Foundations and policy involvement: Creating options

Diana Leat
29th Nov 2005

An exploration of how foundations might contribute to policy debate and change.

 With growing interest in social change and policy-oriented approaches, many foundations are reconsidering both their role and influence, and their relationship with government.

Foundations and policy involvement:

  • considers the advantages of foundations’ contributions to policy debate in terms of impact and sustainability;
  • goes through the arguments for and against policy involvement;
  • outlines the policy process; discusses the key characteristics of such foundations and their practices, drawing on previous studies of policy-oriented foundations and looking in detail at the approaches of the three Rowntree trusts (the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd). This comparison highlights both the variety of approaches to stimulating policy debate and how these approaches differ from 'mainstream' foundation practices.

The report provides discussion and practical illustration of policy engagement in action with potential lessons for all foundations considering ways in which they can achieve sustainable impact beyond their immediate grantees.

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