Foundation Operations: Board Issues-> Publications - GIH Skip Navigation

Foundation Operations: Board Issues-> Publications

Foundation Effectiveness

Anheier, Helmut and Diana Leat, eds., Creative Philanthropy (Florence, KY: Taylor & Francis Books Inc., 2006). This book provides an overview of creative philanthropy along with an analysis of the theory and practice of philanthropy. The authors set forth the implications of their study for management and policy and provide readers with the tools and techniques of creative philanthropy. Available for purchase on-line at

Capek, Mary Ellen, and Molly Mead, Effective Philanthropy: Organizational Success through Deep Diversity and Gender Equality (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006). The book is about successful organizations. It offers demographics, case studies, strategic funding initiatives, theoretical analyses, and original research. It also presents evidence about how norms can undermines innovation; explains how understanding gender can help unravel norms; and details case studies of foundations that have gotten beyond doing the right thing to become vital, healthy, learning organizations. Available for purchase on-line at

FoundationWorks, A Research Synthesis on Aspects of Foundations and Philanthropy: Operational Efficacy, Grantee Needs and Public Perceptions, 2000 - 2004 (Washington, DC: FoundationWorks, 2006). The purpose of this publication is to provide a detailed understanding of the types and outcomes of research the philanthropic sector has conducted on its own behalf around the issues of operational efficacy, grantee needs, and public perceptions.

Independent Sector, Building Value Together: Guidelines for the Funding of Nonprofit Organizations (Washington, DC: 2006). Concerned about the health and vitality of the nonprofit sector and about the state of foundation-nonprofit relationships, the Independent Sector board of directors unanimously endorsed a statement calling on funders and nonprofit organizations to adopt a reciprocal commitment to working together constructively, to enhanced performance and to effectiveness.

Light, Paul, The Four Pillars of High Performance: How Robust Organizations Achieve Extraordinary Results (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2005). This book, a guide to achieving and maintaining organizational performance, presents strategies to help organizations maintain a competitive edge. It examines “robust organizations”— those that possess the agility to quickly adjust to changes in the external environment and the compass needed to maintain a steady fix on strategic horizons. The book also presents case studies of such organizations across a range of business sectors. Available for purchase on-line.


Bowen, William G., Inside the Boardroom: Governance by Directors and Trustees (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994). William Bowen explores the role of the board of directors in for-profit and nonprofit corporations and offers his recommendations on how boards can better serve the interests of organizations and their stakeholders. Bowen provides detailed answers to a number of crucial questions, such as do boards really matter? To what extent do external checks and constraints preordain outcomes? In what ways is a board’s ability to act effectively influenced by the type of information reported to it and by the reporting mechanisms themselves? Is there an optimal board size and an optimum balance between inside and outside members? Available for purchase on-line at

Buchanan, Phil, Ellie Bateau, Sarah DiTroia, et al., Beyond Compliance: The Trustee Viewpoint on Effective Foundation Governance (Cambridge, MA: Center for Effective Philanthropy, 2005). This report summarizes the findings from a survey of foundation boards of directors. It sets forth a definition of board effectiveness, challenges faced by foundation boards, and key components of effective governance.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy, Foundation Governance: The CEO Viewpoint(Boston, MA: 2004). This report presents findings from the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s 2003 survey of the CEOs of the 250 largest U.S. foundations. The findings are based on CEO perceptions of their boards of directors and the roles of trustees in foundations.

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, Board Café (San Francisco, CA). A monthly electronic newsletter exclusively for members of nonprofit boards of directors.

Council on Foundations, Governance As Leadership (Washington, DC: 2004). This book introduces a fresh way to think about governance with sensible guidance to turn those ideas into concrete actions. This book will be particularly valuable to trustees or senior staff of professionally managed nonprofit organizations and to others, including foundation officers, donors, consultants, and students of nonprofit organizations, interested in improving nonprofit governance.

