Journal of Management & Governance

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 375–397 | Cite as

The role of the board in shaping foundations’ strategy: an empirical study

  • Giacomo Boesso
  • Fabrizio Cerbioni
  • Andrea Menini
  • Antonio Parbonetti


This paper investigates the relationships of the choice of philanthropic strategy with board capital (diversity and networks), board activities (board processes, internal board committees, and board effectiveness), and CEO leadership. Using a sample of 110 Italian foundations, the research shows that board processes have the strongest positive association with an evolved strategic approach to philanthropic institutional grant-giving, while board diversity and strong CEO leadership are associated with the strategic approach only under certain conditions. In particular, good governance processes (e.g., training the board, self-evaluation of trustees, setting the stage for effective board and committee meetings, implementing control software, and steering meetings to improve the board’s analysis) are positively associated with evolved strategic approaches to philanthropy (e.g., signaling other funders for the best grantees, improving the performance of grant recipients, and advancing selected social fields’ state of knowledge and practice).


Governance Foundations Philanthropy Board capital Board processes CEO leadership 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giacomo Boesso
    • 1
  • Fabrizio Cerbioni
    • 1
  • Andrea Menini
    • 1
  • Antonio Parbonetti
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PadovaPaduaItaly

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