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Performance measurement, evaluation and accountability in public philanthropic foundations

Thank you to SAGE Perspectives for this great blog on Kylie Kingston and Dr Alexandra Williams new research paper ‘Performance measurement, evaluation and accountability in public philanthropic foundations.’

This blog offers a great overview of public foundation leader’s perspectives on evaluation that is explored in this research article.

For this study 28 managers and leaders of public philanthropic foundations were interviewed, and four key themes emerged when considering their perspectives towards evaluation. These include: leader’s motivations for evaluating, evaluation values, evaluation criteria and process of evaluation.

To find out more access the blog (No ifs or buts: Public foundation leaders’ perspectives on evaluation — SAGE Perspectives Blog (sagepub.com)) or research article (Performance measurement, evaluation and accountability in public philanthropic foundations – Alexandra Kate Williamson, Kylie L Kingston, 2021 (sagepub.com)) here.

Performance measurement, evaluation and accountability in public philanthropic foundations


Philanthropic foundations routinely evaluate and measure the performance of nonprofit organisations to which they distribute funds, as well as the programmes that are funded. Another aspect of philanthropic foundations’ evaluation processes, which receives comparatively little attention within academic or practitioner literature, concerns evaluations of grant applications. While the focus of philanthropic evaluation literature is mainly on ‘how evaluation is done’, the focus of this article is on ‘how evaluation is understood’. This article details perspectives from interviews with 28 managers and trustees of Public Ancillary Funds as part of a wider study on the accountability of foundations. These public foundations must fundraise from the public, and donations to them are deductible against the taxable income of the donor, resulting in a significant element of accountability to the public for their effectiveness and evaluation of the distribution of their funds. Four main themes emerged through the exploration of how evaluation is understood from the perspective of these senior foundation leaders: motivations, values, criteria and processes of evaluation. Read more

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