ACF publishes new ‘Stronger Foundations’ report alongside self-assessment tool


Alliance magazine


The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) has published a new report highlighting five cross-cutting themes from its Stronger Foundations initiative, alongside a new self-assessment tool for foundations to measure their own effectiveness.

‘Five cross-cutting themes: Mission, Knowledge, Power, Accountability, Connection’ is the most recent in a series of reports coming out of Stronger Foundation initiative that has involved over 100 ACF members examining different aspects of foundation practice.

The most recent report highlights five key themes running as ‘golden threads’ through the Stronger Foundations initiative, which ACF hopes will inspire foundation trustees and staff to pursue and achieve ambitious and effective practice. The report stresses that ‘at their best, charitable foundations are the most transparent, intentional and efficient way of transforming private wealth into public benefit’ and that the climate and Covid-19 crises mean it’s more important than ever that ‘foundations are their best selves’.

To further support members in pursuing these pillars of ambitious foundation practice, ACF also recently launched a self-assessment tool based on the pillars of stronger practice, enabling foundations to reflect on their own performance and plan future actions. These new resources follow on from the ‘10 Pillars of Stronger Practice for Chairs of Foundations’ report published by ACF in October, which outlined recommendations of particular relevance to foundation boards.

At ACF’s Conference last week, Paul Ramsbottom OBE, CEO of Wolfson Foundation and Chair of the Stronger Foundations working group on Transparency and Engagement, reflected on his involvement in the initiative: ‘We found ourselves asking the big existential questions that other working groups asked, how do you break down power dynamics between funders and recipients? How do you make philanthropy more representative of the society it purports to serve? And above all, how can we make our own organisations more effective in pursuit of our charitable aims?’

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