Key Points

This article examines the issue of foundation organization design and assesses how foundation leaders might think about their organizations as institutions.

Noting that any organization structure inhabited by human beings creates silos and territorial issues, foundation leaders are increasingly using two primary mechanisms to minimize these artificial barriers and maximize collaboration: enhanced headquarters functions to help integrate across the organization, and senior leadership teams.

This article reviews the structure, roles, responsibilities, and value-add of senior leadership teams at 19 foundations. The senior leadership team plays a crucial role in foundations, functioning as an advisory group to the president and chief executive officer as well as helping to define the foundation’s overall vision and goals.

This article also seeks to develop shared concepts, frameworks, and tools for foundation leaders to use individually and in discussion or partnership with other foundations, and to spur more effective collaboration among foundations and with other sectors.

Open Access Sponsor

Support for this open access article is provided by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Open Access