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Glasspockets: Making the Case for Transparency

Glasspockets: Making the Case for Transparency


Websites and social media have revolutionized how we access information and interact with the world. Now the world is more transparent and accessible to us all, except when it comes to the world of philanthropy. Surprisingly only 10% of foundations in America are using these communication tools Leaving much of philanthropy hidden from view – completely in the dark. But what if we could reverse this trend? What if foundations were more transparent? They would be open, providing information about their work, strategies, and progress, so that people could learn what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and what difference they’re making in the world. at Foundation Center’s GlassPockets website, philanthropy professionals can learn what it means to be transparent and use self-assessment tools to gauge existing practices. It inspires greater openness. GlasPockets free resources are already being used by philanthropy professionals across the country, representing a diverse range of foundation sizes, types, and strategies, Here’s what some of them have to say: JIM CANALES – Barr Foundation: I’m aware of a number of the foundations that use GlassPockets, and by virtue of using GlassPockets have put a lot more information on their websites than they might have in the past, and I think it’s a great opportunity as one who sits in a foundation to really see what other foundations are sharing, the learning that they have had, the results of the work that they have done, and perhaps where that work fell short, and our abilities as we shape our own strategies to benefit from that learning and to have that inform the work that we do. It’s a huge contribution to the field. MARY GREGORY – Pacific Foundation Services: I think it was brilliant when GlassPockets started that it wasn’t a contest, it wasn’t punitive. It was aspirational. Here are all the things you could be doing if you were fully transparent to the community GlassPockets. ALLISON MCGEE – Zellerbach Family Foundation: Helps me to navigate the conversations with my board. It helps me to really understand that broader context of what we can be doing, and, frankly, it helps me to push back at times, whether it’s to my board or to my staff about “well we really should, and can be, doing more.” HEATH WICKLINE – Hewlett Foundation: I think that one of the coolest things about GlassPockets is the fact that it provides such a clear window into how other foundations are thinking about transparency, gives you a way to learn from the best and to emulate what works, and move forward as a whole sector. ALLISON GISTER – Hilton Foundation: GlassPockets, it’s really the main resource and hub for the philanthropic sector about transparency from issues of why it’s important or building an argument for why it’s important within your organization to then seeing examples of how other foundations are implementing transparent practices whether by reporting grant data to the Foundation Center or by updating their own websites to really with a transparency lens. BOB PULLEN – Ford Foundation: With the GlassPockets resources, now it’s much easier to get a picture of what the possibilities are for transparency, what the stent you know the emerging norms are for transparency. It’s helped sort of ignite, not just at the Ford Foundation, but I imagine for other philanthropies as well, kind of an appetite and ambition, recognition, that this has to be done, and it can actually be great if we do it right. MARIA MOTTOLA – New York Foundation: I would recommend GlassPockets to colleagues for a variety of reasons. I think that it is helpful for your trustees to understand what matters to the general public about accountability. It sort of puts it out puts it all out there for people to see in a way that helps make it clear what it is you’re trying to do. MARC MOORGHEN – Hilton Foundation: We actually go back to glass pockets every once in a while and we reassess how we’re doing, and in that sense I think it’s been an incredibly useful tool because it’s not just about being transparent, it’s about how much you’re willing to share, and for us GlassPockets really allows us to reconsider the issue from time to time. We’ll go back and ask ourselves the question: “Are we being transparent enough?” By being transparent you strengthen your foundations credibility and trust, improve relationships with grantees and peers, set the stage for greater coordination, collaboration, and efficiency, and share knowledge so we can all give more wisely. Is your foundation transparent? Visit GlassPockets.org today to help you accelerate the change you want to see in the world. Please join us at www.GlassPockets.org

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