Philanthropy co-edited issue on collaboration. Additional articles offer some insights into broad sector concerns.

Jarosewich, Mir, and Simkin offer a tool for assessing the effectiveness of networks along five dimensions: network management, sustainable service systems, data-driven decision making, policy and advocacy, and knowledge development and dissemination. This tool begins to fill a hole in the philanthropic sector's methods for engaging with networks as an entity, rather than as a collection of individual organizations.

Coffman, Beer, Patrizi, and Thompson provide insights into how the evaluation function is actually being carried out in foundations. The evaluation requirements that foundations place on their grantees have a profound effect on the functioning of the sector. Heavy demands for data that are not used are a tremendous drag on the sector. On the other hand, the need to use evaluation more effectively for learning and improvement remains. This research suggests that the most common response is still to focus on the supply side; that is, to get more data. The authors have some recommendations for moving beyond the piling on of data.

A key question that funders often wrestle with is how to hold a network, rather than an individual grantee, accountable. Linkins, Frost, Boober, and Brya focus on how to achieve collective accountability and sustainable systems change. It highlights common challenges and presents guidelines for funders. Effective support of collaboration demands that funders change their mental models about accountability. …

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