How Foundations Have Strengthened the Civil Society Sector Through Capacity-building and Leadership Programs

I-Wen Wang, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2002


Abstract: At a time when foundations are faced with increased expectations and pressure to identify critical social issues and strengthen Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the need to attract and retain quality personnel is critical. Arguing that human capital is an organization’s most important resource, Ms. Wang seeks to provide an overview of grants and capacity-building programs based on a combination of case studies, a literature review, and interviews. Taking into consideration program design, implementation, and evaluation, Ms. Wang chose five representative models: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Synergos Institute, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Chicago Foundation for Women. Each of these organizations has developed materials and programs designed to build capacity and leadership among their own staffs or those of their grantees. The selected cases illuminate the grantmakers’ role in the promotion and support of organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and are intended to stimulate discussion among practitioners, specifically foundation program officers. In her paper she examines what is unique about the selected grant-making foundations and identifies programs that may provide replicable models for Taiwan, asserting that in spite of the cultural differences, the challenges are very similar. Finally, Ms. Wang indicates that capacity building simultaneously empowers CSOs and enhances the level of trust and honesty



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