Benchmarking Foundation Governance

On a typical foundation board, what are its members’ most common areas of expertise? How common is it for an original donor — or a family member — to sit on a board? To what extent are board members involved in grantmaking?

There are lots of questions out there about foundation governance. Yet there has been little data about foundation boards’ structures and practice. In surveying foundation CEOs as part of a larger benchmarking study, CEP worked closely with BoardSource to design and include questions related to governance to collect and bring to light new data on foundation boards.

Benchmarking Foundation Governance shares data and infographics on crucial topics related to foundation governance — including composition, member expertise, structure, involvement, and characteristics of meetings.

Findings are based on survey responses from CEOs at 64 private, U.S.-based foundations giving at least $10 million annually. The operational benchmarking initiative this report is part of is funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

This report is co-authored by Ellie Buteau, Ph.D. and Jennifer Glickman.


October 2015

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Ellie Buteau
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