January 07, 2007

Philanthropic Foundations Urged to Implement Ombuds

Foundations are among our most powerful and least visible institutions, asserts Joel Fleishman, a professor of law and public policy at Duke University - and the former president of the Atlantic Philanthropic Services Company. He is author of the new book, The Foundation: A Great American Secret: How Private Wealth Is Changing The World. Drawing on scores of interviews and an analysis of 100 major foundation initiatives, Fleishman introduces the "third sector of the American economy." Although they enrich civic life, Fleishman also challenges charitable organizations to "raise the level of their performance by reducing their insulation from beneficial external influences while retaining the independence they need." Fleishman concludes that foundations should create the equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act, hire an ombudsman and subject themselves to peer review. (Baltimore Sun.)

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