The Legitimacy of Philanthropic Foundations

U.S. and European Perspectives

Kenneth Prewitt, Mattei Dogan, Stephen Heydemann, and Stefan Toepler

2006, 336 pages. Russell Sage Foundation, 112 East 64th St, New York, NY 10021, 212-750-6000,

This overview of U.S. and European Foundations examines their function and legitimacy in society. It details the reasons why foundations exist and the specific needs they serve in relation to the state, the market, and civil society. Foundations are able to operate without the restrictions faced by public agencies or the financial limitations of for-profit businesses. Prewitt argues that foundations are classically liberal organizations, while Wolpert reports that foundations give less directly to the poor than most people believe and instead tend to provide funding with long term outcomes in mind. The book places foundations in a historical context while aiming to improve overall understanding of their distinctive role.