Questioning Stakeholder Legitimacy: A Philanthropic Accountability Model
Author: PATSY KRAEGER and ROBBIE ROBICHAU
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 39 No. 4
Philanthropic organizations contribute to important work that solves complex problems to strengthen communities. Many of these organizations are moving toward engaging in public policy work, in addition to funding programs. This paper raises questions of legitimacy for foundations, as well as issues of transparency and accountability in a pluralistic democracy. Measures of civic health also inform how philanthropic organizations can be accountable to stakeholders. We propose a holistic model for philanthropic accountability that combines elements of transparency and performance accountability, as well as practices associated with the American pluralistic model for democratic accountability. We argue that philanthropic institutions should seek stakeholder and public input when shaping any public policy agenda. This paper suggests a new paradigm, called philanthropic accountability that can be used for legitimacy and democratic governance of private foundations engaged in policy work. The Philanthropic Accountability Model can be empirically tested and used as a governance tool.
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