Thursday, February 4, 2010

Foundation Center Launches Web Site to Promote Foundation

The New York City-based Foundation Center ( ) has announced the launch of, a Web site designed to promote and facilitate greater openness and transparency among private foundations.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Effective Philan- thropy, the Communications Network, the Global Philanthropy Forum, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and the One World Trust in London, Glasspockets is designed to encourage foundations to share stories of their successes and failures -- in part by high- lighting the exemplary efforts of their peers. The site offers essential facts about all 97,000 U.S. foundations, illustrations of philanthropy's impact on important issues, and information about the ways in which foundations are striving to become more transparent. The site also features a real-time foundation Twitter feed; a Transparency 2.0 section that showcases the growing number of foundations using social media; and a Who Has Glass Pockets? section that offers at-a-glance profiles of foundations' online communication practices according to information they make public regarding their governance, finances, grantmaking processes, and performance metrics.

The term "glass pockets" was used more than fifty years ago by then-chairman of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Russell Leffingwell, who told a McCarthy-era Congressional hearing: "We think that the foundation should have glass pockets." Leffing- well's comment underscored a popular sentiment -- still held today -- that organizations receiving tax exemptions for serving the public good should be willing to explain the ways in which they do so. A series of such hearings inspired the creation of the Foundation Center in 1956 as the "glass pockets" through which America's foundations could be made more transparent to the public.

"The Foundation Center believes strongly in the kind of freedom that allows U.S. foundations to be innovative, take risks, and work on long-term solutions to the world's most vexing problems," said Foundation Center president Bradford K. Smith. "To preserve this freedom, foundations must tell the story of what they do, why they do it, and what difference they make. Glasspockets will serve as a central source of knowledge that can fuel this move- ment toward greater transparency in philanthropy."

"New Web Platform Encourages Foundation Transparency in the Digital Age." Foundation Center Press Release 2/01/10.

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