October 22, 2010
A number of articles have recently been published discussing transparency specifically in the nonprofit sector and more broadly. Both authors bring up the point that transparency is more than disclosing details of company regulations or posting regulatory documents, but about developing a culture of openness and trustworthiness.
In fact, the Foundation Center was originally founded with the mission of making foundations more transparent, based on the conviction that philanthropy would be best served by proving that it had nothing to hide. More recently, we have consolidated our initiatives to encourage foundation transparency on glasspockets.org. There, you can view profiles of some of the largest foundations, showcasing their accountability practices, sign up for Grantsfire, which allows foundations to post grants in real time, or view other facts about philanthropy. It is a fantastic resource for those who want to know more about how foundations function.
Like the authors of the articles point out, participating in these initiatives do not guarantee complete transparency, but at least it's a start - and the fact that transparency is become more of a present issue is an indication of its importance. We hope that our continued work with Glasspockets will inspire foundations to have greater openness about their operation and increasing impact by highlight both successful and unsuccessful initiatives.