Grantmakers In Health, Taking Time for Board Engagement Strategies (Washington, DC: April 8, 2004). This article examines tactics that can be considered and employed to ensure that a board does not become insular and can help re-energize trustees, educate them about key health issues, increase their involvement, foster stronger leadership, and renew board members’ commitment to the foundation.

Independent Sector, Strengthening Transparency, Governance, and Accountability of Charitable Organizations: A Supplement to the Final Report to Congress and the Nonprofit Sector (Washington, DC: 2006). This publication reports on the recommendations developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, a committee of those involved with charities and foundations, on the sector’s governance, transparency, and standards. The recommendations provide approaches that maintain the balance between legitimate oversight and protecting the independence that charitable organizations need to remain innovative and effective.

Independent Sector, Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Charitable and Philanthropic Organizations (Washington, DC: 2004). This document presents the Statement of Values and Code of Ethics that Independent Sector will use for its own work. In addition, the organization encourages its members, and the field as a whole, to use this document in either drafting and adopting statements of values and codes of ethics.

Mintz, Joshua, and Denise Cavanaugh, Self-Assessment for Foundation Boards (Washington, DC: BoardSource, 2000). This resource is designed to help foundation boards of directors evaluate their effectiveness and map a course for the future. It is also intended to help build trust, respect, and communication among board members and with the chief executive. This useful tool will help identify key areas of board governance that need attention. Available for purchase on-line at

Office of New York State Attorney General, Right From the Start – Responsibilities of Directors and Officers of Not-for-Profit Corporations (New York, NY: 2001). This free resource provides an overview of what to consider before becoming a board member and discusses the duties of a trustee, categorized as duties of care, loyalty, and obedience.

Raymond, Susan U., The Future of Philanthropy: Economics, Ethics, and Management (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004). This book is a collection of essays on ethical and management issues facing foundations and nonprofit organizations. Available for purchase on-line at

Standards for Excellence Institute, Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector (Baltimore, MD: Standards for Excellence Institute, 2004). These standards serve as a model for nonprofit organizations to implement in their operations and governance.

Start-up Issues 

Exponent Philanthropy (Formerly Association of Small Foundations), The New Foundation Guidebook: Building a Strong Foundation (Bethesda, MD: 2003). The report addresses key concerns in creating a new foundation and speaks to the many issues that must be considered when devising the structure and operations of the foundations. Available for purchase on-line at

Benbow, Scott, Deborah Cowan, Phillip Gonzalez, et al., eds., Building and Maintaining Strong Foundations: Creating Community Responsive Philanthropy in Nonprofit Conversions (Boston, MA: Community Catalyst, 2004). This handbook addresses how community members and consumer advocates can get involved in the creation and ongoing operation of new health foundations in order to address the health needs of their locality, state, or region. It identifies the primary components of good practices in building and maintaining foundations.

Biemesdefer, David, and Andras Kosaras, The Value of Relationships: Between State Charity Regulators & Philanthropy (Washington, DC: Council on Foundation, 2006). This publication seeks to help enhance the accountability and effectiveness of foundations and their oversight by state regulators by highlighting the value of ongoing, productive relationships between regulators and the philanthropic sector, and demonstrating how such relationships can be successfully achieved.  


Fulton, Katherine and Andrew Blau, Looking Out for the Future: An Orientation for Twenty-First Century Philanthropists (Cambridge, MA: Monitor Company Group, 2005). This guide is for anyone who takes giving seriously, and especially for those ready to make the giving they do more strategic and intentional than simply responding to ad hoc requests.

Schwartz, James R., and Chester H. Horn, Health Care Alliances and Conversions: A Handbook for Nonprofit Directors and Trustees (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1999). This publication examines governance issues involved when a nonprofit health care organization converts, or considers converting, to for-profit status. Available for purchase on-line at


Print Print   Share Share   RSS RSS
GIH Connect

Connect with GIH to learn, collaborate, and grow through education, networking, and leadership opportunities.

Sign Up
Sign up for the GIH Bulletin to stay on top of news from the field.

Funding Partner Portal Login
Login to access exclusive Funding Partner resources from GIH.