How Foundations Benefit From Greater Transparency

The Power of Transparency

The Foundation Center supports greater openness by foundations and offers a variety of resources to facilitate this transparency. But why should foundations care about transparency in the first place?

The best way to preserve philanthropic freedom is not to hide behind it; rather, foundations need to tell the story of what they do, why they do it, and what difference it makes.

As private wealth for the public good, philanthropy must strike a delicate balance between independence, innovation, and risk taking on the one hand, and accountability and shared learning on the other. Transparency keeps this equilibrium and facilitates greater impact.


As greater numbers of foundations openly communicate information about their governance, procedures, programs, and achievements, they can expect to see positive outcomes at both the foundation and field levels.



  • Strengthens foundations’ credibility
  • Increases public trust
  • Improves relationships with grantees and regions served
  • Reduces duplication of effort among foundations that care about the same issues
  • Facilitates greater collaboration and collective problem solving
  • Cultivates a community of shared learning and best practices among foundations