Foundation Center hosts new site to promote foundation transparency


Alliance magazine


The Foundation Center has launched glasspockets, a website designed to encourage openness among foundations about their activities. The term, whose significance scarcely needs explanation, apparently derives from an assertion made by a Carnegie Corporation of New York board chair at a congressional hearing in the 1950s that ‘foundations should have glass pockets’.

Prominent among the site’s features is the use of new media. Features include Foundation Transparency 2.0, which gives details of foundations that are using social media; Who Has Glass Pockets?, which sets out individual foundations’ online communication practices; and real-time Twitter feeds on what foundations are thinking and saying. It also contains data on all of the US’s 97,000 foundations and examples of the impact of philanthropy on social issues.

According to the project’s manager, Janet Camarena, foundations are enthusiastically embracing the initiative and ‘are coming forward and volunteering to be put under the magnifying glass’, as a Foundation Center press release puts it. Although the Foundation Center is the presiding influence of the initiative, it is also working with partners that include the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Communications Network, the Global Philanthropy Forum and One World Trust in London.

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