Should Foundations Be Held Accountable to Local Communities?


By Marcella McClatchey, Staff Editor

State budgets around the country are at their breaking point, and the national poverty rate has risen. As needs increase and government's ability to meet these needs decreases, many are turning to private foundations and non-profit organizations to restore services that have traditionally been provided by government. In Seattle last month, several dozen people protested outside the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an attempt to secure a grant to reopen homeless shelters the government had closed because of cuts. Although the government eventually reopened the shelters, this incident makes me wonder to what degree foundations should be accountable to their communities, particularly foundations with a global focus. The article goes on to explain that while giving levels are rising, donations going specifically to basic human services are decreasing. America's growing income gap is coupled with a gap in our nation's ability to provide for its citizens. It remains to be seen whether the civic sector will fill this gap, or whether people will simply be left on their own.


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