Ten Key Questions for the Governance of Foundations
Auteurs : Pierre Calame
Date : 19 novembre 1998
Publié par Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer
Ten key questions for the governance of foundations
A foundation has two precious advantages because they are so rare: independence and the capacity to act over a period of time.
Governance of a foundation must notably aim at making the most of these two advantages. To do this, we must first look at how these advantages can be used for the best to deal with the major challenges facing humanity.
In practice, foundations generally respond by focussing on a narrow field of action and within it, financing a large number of projects i.e. actions that are delimited in terms of time and space, and separate from one another. In general, this approach is presented as a foregone conclusion: a foundation must convey ambitions in accordance with its size and does not have the human, intellectual or financial resources to embrace vast issues. Furthermore, in order to assess its impact, a foundation needs to organize itself to “make the difference”. It implies financing isolated actions with a visible short-term impact. It is this so-called “foregone conclusion” that we need to look at.
That is the purpose of our paper.