The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors created an initiative in 2013 with the aim of enhancing foundations’ capacities in aligning their resources for impact. As part of the initiative, The Theory of the Foundation – Europe Initiative report was developed with the support of ten European foundations and launched in January 2017. It aims to look at European foundations’ work beyond their grants or operating charitable programmes and explore a variety of foundation practices on governance, external relationships and people development.

41 European foundation sector leaders, including EFC Chief Executive Gerry Salole, provided input into the overall framing of the report. Different dimensions of philanthropic practice critical to philanthropy were examined, and in so doing the report was able to explore the whole of a foundation’s role in driving public benefit.

The report contains insights on four key areas:

  • A foundation’s charter and fundamental governance
  • The social compact or the foundation’s relationship to society
  • The operating capabilities of a foundation, its core competencies and resources
  • The interplay between the different domains of charter, social compact and operating capabilities

Download The Theory of the Foundation – European Initiative report

For further information, please contact Donzelina Barroso at