Doing Good Badly

Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management (University of San Francisco)



Case Study Sector


The president of a leading foundation is faced with a difficult political situation in a foreign country where the foundation has supported a university public administration institute for ten years. About to deny a request for renewal, the foundation learns that a government official in the country has, perhaps intentionally, misinterpreted a foundation staff member's statement and announced to the public that the grant is to be renewed. Added to this is the political pressure the U.S. ambassador in the country puts on his old friend, the president of the foundation's board of trustees. The case raises issues of the proper way to deal with a culture whose values are different from one's own, the role of the board of trustees and the staff in grantmaking decisions, the role strategic politics should have in a U.S. foundation's overseas grantmaking, and the question of whether there is a moral obligation to insure that a program remain in existence through continued grant support.
Note: The material contained in this case does not necessarily represent actual people or conditions.



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