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Comments on: Foundation Research for All!

Last Build Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 16:59:32 +0000


By: Sean Stannard-Stockton

Thu, 22 May 2008 23:19:57 +0000

Great points Gabi. I've tagged Issue Lab's website and it will appear in tonight's Link List post. Bruce, Wallace's knowledge center is really interesting. I blogged about it once before when I discovered that Wallace is competing with my firm Ensemble Capital to provide information about private foundations. (Good for them!). I've tagged the site for the Link List post.

By: Bruce Trachtenberg

Thu, 22 May 2008 17:59:57 +0000

The Wallace Foundation ( is a good example of a foundation that designs grantmaking initiatives with the goal of producing knowledge that it can then share with wider audiences (for the common good). The intent is to use the knowledge about what works as well as what doesn't to extend the impact of its grantmaking. As it says in the "knowledge center" section of its website: "The Wallace Knowledge Center offers credible, useful knowledge that can help policymakers, practitioners, researchers and concerned citizens make progress in the fields in which they work. It is at the core of Wallace’s effort to share ideas and practices that can help organizations expand opportunities for people."

By: Gabi Fitz

Thu, 22 May 2008 14:35:46 +0000

As the director of an organization whose core mission is the collection and dissemination of such reports, I have to jump in on a couple of points. 1) Your distinction between for profit and non-profit is totally on target here but information sharing doesn't just contribute to the social good, it also results in smarter funding choices, improvements to programs by practitioners who are often stretched too thin to do their own research and evaluation, and improvements to the overall quality of research when we (the nonprofit sector) can do the kinds of literature reviews that academics take for granted. This is why other sectors have an information infrastructure that has been strangely absent in the third sector. I could go on and on about why I think this is - but will spare you :) 2) This whole conversation re: information sharing would be lacking if we don't also talk about the broader role that foundations can play in relation to intellectual property rights. Foundations are in a unique position (as Lucy well recognizes) to require that their grantees release their work under copyright licenses that allow for broader information sharing. Again, other industries and communities of practice, like musicians and visual artists, have made creative commons licensing work for them. I think this is a broader discussion that needs to be had. 3) The whole reason IssueLab exists is to provide the sector with a publishing platform that allows for consistent information sharing, rather than relying on just those folks who "get it" like Lucy and Tom. When organizations, (both NPs and foundations), begin to prioritize dissemination over controlling their "message" I believe we all benefit. When we let go of the research and analysis we produce (while still maintaining attribution rights etc.) there is a real possibility for getting this work into spaces and places where people might not know what a nonprofit even is but they value what is being reported on.

By: Sean Stannard-Stockton

Tue, 20 May 2008 22:41:57 +0000

I think that there is a segment of nonprofit services that will follow that model. But I think the vast majority of causes that nonprofit are focused on have no profit opportunity. Can you imagine a business model that profitable helps victims of sexual abuse with psychological recovery? Or a profitable model for preserving the oral history of native cultures on the verge of dying out?

By: Matt

Tue, 20 May 2008 21:47:58 +0000

Sean, Interesting distinction about non-profit versus for-profit. I think the future of non-profit may evolve into being a for-profit company that makes a humanitarian impact by using its profits