Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Please provide information on good practices related to governance, transparency and accountability mechanisms for foundations.


  1. Introduction: governance, transparency and accountability in foundations
  2. Potential challenges that foundations may encounter
  3. Good practices in governance
  4. Good practices in transparency
  5. Good practices in accountability
  6. References


Philanthropic foundations remain one of the main sources of support for global civil society organisations, and they operate as a potentially global force (Anheier and Daly 2004). While foundations differ in their size and scope worldwide, they are plagued by some common challenges which may be addressed by following good practices in the fields of governance, transparency and accountability. 

A few notable challenges faced by foundations in the twenty-first century include: disruptive technology, collaboration issues, understanding the grantees’ needs, and having effective grant-making accountability. The resulting good practices to mitigate these challenges should not be evaluated in watertight compartments as they are all interlinked.

An effective governance mechanism fuels robust transparency and accountability and vice versa. There are several good practices that may be followed, but a few sit at the top of the pyramid, including: adaptive learning, diverse skill sets, open and accessible databases, code of ethics and compliances, and building an enabling culture for transparency and accountability.


Kaunain Rahman [email protected]


Nieves Zúñiga [email protected]  




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