How Foundations Work: An Overview

  • Diana Leat


Foundations generally, although not always, start with a donor (donor motivations are discussed in a later chapter). The donor may be alive or dead (i.e., the foundation is created as part of her/his legacy) and may be an individual, a couple, a family, brothers and sisters, or a company. In the case of community foundations, the foundation is created in order to attract donors. Sometimes, the foundation is created in order to find a politically or socially acceptable home for contested or ‘ownerless’ assets. For example, as noted above, in Germany the Volkswagen Foundation was created to ‘solve’ the problem of competing claims to ownership of the car company at the end of the Second World War (see also the case of New Zealand community banks in McKinlay 1999). Similarly, in the UK the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was created in order to make use of spontaneous, unsolicited donations from the general public left at the gates of Kensington Palace in the days after the death of the Princess.


Board Member Goal Achievement Melinda Gate Foundation Community Foundation Foundation Role 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Leat
    • 1
  1. 1.Cass Business SchoolLondonUK

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