Why This Book?

This book is about successful organizations, organizations that have learned to be effective, organizations that have learned to tap all their resources, both inside and outside their doors. They’ve figured out how to become agile “learning organizations,” able to respond quickly to change and able to move effectively in diverse communities and markets.

Effective Philanthropy offers research-based strategies and new language for strengthening organizations.  By “naming Norm” and institutionalizing what the book calls “deep diversity,” organizations can cut through the dead wood of unnamed assumptions and learn to tap “differences that divide us“—race, class, gender, sexual orientation, geography, age, religion, physical ability, and others—to become more effective and to gain access to a wider range of available resources, both inside and outside their doors.

Why philanthropy?  By virtue of their “power of the purse“ and more subtle forms of influence, foundations are key players in U.S. social, economic, and public policy and are increasingly influential internationally. When foundations function effectively, there is potential for tremendous public benefit.  Effective Philanthropy describes models for building effective foundations that can be applied to all kinds of institutions—large and small, public and private, national and regional, bureaucratic and entrepreneurial—including colleges and universities, nonprofits, government agencies, and multinational corporations.

Offering demographics, case studies, strategic funding initiatives, theoretical analyses, and original research, Effective Philanthropy compiles convincing evidence that documents how “Norm” undermines innovation; explains how understanding gender helps unravel “Norm”; and describes detailed case studies of effective foundations that have gotten beyond “doing the right thing” to become vital, healthy, learning organizations.