Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. No Best Partnership Model

The level and type of existing or possible interactions between foundations and the federal government reflect a complex web of factors. The nature of the specific problems they address may affect interactions between the two sectors. In some cases, the factors involve the availability and willingness of key actors to engage with each other and bring resources to the table. The culture and constraints within which each sector operatesincluding governance and organizational structures, rules, regulations, reporting requirements, time horizons, and stance toward riskcan constrain or facilitate different levels of interaction. Substantial transaction costs may limit the viability of formal collaborations; larger gains may be available through seeking opportunities for complementary action or coordination.

This suggests that there is no one best model of interaction or partnership to be sought or fostered in every situation. Instead, policymakers, federal planners, and administrators should first make themselves aware of any USG-foundation interactions that exist, for example, around shared targets or similar goals. They can then consider whether more formal partnerships could better advance philanthropic goals, and what type of partnership might be most productive and achievable.

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