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The Insider's Guide to Grantmaking: How Foundations Find, Fund, and Manage Effective Programs by Joel J. Orosz

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The Temptations of Philanthropy

In his study of the Ford Foundation, author Dwight Macdonald puckishly defined a foundation as “a large body of money completely surrounded by people who want some” (1956). To change the metaphor, a foundation, to most people, is the pot of gold at the rainbow's end, and program officers are its guardian leprechauns. This means, of course, that everyone wants to catch—or at least, catch the attention of—grantmakers. The competition to capture the interest of program officers is intense, which ensures that their paths will always be strewn with numerous snares and temptations. If you are taking on the role of program officer, your first test is to avoid the blandishments of seven temptations: philanthropy's version ...

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